JNF: Cancel Eviction for Good!
Last week, 800 of you wrote to the Jewish National Fund to ask them to stop the eviction of the Sumarin family from their home of 40 years in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. As you’ll remember, a subsidiary organization of the Jewish National Fund in Israel (KKL-JNF) called Himnuta began eviction proceedings against this family of 12, who include five children, a pregnant woman, and a grandfather on dialysis.
Because of your efforts, KKL-JNF decided to delay the eviction, originally slated for today. You can read about our role in delaying this evictions in +972 magazine and Ha’aretz newspaper.
But our work is not done. Please write again to JNF to ask them to cancel the eviction for good.
And now a word about JNF’s response: Initially the JNF issued a response asserting that KKL-JNF bore no responsibility for the eviction. Instead, they claimed that KKL-JNF leased the land to Elad, a settler organization, in the early 1990s, and has no involvement in the legal proceedings against the Sumarin family.
I was surprised by this response. Rabbis for Human Rights-North America obtained a copy of the eviction notice that the Sumarin family received. This notice states that the eviction is “for the benefit of Himnuta, located in the KKL-JNF building in Jerusalem.”
Was the JNF was covering up its involvement in the eviction of the Sumarin family, or was the JNF allowing the settler organization, Elad, to use its name in the course of legal proceedings? Both possibilities are unsettling.
Since the creation of the state of Israel, many of us have entrusted JNF with our faith and our tzedakah money in the belief that this organization is a neutral partner in making Israel bloom. By giving in to settler interests, JNF has damaged this faith.
As I said in my earlier e-mail, this issue is not just about the well-being of one family, as important as that may be. Other families in Silwan are in court right now, fighting eviction proceedings brought by Himnuta. And, in the bigger picture, I worry that the continued encroachment of ideological settlers into Palestinian neighborhood will put facts on the ground that make a lasting peace less and less possible.
I still believe that peace is possible. And I believe that rabbis and Jewish communities have the power and moral responsibility to help bring about this peace. If you, too, believe that peace is possible, please ask JNF to permanently stop the eviction of the Sumarin family. Time is running short.
Please act today!
With blessings of peace,
Rabbi Jill Jacobs
Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
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