As young Zionist leaders from across the Jewish community in Britain, we want to see a Jewish, democratic and peaceful Israel thrive. We feel that to do this Israel must enact the values of freedom and justice and to strive for complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex. These values and beliefs are laid out in Israel’s own Declaration of Independence and are ideals which Israeli organisations across the political spectrum are working to achieve.
In September 2014, 15 of us went to the West Bank on the Yachad Student Trip. We learnt about the nature of detention of juvenile Palestinians under Israel’s military occupation. We spent a day in Ofer Military Court, one of the two military courts in the West Bank where Palestinians are prosecuted. Through meeting Israeli lawyers working to defend Palestinians in the courts, and speaking with Palestinian children and their mothers, we began to understand some of the major issues at hand.
We learnt that every year between 500-700 children are prosecuted in the military court system. They are subject to a different reality from their Israeli counterparts who if arrested in the West Bank would face a civilian court system. You can read more about the differences here (link to info page on courts or FAQs). We discovered that many Palestinian children lack access to a lawyer or any kind of representation throughout interrogation and a huge majority are unaware of their rights in this process. We believe that if someone has committed a crime they should not go unpunished and that Israel has the right to ensure that it is a safe and secure nation. However, alongside this we believe that every person should have access to due legal process and that Palestinian children should have access to a lawyer throughout their judicial process.
It was a troubling reality to face but as educators and active members of Jewish youth movements we wanted to return to Britain and start an important conversation with our own community about this issue.
Launched at the end of January 2015, Kids Court in Conflict aims to start that conversation and to make a tangible difference to the lives of Palestinian children by supporting Israeli organisations working in the field today. We see this as the highest expression of our Zionist and Jewish values
We aim is to raise £26,000 to fund a lawyer who will work for the Israeli firm Lasky Law and will be dedicated as an on-call emergency lawyer to represent Palestinian juveniles from arrest throughout their entire judicial process. We already have pledged £15,000 of matched funding which means every pound which is donated is doubled! Over the next three months almost 30 of us will be hiking, climbing, baking, running marathons and engaging in a host of activities to raise this money. Find out who we are and sponsor us here! Alongside our fundraising efforts we will be running a series of educational events and campaigns which we hope you will get involved with.
There are several ways for you to get involved:
Donate to us (LINK)
Email people in your community such as your Rabbi or a someone from your Synagogue council and ask them to attend a public event with lawyer Nery Ramati from Gaby Lasky Law on Sunday March 1st at Hampstead Town Hall.
Email the Israeli Ambassador and express your concern about the issue (LINK)
Run your own education event and/or fundraiser with our helpful education packs. Email us for more info email@example.com