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.