Our TTN colleague, Robert D. Johnston, a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has informed us that his son, Isaac, “who is studying at the Conservative Yeshiva this year, was attacked by right-wing settler extremist thugs [during Sukkot] while helping bring in the Palestinian olive harvest. So were four of his other comrades, including a woman who took a crowbar hit directly to the kneecap. Worst injured was an 80-year-old rabbi.”
That individual, Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, a member of the Rabbis for Human Rights executive board, is pictured being aided after the attack — a photo distributed by Rabbis for Human Rights and published at the Times of Israel website. This ToI story reported that hundreds of Palestinian olive trees were burned by arsonists (according to Yesh Din, another Israeli human rights organization) as part of this incident.
This story is further reported in Haaretz, and continues in the Jerusalem Post; the JPost report mostly focuses upon settler attacks on IDF soldiers. Shortly after being assaulted, Isaac posted this on Facebook, which he’s given TTN permission to repost:
Today I was attacked by settler youth from the settlement of Yizhar in the northern West Bank. I was beaten with crowbars and pelted with stones by kids wearing ski masks and tzitzis.
Why was I there? I was helping the local Palestinians with their olive harvest, which is annually threatened by settlers from Yizhar. In previous years the entire grove was burned to the ground. They did that today as well.
The day started innocuously as we fell asleep on the bus to pick up people in Rosh HaAyin. We were laughing and talking about our other chol hamoed plans. It was a gorgeous, cloudless day with a slight breeze. Perfect for olive picking. We were joking and getting to know the farmers as we picked for an hour or so before the farmer yelled out, “Go! Go!” We couldn’t see the settlers coming but he had and just in time as they descended on the small grove. They yelled out “הגברים! הגברים!” (The men! The men!). We ran away as fast as we could, but my first inclination was to argue with them, to fight back about why this is a חילול ה׳ (desecration of God’s name). Baruch HaShem, no one was hurt too badly, someone broke their arm. But these kids, who are saying the same Hallel, shaking the same lulav, and dwelling in the same sukkot only saw the enemy.
I’m not really sure what I want to say other than everyone is alive and well, but once again the entire harvest is for naught. The farmers who were with us and all the other residents of Burin were nothing but exceedingly helpful and optimistic even in the face of such an enormous economic loss. My head wound was cleaned up by a nice, young pharmacist named Ahmed. I was talking with one of the Israelis who was there and mentioned that I might be making Aliyah. She responded why would I want to do that? Because there needs to be good people somewhere in this country. And the Palestinians who took care of my friends and I were exactly those people.
My friends and I were beaten on Sukkot by Jews in the name of HaShem by kids wearing tzitzis and ski masks.