Rabbis pray at the gravesite of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.
(photo credit: ADAM BEN COHEN / CHABAD.ORG)
Rabbis for Human Rights observed a “slight improvement this year in the security forces’ handling of grave cases of assault by extremist settlers against Palestinians,” it stated in a summary of positive trends in human rights, released for Succot.
The Israeli human rights organization explained that as Jews celebrate the harvest on Succot, “We symbolically view the ability to see the image of God in every person as a kind of harvest, and we offer you that harvest herein.”
It emphasized the importance of highlighting positive trends, “even during challenging and difficult times in which we are experiencing multiple instances of injustice and failures in Israel and the territories under its control.”
The group’s mission is to inform the public about human rights violations and to pressure government institutions to redress them.
The organization said there had been a drop in grave assaults by settlers against Palestinians this year, though it added that less serious assaults were either ignored or handled inadequately.
With regard to the destruction of Palestinian villages, the group remarked that the government appears to be avoiding the demolition of certain sites due to international pressure, specifically the Palestinian village of Sussiya in the South Hebron Hills, which has been the subject of an ongoing battle for its preservation, as well as a primary school in the Beduin village of Khan al-Ahmar in Mishor Adumim.
The group expressed hope that the government would be guided on the matter by Jewish morality, rather than external pressure.
The report also highlighted an improvement in the state’s approach to poverty, including an increased number of apartments for public housing and a growing network of aid centers for people living under the poverty line. According to the organization, these changes are part of a growing sense of government responsibility for the country’s poor, brought about by years of activism on the issue by various individuals and organizations.
The organization ended on a hopeful note with regard to its interfaith work. Having seen a growing demand to take part in its activities, interfaith department director Noa Mazor told The Jerusalem Post
that she seeks to expand a new project to hold interfaith panels.
So far four panels have been held, led together by Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious leaders of all streams, and the organization hopes to hold some 20 such events next year, covering topics such as human dignity and sanctity of life.
“May the harvest of the new year exceed that of the past year,” the group said.