Newsletter Jewish New Year, September 2021 | Machsomwatch
אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר

Newsletter Jewish New Year, September 2021

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Tuesday, 14 September, 2021




Children under Occupation

News events over the past few months have included incidents of innocent children being shot, often in places where there is no need for Israeli military presence. While such incidents did occur in the past, now we see a peak in numbers. Even the lame promise of the army's Chief of Staff to restrain these random killings hasn't convinced us that they will stop. Generations of Palestinian children are born to a regime of occupation; their lives do not resemble those of any child in a free country.

What happens to children who are exposed to violent attacks by settler-colonists, to nighttime incursions of Israeli soldiers into their homes, to the scorching summer heat in the Palestinian Jordan Valley when their meager dwellings are demolished at dawn, or when they are shackled and taken into custody – without being accompanied by a parent?  How does the trauma of physical, emotional and community injury affect their adulthood? This is the generation that will grow up in our own back yard, under our control, and will not disappear anytime or go elsewhere. 

Moreover, what is the effect on our own parenting?  As Israeli mothers of soldiers who serve in the Occupied Territories - what are we to think about the group dynamics of control, which minimize the ability of our own children to judge and consider basic humanity values?  To what extent does the martial ruling of Palestinian civilians seep into our own civil society when they are discharged from military service?

We meet these Palestinian children and their families during our shifts in the West Bank, and our hearts break. This subject should concern us all as human beings, as parents, as citizens of this State.

We hope to expand on the troubling subject of "Children Under Occupation" in a future newsletter.


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ילדים ממשיכים לשחק אחרי עוד הריסות בבקעת הירדן                                   

 After demolitions in the Jordan Valley, children continue to play                                 

Photo : Daphne Banai   3 Feb 2021


Join Us and Help in Our Various Activities


IMAGINE:  20 Years of Activism

Imagine looking through over 7000 photographs from which you need to choose 200, and finally only a winning set 45 will be selected by the exhibit curator.  

You have been tasked with choosing images that reflect 20 years of MachsomWatch activities. Tough to do. In fact,  close to impossible. This was the task that MW volunteers Rachel Afek and Riki Shaked Trainin took upon themselves.

The end result is a digital photo exhibition of images taken by our volunteer photographers and curated by Israel Prize winner for photography, Alex Levac.  MachsomWatch : Twenty Years of Activism is now available for viewing in Haaretz newspaper.

In late August we invited a distinguish panel of photographers and activists for a discussion on the role of photography in the struggle against the Occupation. We were joined by close to 200 viewers. The Zoom event was a moving experience for us.
 MW members Anat Tueg and Aviva Hay recently spoke with Ori Nir from Americans for Peace Now about our exhibition.

Our Interactive Map: An Accessible Tool for Orientation & Data


Who are the Women of MachsomWatch
and what turned us into activists   


For 20 years we have been documenting the occupation both the obvious and the unseen.

For 20 years we have been walking in the scorching sun, on windy and cold days, engaging with the reality of the occupation and seeing it with our own eyes. In this way we get to know our neighbors and connect with them. Through our eyes, our soldiers and the settlers are seen. We write the history of the Occupation without intermediaries.  

In this series, we will introduce you to a MachsomWatch activist and learn about what turned her into one.  

A Lasting Memory / Aviva Konforty

It was 1969 and as a mother and wife of a young family, I was looking for a handyman to do some work for us. Malka, owner of the neighborhood grocery in Beer Sheva said to me: “Take an Arabush from the Territories, he’ll do your work for you for nearly nothing.”
To me these words felt like a punch in the stomach. After a while, I grew accustomed to hearing this sort of thing.  But the memory of how I felt the first time I heard it remained. Along with Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s cry: “Get out of there!

I met Michal a few years ago, by chance, at some friends’ house, not far from the ‘fence’, the one separating Israel from the place we stopped going to many years ago. When we said that we, like many other friends of ours, sooth our conscience by ‘not going to the Occupied Territories,’ Michal told me about a bi-weekly vigil she takes part in at the South Hebron Hills with MachsomWatch.  She explained that she did this ‘in order to tell what’s really going on there,’ and she described the human ties with Palestinians that are formed there.
That’s how I joined MachsomWatch too.  And the old punch in the stomach now appeared in my heart too.

The shifts added to my awareness of the thousand faces of human suffering taking place inside the West Bank’s beautiful landscape - whether it is the inhuman crowding and physical hardship that the large checkpoints impose on those crossing them to work inside Israel, or the fact that any Palestinian - at his own home, in his own village, with his family – faces a life centered around the bureaucratic graces of the Israeli Civil Administration: the permits that control most aspects of their life including access to medical care, to family and friends and to decent employment. I also learned of the arbitrary arrests; minors dragged by the Israeli army at night to some unknown destination.
The humiliation, the uncertainty, the hopelessness – of the people in general and of the individual are the destiny of the Palestinians – ‘The Others’.
They live between settlements and outposts with constant erosion of their property and livelihood. Settlers often invade their fields and attack the Palestinians, while the army most often cooperates with the settlers and uses ‘security’ reasons as a hollow excuse for purposefully restricting the movement of Palestinian civilians.

I joined MachsomWatch because I felt it was important to give voice to the Palestinian story. The insecurity of the actual roof over your head, the uncertainty whether the road you travelled yesterday would be open to you tomorrow. I also worry about the generations of young soldiers who within a single month of their enlistment become ‘rulers’, often frightened ones, who need to face unfair moral deliberations – for this is what occupation means.

There are tens of thousands of reports from our shifts – some are eventless, and many are shocking – they tell the story.
We give these stories a voice.
Is anyone listening?



Aviva (Vivi) Konforty, was born in 1948 in Romania and raised in Tel Aviv. Following her marriage, moved to Beer Sheva and Lehavim, where she raised her two children and completed her MSc in Biology while working  in medical research. Later, she spent a few years, in intervals, in the US, Brazil, Haifa and Switzerland. In 2008 in she established Shirasol, one of the first Israeli companies for solar energy (Photo Voltaic) the only one that tried to introduce BIPV (Building Integrated Photo voltaic) into Israel. She joined MachsomWatch in 2015 and has been the lead in the running and managing of the MW Website.


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