Described as “the Rabbi who pricks Israel’s conscience”, Rabbi Arik Ascherman has made a name for himself as a man who uses his rabbinical teachings to defend human rights.
But Rabbi Ascherman does more than teach – he backs up his words with actions, such as standing in front of bulldozers to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and helping to rebuild the Palestinian houses destroyed by the Israeli army.
Captions: Top: Rabbi Ascherman leaves a message of peace during his visit to Belfast. Bottom: Rabbi Ascherman’s talk at the Belfast Feile and at a public event in Dublin’s Mansion House.
Trócaire was delighted to host Rabbi Ascherman in Ireland last week. Representing ‘Rabbis For Human Rights’
, a rabbinical organisation funded by Trócaire, Rabbi Ascherman spoke about the pressing human rights violations happening in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and about his organisation’s courageous work for peace and justice.
Rabbi Ascherman met with representatives from church groups, trade unions, activist groups, politicians, and government officials, and also spoke to packed audiences at public talks in Dublin, Belfast and Derry. He visited Northern Ireland to learn more about Ireland’s own history of conflict, and met with senior figures involved in our peace process including Gerry Adams and Monica McWilliams.
Rabbi Ascherman spoke passionately about the pressing issue of the threatened displacement of up to 40,000 Israeli Bedouin. The Israeli parliament is set to introduce a law that would force up to 40,000 Israeli citizens out of the land they’ve lived in since long before Israel was even established. The government’s bill was designed without even consulting the Bedouin communities, denying their basic rights over their land. The bill will throw these poor communities into further unemployment and despair. “I refuse to believe that my country will do this” said Arik.
It was powerful to hear such a strong rabbinical voice call for the protection of human rights for all the people in the region, especially Palestinians and the Israeli Bedouin. He called on Irish people to do what they can to help stop human rights violations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.