April 22, 2005
JERUSALEM American Jews are being recruited to resist Israel’s plan to
expel about 10,000 Jews from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.
Resistance organizers said hundreds of American Jews have agreed to arrive
in Israel over the next few weeks to participate in civil disobedience in an
attempt to disrupt the eviction by the police and military. They said at least
one American Jewish politician has joined the effort.
[On Thursday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz agreed to postpone the start of
the withdrawal until after Aug. 15, a delay of three weeks from the original
timetable, Middle East Newsline reported. The decision must be approved by
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Cabinet.]
“We are looking for people willing to stand up for Israel, as well as those
willing to sit down in the street,” Shmuel Sackett, a faction leader in the
ruling Likud Party and a resistance organizer, said.
Sackett said the resistance movement has been recruiting people in the
United States for what he termed massive civil disobedience. In lectures in the
United States, he called for volunteers to oppose the withdrawal plan and funds
for legal defense for those arrested in protest activities.
Another organizer of the civil disobedience movement is Moshe Feiglin, the
head of the “Jewish Leadership” faction in Likud. Feiglin said a massive
resistance campaign along with a refusal by soldiers to obey orders would prevent
the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.
In mid-April, a coalition of right-wing Zionist groups in the United States
met to discuss a program to block the withdrawal plan.
They groups, including the Zionist Organization of America, Americans for a
Safe Israel and the Rabbinical Alliance of America, agreed to organize an
anti-withdrawal demonstration during the annual Israel Day Parade in New York on
“People have to know that they will be covered, that there are people who
will cover their financial needs,” Sackett said. “Joe Israeli in Hadera needs
to know that Joe Cohen in Brooklyn will post the 10,000-shekel [$2,200] bail
for him after he blocks the Ayalon expressway [in Tel Aviv].”
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind has been organizing missions to
express solidarity with the resistance movement. He organized a three-day visit to
the Gaza Strip in March and plans to return with hundreds of people in June.
“We hope we will not be prevented from entering Gaza, so we can stand in
unity with the men, women and children in Gaza,” Hikind said.
The call for massive disobedience has been opposed by some figures in the
anti-withdrawal movement. Israeli parliamentarian Effie Eitam lectured in New
York and termed civil disobedience a danger to Israeli democracy.
“I said they [American Jews] shouldn’t be involved in supporting refusal,
because they don’t serve in the army and it would put them in a negative
light,” Eitam said. “There are some people who want to be a little bit out of the
consensus extremists. They don’t need my permission to do what they want.
But it is not my intention to endorse actions I don’t support.”