Passover, as we all know, is the holiday of freedom, a striving that has taken many different forms over the years, both for us, as the Jewish people, and universally, for the world. This year, although issues of freedom abound, including some here in the US, many of us are focused on the meaning of freedom for Israelis, both Palestinian and Jewish, exemplified by the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have demonstrated weekly, sometimes daily, against the judicial overhaul being proposed by the new far-right government, that would eliminate many of the freedoms Israelis enjoy. If you’re interested in an analysis of the protests that I recently published online, you can find it here.
To be clear, I am not equating Bibi Netanyahu with Pharaoh nor am I trying to imply that the new bill, if implemented, would reduce Israelis to slavery (though I suspect many of my Israeli friends might see things that way). However, just before the holiday I received an online Freedom Hagggadah which very specifically tries to understand the traditional text’s messages for Israelis and Jews in light of the attempted “reforms” and the uprising against them. Though it’s not in time for the seder(s), the short essays are very much worth reading and pondering. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Just before the holiday I also received word that the Israeli Supreme Court (the same one Bibi is trying to neuter) decisively rejected settlers’ decades-long attempt to evict them from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. We have supported them for years and share their joy during this Ramadan/Passover/ Easter season.
As I write this, on Friday morning, April 7, however, our fears about the conjunction of these holidays seem to be coming true. After the two Israeli raids on the Al Aqsa mosque earlier this week, rocket fire from Lebanon and Gaza has hit Israel, to which Israel has responded. We have seen this scenario of mutual escalation many times before but it comes now with Israel in the throes of its political crisis and religious feelings inflamed with the coinciding holidays. We urgently call on all sides to show restraint, as we absolutely know that however this escalates, it will solve nothing.
Partners for Progressive Israel tries to serve as bridge, connecting progressive Israelis to their American supporters, and amplifying American support for their strivings and achievements through our webinars, Israel Horizons, our digital Symposium, and much more. Please help us in our ongoing Passover campaign as we build support for our Israeli sisters and brothers.
Wishing to all
חג חירות שמח A joyous and meaningful Passover
رمضان مبارك مسالم A peaceful Ramadan Mubarak
A happy and fulfilling Easter
President, Partners for Progressive Israel