American Rabbis Arrested at Gaza Border While Delivering Passover Aid

A group of American rabbis and activists were arrested by Israeli police while attempting to deliver Passover supplies to Palestinians in Gaza, highlighting the ongoing humanitarian crisis and calls for solidarity and liberation.

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Rizwan Shah
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American Rabbis Arrested at Gaza Border While Delivering Passover Aid

American Rabbis Arrested at Gaza Border While Delivering Passover Aid

A group of American rabbis and peace activists, including author Ayelet Waldman, were arrested by Israeli police while attempting to deliver Passover food supplies to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The protest action, organized by Rabbis for Human Rights, aimed to link Jewish and Palestinian liberation and draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Among those arrested at the Erez Crossing, a major transit point between Israel and northern Gaza, was Rabbi Toba Spitzer. The group of about 30 rabbis and activists had tried to drive a pickup truck carrying half a ton of rice and flour into Gaza but were stopped roughly a third of a mile from the border. Seven rabbis and activists were taken into custody.

The protest was timed to coincide with Passover, the Jewish festival celebrating the biblical story of the liberation of Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. "As Jews around the world gather at Seder tables to celebrate Passover and remember our own story of liberation, we are called to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people," said Rabbi Alissa Wise, one of the arrested activists.

The supplies the group attempted to deliver will now be donated to needy Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Waldman's husband, novelist Michael Chabon, expressed concern about her status on social media following the arrests.

Why this matters: The protest highlights the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the complex dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also underscores the role of religious leaders and activists in advocating for human rights and drawing parallels between Jewish and Palestinian struggles for liberation.

The effort by Rabbis for Human Rights was largely symbolic, as the group did not expect to successfully deliver the aid. However, it aimed to build support for a permanent ceasefire, prisoner exchange, and an end to the subjugation of Palestinians. The arrested rabbis and activists, who also included Rabbi Alana Alpert, Ilana Sumka, and Kobi Snitz, were later released. The incident at the Gaza border serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing challenges and aspirations for peace and justice in the region during a time of religious significance.

Key Takeaways

  • Group of American rabbis, activists arrested by Israeli police at Gaza border
  • Protest aimed to deliver Passover food supplies to Palestinians in Gaza
  • Protest timed to coincide with Passover, highlight humanitarian crisis in Gaza
  • Supplies will be donated to needy Palestinians in West Bank instead
  • Protest highlights ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, role of religious leaders