A press conference will be held today, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, at 12:00, in front of the Prime Minister's Residence (corner of Aza and Balfour, Jerusalem).
An ongoing vigil had been held on this location since last Thursday, (every day from 10.00 to 16.00, also in the cold and rainy days of the past week – under a big improvised tent...). This is the beginning of the struggle of the mainstream of Israeli society against the legalized theft of Palestinian property and against the impending annexation of the Occupied Territories.
The ongoing vigil gained momentu, participants holding Israeli national flags and signs reading "No to the Theft Law” and We'll stop the Annexation! " (And no partisan or organizational signs).
Hundreds of citizens, deeply concerned for Israel’s democracy and secure future, attended the ongoing vigil, and had an intensive dialogue with thousands of passers-by, young and old.
The press conference will also feature the testimonies of our fellows who were present at the session of the Special Knesset Committee set up to exapdiate the bill (some of them also got to speak there).
Among participants in the ongoing vigil were people from the mainstream of Isralei society, involved in varies fields of activity and endeavor:
Israel Prize Laureates: Yehoshua Kolodny - Earth science; Yona Rosenfeld - social work;
Uzi Baram, former Uzi Baram, Rabin government minister;
Poets and writers: Amos Oz ; Yehudit Kafri and Gadi Meiri; Fawaz Hussein; Mariana bar; and poet Ethan Kalinski;
Senior academics: Professor Dan Jacobson - Organizational Behavior; Professor Eli Horowitz - History; Dr. Nava Dekel - Educational Counseling; Dr. Rena Shimoni - Education; Shula Druckman – Chemistry; Irit Kenan – historian and researcher of the Israeli society; Dr. Yachin Shimoni - Biology;
Physicians: Prof. Yaacov Bar-Tana; Dr. Yosef Fassberg of “Physicians for Human Rights”
Board members of the religious movement "Oz Leshalom - Netivot Shalom" (Courage for Peace): Einat Melnik, Leah Shakdiel and Gideon Admanit;
"Social Workers for Peace": Dr. Baruch Ovadya; Dov Bernstein; Baruch Shalev; Nurit Lautner;
Psychologists: Prof. Gershon Ben-Shahar; political psychologist Dr. Olek Netzer; educational psychologist Naomi Raz; psychologist Amram Dolev; Rimon Levy, an Occupational Therapist;
Educators: Naftali Raz (center shift); Naomi Taltash; Yossi Levy; Hagit Bek; Nina retirement Nava Dekel; Dana Avidar; SHATIL (Support and consulting service to NGO’s): Shmulik David - political consultant; Abigail Korms - grants;
Lawyers: Shai Shohami of the Better Government Association; David Sandovski;
Former Military personnel: Brigadier General (ret.) Saul Givoli; stalks, retired Brigadier General (ret.) Yoram Agmon of the Israeli Air Force; Colonel (ret.). Omer Bar-Lev, former commanding officer of the Sayeret Matkal elite commandos and present Labor Party Knesset Member.
General: Shlomit Canaan sociologist and director of the the Social Entrepreneurship Foundation; Gita Dror - nurse; Sheila Shalev - scientific editor; Galit Raz-Dror coordinator of projects; Shuka Rawak of the Nature Protection Society; Occupational Therapist Sue Lowenstein; Peace activist Eyal Raz; Shai Dror - gardener; Tuvia Metzer, bank director; Dr. Laura Wharton, Opposition Leader in the Jerusalem Municipality; Karin Magen, photographer; Ilai Paran, carpenter; Mira Gat, travel agent; Aviva Pel’i forme director of the Youth Probation Service.
Contact: Naftali Raz, +972-54-5494172
Through the Settlement Legalization Bill, which the right-wing Knesset majority is vigorously seeking, the seizure of privately-owned Palestinian land would be declared “legal”. The government’s own Attorney General as well as the Knesset’s legal counsel, have called it a manifestly illegal measure. So did the United States Government and the European Union leaders.
Knesset Member Benny Begin, son of the late PM, a lone voice of decency among government supporters, voted against this bill and called it “The Theft Law” (for which he was punished by the government). In the teeth of all protests, the government and extreme right go on with their campaign of steamrolling it through the successive stages of legislation. The initiators - Minister Bennett and MK Smotritch of “The Jewish Home Party”, make no secret of their aim – annexation of the West Bank and perpetuation of the Israeli oppressive rule over the Palestinians.
If this monstrosity is enacted into law, Israel’s Supreme Court is expected to annul it declare it to be in violation of basic human and civil rights. It might even come under the purview of the International Court at the Hague. But all that might take a long time, and we do not have the luxury of tolerating such an ugly blot on the Israeli Legal Code.
So, we are coming to make our protest loud and clear. We stand in the streets of Jerusalem, holding aloft the sign “No to the Land Theft Law! No to Annexation!” as well as Israel’s National Flag. There will be no banners of any specific political faction or formation – just those of Israeli citizens deeply anxious and concerned for the future of their country.
Among scheduled participants will be public figures such as Amos Oz and other writers; Uzi Baram, government minister in Yitzchak Rabin’s government; laureates of the Israel Prize; Shaul Givoli, who had been both an IDF Brigadier General and later an Israeli Police Comissioner, as well as Knesser Member Omer Bar-Lev, who before entering politics was the commanding officer of the Sayeret Matkal elite commandos.
Having been deeply involved in Israel’s political and cultural life as well as in the country’s armed forces, the protest’s initiators fully realize how deeply the government’s reckless policies not only endanger democracy, but also undermine the very foundations on which Israel was erected.
Conact: Naftali Raz, +972-54-5494172