I Cry Out

The voice of your Arab neighbors' and citizens' blood cries out from the ground

If I have a glimmer of hope, it comes from those citizens who join us, express their pain, and to them I turn, among others - help us reach your leaders, those rabbis who might influence the kippah-wearing officials in the government. Those who read the weekly Torah portion in the synagogue and know - both in Judaism and in Islam - harming a person is harming God. There is no greater transgression than that

(Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90; Writer: Bros Shefer)

The voice of the blood of your neighbors and citizens cries out from the earth. I cry out before my Jewish friends and colleagues. Before whom else do we have left to cry out? Before the government? Before the police? Before whom?

156 were murdered. 156 human beings. Sacred lives taken. Lives of men and women, boys and girls. Many of them innocent, who paid with their lives for the disregard of the value of human life. How I cry out, holy lives taken with such cruelty.

Is it all political? How can we remain indifferent to the cry of the girl who lost her father, the child who lost his mother? Do that girl and boy not wonder if, had they not been Arabs, perhaps the murder could have been prevented? Is this the society in which we want to live?

So there will be those who say it's our culture, or those who blame our religion, maybe even many for whom Arab blood doesn't trouble them at all. How did we lose our humanity – we no longer care about human lives?

A public leader was murdered in front of a police station. Where have we reached?

When I heard about the horrific attack in which Bat-Sheva Nagari, may her memory be a blessing, was murdered, I couldn't stop crying. I felt such immense pain for a young mother whose life was taken in such cruelty. For her 12-year-old daughter who witnessed it all. I couldn't fall asleep. And then I saw the news about the assassination of Dr. Abd al-Rahman Kashua, the CEO of the Tira Municipality, and I was in shock. A public leader, a father, murdered like that? In front of a police station. Where have we reached?

Two weeks ago, I was among the participants in the "March of the Dead" initiative in Tel Aviv. 147 coffins were carried by Arab youth, many Jewish individuals walked alongside us. Alongside the deep sorrow, we also held onto hope that we are not alone. However, for the families, the orphans, this is not enough. In many cases of murder, the grieving families live next to the murderers who are not indicted due to lack of evidence or proof. Think about the reality in which a despicable murderer walks freely next to the victim's family. In what humane society can this occur?

The display of coffins (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The sparks of hope from the Bennett government were put out under the Netanyahu government

We marched with a demand that should be self-evident. Today, I am not just demanding; if I could file charges against the Israeli government and its leader who disregard our lives, I would do so. Following the severe violent events in May 2021, many of us warned – social and educational activists who understand that the youth lacking opportunities, who fall captive to the temptation of crime, can in an instant switch the nature of their violence from criminal to nationalist. We protested against the widespread availability of firearms, we protested against the cheapening of educational standards – the absence of proper frameworks, the encouragement of learning and values.

When Dr. Mansour Abbas, the leader of the Ra'am party, chose to join the government led by Naftali Bennett, he justified this bold step by the opportunity to influence from within the existential concern for our situation. Indeed, during the short tenure of the Shinui Government, we saw glimmers of hope. However, unfortunately, nothing of what began back then has lasted since Netanyahu returned to power. It seems those who claim that the right-wing government desires that we, the Arabs, continue to fight against each other are correct. They want us to remain in the cycle of violence and murder.

In the March of the Dead in Tel Aviv, many religious Jews stood out in their presence, wearing various types of head coverings – knitted kippahs, black kippahs, and different types of headwear. Young and older individuals approached me, some with confusion, some with pride, to share how embarrassed they are about the situation, how ashamed they feel that the government is not taking any action. If I have a glimmer of hope, it comes from those citizens who are joining us, expressing their pain. I turn to them among others – help us reach your leaders, those rabbis who might influence the kippah wearers within the government. Those who read the weekly Torah portion in the synagogue know – both in Judaism and Islam – that harming a human is harming the divine. There is no offense greater than this.

I myself am afraid, the voice I raise could potentially draw the bullet towards me. But I refuse to succumb to despair. I am willing to take the risk in the struggle for human lives. Don't leave me alone.

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Jadir Hani, a member of the project "Habima - Almanbar" for a religious vision for peace

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