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From oppression to freedom – a special message for the Passover holiday

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Dear Friends,

Next week, Jews around the world will sit down with family and friends for the Passover Seder. At the holiday meal, we will recite the story of the exodus from Egypt, a journey from slavery to freedom that resonates with oppressed groups all over the world.

For me, the Seder is much more than a history lesson. It is a call to action. It tells us that the journey from oppression to freedom is ongoing, and that each of us has the responsibility be a part of that journey. This is why I am asking you now for your help.

Passover is one of the holidays when Israelis and Jews from abroad make a pilgrimage to the city of Hebron, located in the southern West Bank. Over the past decade, downtown Hebron has become a ghost town due to restrictions imposed on Palestinians. In Hebron, Israeli settlers harass their Palestinian neighbors with impunity. Rather than protecting Palestinians from this violence, Israeli soldiers are often themselves part of the problem, harassing Palestinians and unlawfully detaining Palestinian children. To this we say: Dayenu! Enough!

But the thousands of Jews who come to Hebron for Passover will not see that reality, even though it is happening right in front of their eyes. They do not know, or chose to ignore, that the streets are empty of Palestinians because of the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli military. They will not notice the hundreds of Palestinian shops that have been closed by military order. They will not see the Palestinians who live in fear of violence from their settler neighbors.

This is why B'Tselem's work is so important. During Passover and throughout the year, B'Tselem's camera volunteers will be there, documenting the reality on the ground. Our community of Palestinian volunteers film images that challenge Israelis' misperceptions, put a human face to Palestinians and generate important public conversations.

The video is only one piece of our strategy to make change. B'Tselem's research provides essential context for the images, and our press and new media strategies ensure that a more complete picture reaches those who need to see it. And our advocacy with Israeli policymakers and the international community advances tangible policy changes to make people's lives better.

We need your help. For twenty-five years, B'Tselem has defended the universal values of freedom and dignity inherent in the story of Passover. Your donation to B'Tselem will make sure we can continue to do this work and build a future in which Palestinians and Israeli alike will live in freedom and dignity.

I wish a very happy Passover to all who are celebrating. For our Christian friends, very best wishes for Easter. And to all - a bright and blooming spring.

Best regards,

Jessica Montell
Executive Director

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