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Ezra Nawi needs a truck

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Ezra Nawi. (Photo: Ezra Nawi Truck Campaign)

Ezra Nawi needs a truck. He is a plumber by trade, but most of his time is spent driving to the South Hebron hills for direct actions. He is an Israeli activist of Iraqi descent, fluent Arabic speaker and gay—making him a person of reverence for everyone from the Advocate to Bernard Avishai. To the Israeli military Nawi’s one-man show is a long-standing thorn. He’s been arrested more times then he can keep track of, yet his stints in jail have never deterred him from cycling back to the Palestinian cave dwellers he organizes alongside.

Yet like every lone-wolf warrior, Nawi has an Achilles’ heel. He is not held back by fear of jail and soldiers, or needing personal time after ten years of non-stop activism. He just needs a ride to the battlefield. His activism is only compromised when he is rendered immobile. When his pick-up breaks down, it is Kryptonite. As fate would have it after eight hard years Nawi’s truck is now on its last leg. In order to continue his activism, he needs a new car.

And so the Ezra Nawi Truck Campaign was launched.

Fellow activist Kobi Snitz posted a pitch on a Indiegogo page a few days ago, warning that the Toyota “is very near the end of its life,” and Nawi needs $15,000 to gear him back to his autonomous protest. Here’s Snitz:

Nawi is a tireless campaigner who has been supporting Palestinians resistance to Israeli dispossession for well over a decade. It is no coincidence that he was in the area when he received my call. This time, he was on his way home after having visited farmers in a village south of Hebron, where thanks to his intervention goats that were stolen by settlers had been returned to their Palestinian owners.

Like the Palestinians who have been working with him for years, Israeli and international activists know that when they need to be bailed out, they can count on Ezra. In Hebrew, his name literally means ‘to help.’

About an hour after I called, he arrived at the station and drove us in his trademark Toyota pickup truck back north to the freedom of our daily lives in Tel Aviv.

The 8-year-old pickup embodies the story of Palestinian resistance in the south West Bank. In the three years that Ezra has owned it, the car has traveled 270,000 km on rough terrain. It has been vandalized by settlers many times, sustaining rocks and clubs by those who are intent on uprooting the Palestinian people. And yet, it has persisted for years – day in and day out – to literally carry much of the struggle in the south.

Ezra’s Toyota has traveled to every Palestinian village and grazing ground south of Bethlehem. It has been used to transport young children who were afraid to walk to school because settlers had attacked them the day before. It has escorted Palestinian shepherds, who had been terrorized by the settler hill youth. And it has carried blankets and warm clothes for scores of Palestinians whose homes had been demolished.

 

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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6 Responses

  1. Mike_Konrad on April 30, 2013, 4:27 am

    I am not saying that is right or wrong, but his sexual orientation (gay) is not really an germaine issue. It is like saying he is blue-eyed. What was the point?

    I wish him well. He is non-violent; and you got to admire a colorful gadfly – even when you disagree with him.

    I do not know how he reconciles his orientation with the violent homophobia of some extremist Muslims. Remember Vittorio Arrigoni.

    That said, I wish him well. Even though I am pro-Israel, I wish him well.

    • Allison Deger on April 30, 2013, 10:39 am

      It is less common to see racial and sexual minorities from Israeli society organizing in the WB. To generalize what I see, most are Ashkenazi, straight (and straight-edge) from middle class backgrounds. Lots of vegans too. Ezra however, is not from the temperance movement and does not come from a position of privilege in Israel. And so he is a rather unique voice.

    • Cliff on April 30, 2013, 4:17 pm

      Extremists in Tel Aviv – whoever they may be – should cause Ezra more alarm.

      Tel Aviv gay centre shooting:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Tel_Aviv_gay_centre_shooting#Manhunt

    • tree on April 30, 2013, 5:47 pm

      I wish him well. He is non-violent; and you got to admire a colorful gadfly – even when you disagree with him.

      So what do you disagree with in this:

      Ezra’s Toyota has traveled to every Palestinian village and grazing ground south of Bethlehem. It has been used to transport young children who were afraid to walk to school because settlers had attacked them the day before. It has escorted Palestinian shepherds, who had been terrorized by the settler hill youth. And it has carried blankets and warm clothes for scores of Palestinians whose homes had been demolished.

      Do you disagree with Ezra trying to protect and defend the people who are being ethnically cleansed from the Hebron Hills? I take it from your attitude that you see nothing wrong with ethnic cleansing, or oppression and discrimination and land expropriation on the basis of ethnicity. Do you find nothing wrong with the occupation? Do you even disagree with the settlements there? It doesn’t sound like any of that bothers you at all.

  2. OlegR on April 30, 2013, 11:18 am

    /. He is an Israeli activist of Iraqi descent, fluent Arabic speaker and gay—making him a person of reverence for everyone from the Advocate to Bernard Avishai/

    He is also a convicted sex offender.
    But what’ a little hanky panky with 15 year old boy (Palestinian) compared to
    all those freedom fighter credentials.

  3. eljay on April 30, 2013, 6:14 pm

    Donation made.

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