JNF-Israel – Don’t uproot the Sumarin family from its home in Silwan!

On June 30th, 2020, Israeli courts are scheduled to hear the final appeal of a case in which JNF-Israel through its subsidiary organization Himanuta that will seek to evict the Palestinian Sumarin family from its long-time home in Silwan, East Jerusalem.

The details of this case are complicated (see articles below), but the essence is this – JNF-Israel is an organization known throughout the world for its efforts to plant trees in Israel, help build vital infrastructure projects within Israel’s Green Line, and offer international donors an opportunity to give voice to their Jewish values and support of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state. However, JNF-Israel’s Himanuta is also effectively advancing in this case the radical right-wing agenda of parts of the Israeli government and extremist settler organizations (e.g. ELAD) to evict a Palestinian family from its long-time home in Silwan, East Jerusalem, just walking steps south of the Old City walls.

This JNF-Israel-Himanuta’s threatening action is contrary to Judaism’s time-honored values of compassion and justice, and violates Israel’s claim as articulated in the Declaration of Independence to grant full and equal rights to Israel’s minority Arab population. As a progressive Reform American Zionist, I protest, and I ask you to join me in sending the suggested text below as an email to all the individuals listed at this site https://bit.ly/Sumarin.

A group called the “Sumarin Coalition” supports the family’s rights its home. (See below a partial list of international and Israeli coalition members).

Here is a suggested text of protest to leaders of the JNF-Israel-Himanuta:

“To the JNF-Israel and its Affiliates, 

I call on the JNF-Israel-Himanuta to refrain from uprooting the Sumarin family, a Palestinian family of 18, from its East Jerusalem home of many years. The eviction efforts are based on a draconian application of Israel’s ‘Absentee Property Law,’ although family members always lived there. Israel later committed not to use the law to evict this family, but the injustice towards the Sumarin family has continued.  

Evicting this family would be a cruel act that is contrary to Judaism’s values of compassion, justice and peace. 

I call on the KKL-JNF-Himanuta to renounce all claims to the property, to cease legal proceedings against the Sumarin family, and to let the family live in peace and safety in its home.   


Your name 

Here are a number of background articles explaining this situation more fully:

The Jewish National Fund is Trying to Kick a Palestinian Family Out of Their Home – The Court Stopped it. For Now. (Haaretz)

KKL-JNF and its Role in Settlement Expansion. (Peace Now)

The Jewish National Fund Should Stop Trying to Kick a Palestinian Family Out of Their Home (by Rabbi Michael Marmur, President of Rabbis for Human Rights, Israel)

Arguments put forth by the KKL-JNF, and the answers

The following are among the many international organizations in the “Sumarin Family Coalition” that have united to defend the Sumarin family against eviction:

Center for Jewish Nonviolence (CJNV) – IfNotNow – Ir Amim – J Street, J Street U, and J Street Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet – Oz ve-Shalom-Netivot Shalom – Peace Now and Americans for Peace Now – Rabbis for Human Rights – Israel (RHR) – Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association – Torat Tzedek – T’ruah – the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights – Yachad – Ameinu – Women’s Coalition for Peace

About the Author
John L. Rosove is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street and immediate past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the newly created Union for Reform Judaism's Israel and Reform Zionism Committee (IRZC). John was the 2002 Recipient of the World Union for Progressive Judaism International Humanitarian Award and has received special commendation from the State of Israel Bonds. In 2013 he was honored by J Street at its Fifth Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles. John is the author of two books - “Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove” (Nashville: Jewish Lights Publishing, a division of Turner Publishing Company, 2017) and "Why Israel [and its Future] Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" (New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press, 2019). Both are available at Amazon.com. John is married to Barbara. They are the parents of two sons - Daniel (married to Marina) and David. He has one granddaughter.