Video has gone viral of a masked Israeli settler armed with a knife attacking Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the co-founder of the group Rabbis for Human Rights. The incident took place after Ascherman tried to film Israeli settlers setting Palestinian olive trees on fire in the West Bank village of Awarta outside of Nablus. The video shows the masked man grabbing a knife out of his back pocket, then repeatedly lunging at the 55-year-old rabbi, who was attempting to retreat. The masked man also kicked and punched Ascherman while making threatening gestures with the knife. The settler eventually ran away. We speak with Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who co-founded Rabbis for Human Rights in 1988. For over a decade the group has dispatched volunteers to protect the Palestinian olive harvest.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, welcome to Democracy Now! First of all, how are you?
RABBI ARIK ASCHERMAN: Well, I’m alive, so that’s a good start. And thank God. You know, there’s a traditional blessing that one blesses after having been saved from a very dangerous situation, in synagogue, and this last Shabbat, this last Saturday, I blessed that blessing, and then immediately took my turn, as we have different members, guarding the synagogue, because we’re also concerned about Palestinian violence. And that’s part of reality. And yet, somehow, we have to remember to stay human and to remember our humanity. And I think one of the things that many of our volunteers that come out to the olive harvest are so grateful for is, in the midst of all this craziness, reminding ourselves and everybody else that there really is another way.
Watch video at minute 38 at this link