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Published on July 7th, 2014 | by Natan Margalit


17 Tammuz / Ramadan Fast Against Violence

(Note: Organic Torah is reprinting an e-mail sent by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, in which he spreads the word about a Hunger Strike Against Violence set for July 15, to be concurrent with the Jewish fast of 17 Tammuz and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  As he explains, the idea originated with Eliaz Cohen, a settler, and was joined by a number of Palestinians.  Join us as we demand an end to violence worldwide.  The following text is from Rabbi Arthur Waskow, over his mailing list.)


Dear chevra,

Our chaver Rabbi Eyal Levinson, an Israeli musmach of ALEPH,  wrote about a proposal from Eliaz Cohen (a poet/ settler in Gush Etzion) that in the midst of outbreaks of murder, pogrom, and lynching in Israel & Palestine,  Jews & Muslims join in the fast of 17 Tammuz, July 15, which is also a day in the fast of Ramadan. (Both fasts are from sunrise to sunset.) Eliaz Cohen proposed this shared fast be a Hunger Strike Against Violence.

My thought:  — It would be both a serious expression of commitment to peace and decency and also a serious memorial to Reb Zalman (who schrei’d Gevalt, gevalt, about the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Chatila, who visited the Kever Avraham in Hebron not in triumph but in Abrahamic peace, who became a Sufi initiate, who climbed the mountain known as Sinai with Muslims) for us here as well in the USA to join with Muslims on 17 Tammuz in a Hunger Strike Against Violence, and to end the day together with Iftar, the evening break-fast. To do this, we could ask a mosque near any one of us, and/or a chapter of CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, to join with our own congregation.

Why should we do this? The editorial board of Haaretz, not just an op-ed piece, has just warned that:

There are no words to describe the horror allegedly done by six Jews to Mohammed Abu Khdeir of Shoafat. Although a gag order bars publication of details of the terrible murder and the identities of its alleged perpetrators, the account of Abu Khdeir’s family — according to which the boy was burned alive — would horrify any mortal. Anyone who is not satisfied with this description, can view the horror movie in which members of Israel’s Border Police are seen brutally beating Tariq Abu Khdeir, the murder victim’s 15-year-old cousin. . . .

[We Israelis] belong to a vengeful, vindictive Jewish tribe whose license to perpetrate horrors is based on the horrors that were done to it.

Prosecuting the murderers is no longer sufficient. There must be a cultural revolution in Israel. Its political leaders and military officers must recognize this injustice and right it. They must begin raising the next generation, at least, on humanist values, and foster a tolerant public discourse. Without these, the Jewish tribe will not be worthy of its own state.

It seems to me that for the sake of God’s demand for justice and love for BOTH the peoples of Israel and Palestine, and  for the sake of our own souls as well, we must support such a “cultural revolution in Israel” and in the American Jewish “organized” community  — where idolatry for Israel is replacing love for Israel, despite deep disquiet and disaffection at the grass roots.

Below is what Eyal and Eliaz wrote. And below that is a report from The Times of Israel (NOT a left-wing or liberal paper) about visits of sorrow and condolence between the bereaved families of the two peoples, including a Palestinian Muslim affirmation of sharing the Fast of 17 Tammuz/Ramadan.

(If you want to know more about Eliaz Cohen, as I did,  click here.  The article from The Times of Israel is here.)

Shalom, salaam, peace!  —  Arthur

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