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We Do Not Obey : Women in the footsteps of Ilana Hammerman
Ilana Hammermann
Notice in Haaretz
6.8.10


On Friday, July 23rd, a dozen Jewish Israeli women went on an outing with a dozen Palestinian women, one baby, and three children from the West Bank . We drove to Israel’s coastal plain, and toured Tel Aviv and Jaffa together. We ate at a restaurant, dipped in the sea, and played on the beach. We returned through Jerusalem and looked at the Old City from a distance. Most of our Palestinian guests had never seen the sea. Most had not, in their entire lives, prayed at their sacred places: they looked upon them longingly from the heights of Mount Scopus.

None of our guests had an entrance permit from the Israeli authorities. We drove them through the checkpoints in our private cars, deliberately violating the Law of Entry into Israel. We did this in the footsteps of Ilana Hammerman, after the state lodged a complaint against her with the Israel Police following a similar trip she took with three young Palestinian women. We decided to act in the spirit of Martin Luther King and show with our deeds that we do not recognize illegal and immoral laws.

We cannot assent to the legality of the “Law of Entry into Israel,” which allows every Israeli and every Jew to move freely in all regions between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River while depriving Palestinians of this same right. They are not permitted free movement within the occupied territories nor are they allowed to visit the towns and cities across the Green Line, where their families, their nation, and their traditions are deeply rooted.

Therefore we followed our conscious and decided to bring these women to some of those places. We all took the risk together with a clear and resolute mind. In this way we, the Israeli women, were privileged to experience one of the most beautiful and exciting days of our lives, to meet and befriend our brave and life-loving Palestinian neighbors, and together with them, to be free women, if only for one day.

We did not take “terrorists”, or enemies, but human beings. The authorities separate us from these women with fences and roadblocks, laws and regulations, often professed to protect our safety. In fact, the barriers are only designed to perpetuate mutual enmity and the control of Palestinian land seized illegally against international conventions and the values of human rights, justice and humanity.

It is not we who are violating the law: the State of Israel has been violating it for decades. It is not we—women with a democratic conscience—who have transgressed: the State of Israel is transgressing, spinning us all into the void.

Henry David Thoreau, in his famous essay “Civil Disobedience” (1845) wrote:
when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

Listen to these words, see how appropriately they describe our situation here and now—and do as we have done.

1. Ilana Hammerman, Jerusalem
2. Annelien Kisch, Ramat Hasharon
3. Esti Tsal, Jaffa
4. Daphne Banai, Tel Aviv
5. Klil Zisapel, Tel Aviv
6. Michal Pundak Sagie, Herzlia
7. Nitza Aminov, Jerusalem
8. Irit Gal, Jerusalem
9. Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, Tel Aviv
10. Roni Eilat, , Kfar Sava
11. Ronit Marian-Kadishay, Ramat Hasharon
12. Ruti Kantor, Tel Aviv


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