Reviving Jewish Student Activism

A North American Jewish student group is planning a demonstration to protest against the Olmert plan and the silence of American Jewish leaders.

Hana Levi Julian,

Photo on UJSC protest flyer
Photo on UJSC protest flyer
Israel News Photo: (UJSC)

A group of North American Jewish students are planning a coast-to-coast demonstration to protest the Olmert plan and the silence of American Jewish leaders, specifically over the looming threat of a second Disengagement as well as the possibility that Israel may hand sovereignty over the Temple Mount to the Palestinian Authority.

 

Jewish students from the sixth grade through high school were urged in an e-mail flyer sent out Tuesday to “Stand Up to Prevent…” with a graphic photo of a lone Jewish pioneer attempting to ward off an onslaught of Yassam special police forces.

 

According to organizer Yosef Rabin, director of the United Jewish Student Council (UJSC) the protest is set for Thursday September 18 and is scheduled to take place 10 minutes before the first class, thus comprising the first lesson of the day. 

 

The group also sent format suggestions for the student protestors, including a list of psalms for the protestors to say (chapters 121, 130, 142), shofar blowing, singing and dancing.

 

The attachment also includes the order of the special prayers for the nation and land of Israel compiled by former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.

 

The demonstration is expected to last approximately the length of one class period, or 45 minutes.

 

“We are striking in response to the silence of the Jewish leadership on the planned expulsion of 300,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria, division of Jerusalem and the abandonment of the holy Temple Mount,” Rabin said in an internet chat interview with Israel National News.

 

“Jewish students across North America are saying No! No expelling Jews. No dividing land. No abandoning Har HaBayit (Hebrew for Temple Mount),” he said.

 

Blessings and Warnings from Israeli Sanhedrin

According to Rabin, Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander, a leading rabbinical judge in the nascent Sanhedrin that formed in Jerusalem several years ago and continues to struggle for mainstream recognition, has given his blessing to the project.

 

“Rabbi Hollander wrote, ‘Shalom friends, Your plans are excellent, may HaShem bless you – and Am Yisrael – with your success…

 

‘Considering the behavior of the majority of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel, we have no Zchuss [right] to remain in the Land. The reasoning of Rabbi Kook [that the non-observant are doing the great mitzvah of building Eretz Israel] no longer applies: in his time they were building with the purpose of creating a Jewish State. Today the “elite” are building the for purpose of lining their pockets, and others with the purpose of destroying the Jewish identity of the State of the Jews.
Jews who do not want to stand up and support a political fight for our Jewish Birthright in the complete Holy Land of Israel right now should begin to work on the most likely result of their attitude: Millions of Jews looking for refuge.

 

‘….If Israel is not defended properly, there will surely be a catastrophe. The present “elite” are not capable of creating a deterrent which would stop the Iranians to try to A-bomb Israel. A reasonable estimate is that the people comprising the political leadership in Israel today will not use Israel’s capabilities even in retaliation….

 

‘…People – Jews – who do not want to stand up and support a political fight for our Jewish Birthright in the complete Holy Land of Israel right now should begin to work on the most likely result of their attitude: Millions of Jews looking for refuge.

 

‘First of all – political activity to ensure a place for the survivors. Secondly – funds for their physical deployment outside the Middle East, building homes, healthcare – physical and mental healthcare, retraining facilities for adults, schooling for children – all these necessities should begin to be taken care of NOW by those who do not support a fight NOW.

 

‘In the hopefull [sic] case when these funds are not needed, that should be used to ensure schooling in a Jewish Day School for all Jewish children. This would be the best way to prevent marrying non-Jews.

 

Fear Stalks the Students – ‘This is Not the 60’s’

Although the idea of a coast-to-coast strike itself is popular, and many students expressed interest, Rabin also noted that “many of them are very scared.”

 

Many of the students, he said, are afraid of suspension or even being expelled from their schools, and have sent letters saying they “really want to do this but are a little nervous.”  Rabin added that almost every letter ended with the writer promising to try and organize something anyway, despite the fear.

 

“You have to remember that children in America have not known activism, unlike Israeli children, especially those living in Yesha [Gaza, Judea and Samaria –ed.],” he said. “They have never been exposed to this type of activism so the first time it is a daunting task.”

 

In a twist completely opposite from that of the 60’s, the group is counting on the older generation to get involved. “We are going to be working hard to bring parents and grandparents to strike with the students,” he said, noting that this was the generation of the activism and protests of the 1960’s and 1970’s. “This will soften the attitude of the schools toward the kids and help calm the fears of the students.

 

“This is not the 60s or 70s. Boy, have times changed,” he commented ruefully.

 

One school director wanted to commit his entire student body to the cause, he noted – but the Rosh Yeshiva nixed the plan, saying, “If the Torah U’Mesorah were to come out with the recommendation that all of these Jewish school children should take certain action, then we would certainly be involved.” Without the endorsement of the national umbrella, however, the Rosh Yeshiva was unwilling to take a stand on his own.

  

Nationalists Form Pact to Fight Expulsion II in Israel

Residents of Judea and Samaria have formed the Samaria Pact to fight Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon's attempt to offer people money to leave their houses.

 

Leaders of the movement met on Monday to form a new agreement against what they called the "continuation of disgrace that took place in Gush Katif, which only brought more tragedy upon us."

 

Gush Emunim co-founder Benny Katzover said the group is preparing to fight against evacuations and will not wait until the last minute to fight expulsions. Yossi Dagan of Homesh First explained, "We are going from defense to offense. We will continue to build and expand."



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