The settlers who beat me didn’t care that I am an observant Jew

The settlers of Yitzhar beat me with crowbars and threw a stone at my head that split open the skin. Then they set fire to the olive groves

Isaac Johnston harvesting olives in the Palestinian village of Burin before being attacked

Isaac Johnston writes in +972:

On October 16 a group of approximately 15 masked Jewish settlers, armed with metal crowbars and rocks, attacked volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights as they helped the Palestinian residents of Burin harvest their olives. I was one of those volunteers.

The attackers hit me on my back and shin with crowbars, and threw a stone at my head that split open the skin, causing a wound that required four stitches. Even as we yelled that we were leaving and pleaded with them not to harm us, they continued to attack. Then they set fire to the olive grove.

…. ….

As an observant Jew, I am struck by the thought that I could walk into Yitzhar tomorrow, put on my tefillin and pray with my attackers or study a page of Talmud with them. We share many of the same religious beliefs, but differ drastically in the way we implement them in our daily lives. We both believe that our actions bring God’s presence into the world, but their committing violence to do so is completely antithetical to my own beliefs and practices. In fact, their views are the opposite of what I believe is the essence of Judaism.

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