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Danny Danieli - The voice of an Israeli activist.

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Rabbi (secular-humanist) Danny Danieli. Married to Liora, father of three and grandfather of five. Professionally, I am an organizational consultant and mentor to managers, after many years in which I was involved in initiating and managing projects and institutions, especially in the field of culture and Jewish identity. Last year I was certified as a secular humanist rabbi by the Tmura Institute. Throughout my years as an adult I defined myself as an Israeli, a Jew, a Zionist and also a leftist, and I never hid it. I participated in the "right" demonstrations, donated my money to the activities of human rights organizations and spoke out as much as I could against the occupation and its injustices. However, due to my demanding management career, I was not able to participate in field activities as I always wanted. For the past four and a half years, I have been very active in protesting against the corruption of Benjamin Netanyahu and his partners, both in the "Paris Square" in Jerusalem, and later in what became known as the "Balfour Protest." A change I have made in my professional occupation has opened up new possibilities for me in terms of utilizing my time in favor of activism. Along with the protest activity, it was clear to me that the time had come to increase my involvement in everything that was happening in the "Occupied Territories" (Palestine). In the Balfour Protes I met Guy Hirschfeld who connected me to practical "platforms" to do so. For the past year and a half, I participate, consistently and quite intensively, in accompanying shepherds in the Jordan Valley, in further activities to prevent harm to Palestinian shepherds and farmers in the Taibeh and Deir Jarir areas, and in demonstrations against the ongoing abuse of Palestinian residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. In recent months I have also been taking part in the "looking conquest in the eyes" activity, especially demonstrating on bridges. I should note that the activity in the field, which allows meeting with all the relevant parts of the reality in the occupied territories, is not at all similar to the "remote" identification, such as participating in demonstrations which I have been part of many years. During this period, I was closely, and tangibly, exposed to some of the injustices of the Israeli occupation. This "experience" shakes the soul. For example, I saw with my own eyes the expulsion of a shepherd community, the destruction of a water tank used by hundreds of people, the arbitrary conduct of officers and soldiers in the field who use dubious orders to keep shepherds away, blocking water sources for Palestinians who have used them for decades , and failed police handling of settler crime on the ground. The most outrageous thing, in my opinion, is the outrageous and humiliating is the sinergy between the various security forces and the settlers, including extremist settlers who sit in illegal outposts, which are defined as such by the authorities of the State of Israel. For me, as someone who defines himself as a Zionist, and served in the IDF as a soldier in combat service until the age of 46, this is an unforgivable low of morals and morality.In front of our eyes are realized phenomena from which wise and foresighted people warned, such as the late Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz. I am not a jurist, and certainly not an expert in international law, so I can not contribute to sophistry whether this or that conduct is a "war crime" under international law or not. To me, this is an intolerable injustice that the State of Israel inflicts through its institutionalized and non-institutionalized emissaries, towards the Palestinian civilian population. The issue is not limited to that. The payment charged by the occupation is very heavy. I believe that there is no area in the society and the state that is not affected by it !! It has a detrimental effect on the rules of government and the judiciary, on political culture and on the under-allocation of aid resources to vulnerable populations. The fact that Israel "leads" in the parameters of social inequality in the Western world is also an outgrowth of the occupation and all this only at the "in a nutshell..... No less important, is the "Jewish matter," which preoccupies me greatly. It is difficult to describe the depth of the damage caused by the occupation to contemporary Jewish-Israeli identity. The experiences of the Jews for thousands of years created a very complex culture, from which also grew sharp contrasts. From a deep dialogue with Judaism, on the one hand people like Martin Buber and Shulamit Aloni emerged and on the other hand "Rabbi" Meir Kahana and the murderer Baruch Goldstein. In the occupied territories there are many Jews who believe they are the new pioneers who settle a land promised by God in the Torah to their ancestors. Most believe that the people of Israel are the chosen people and that the other inhabitants of the land must accept this and submit to Jewish rule. Not everyone is violent, but it is no wonder that from this nationalist approach that also has a messianic face, very violent nuclei have sprung up, some of which do not even accept the authority of the state. There are sources in Jewish culture on which some things can be based on, although it should be noted that the political and spiritual leaders among this public specialize in a "selective reading" of the sources on which they relly on. On the other hand, I believe and am committed, as a Jew and as a secular-humanist rabbi to other values ​​that can be found in the heart of Jewish thought, values ​​that emphasize human dignity ("a person created in god's image), that demand fairness and morality in principle to whom are different from you and live with you ("And you loved the stranger... because you were strangers in the land of Egypt"). The teacher and rabbi of the great Jewish-Zionist humanist, the late Professor Yaakov Malkin, emphasized many years ago that occupation over time, sabotages "humanistic development" and prevents human beings from being considerate and empathetic human beings, who promote a society in which we all would like to live. And it is not just a textual value debate. It is inconceivable that less than a hundred years have passed since the terrible Holocaust for the Jewish people, prevalent here, in a country founded by Jews many of whom and their families suffered from anti-Semitism and persecution even before the Holocaust, racist, nationalist and even fascist views. These days, in the Knesset of Israel and in the state authorities,these views nourish the occupation and feeds it, and degenerate the State of Israel into a deep abyss. Unfortunately, most of the Israeli public is indifferent to it, does not see, and even if sees is not willing to face the consequences of rhis frustrating and threatening reality. My friends and I, are not ready to give up.

It is our duty to continue to fight resolutely in the hope that many of us in Israel and abroad will join us.

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