Activist and Israeli Labor party member Yair (Yaya) Fink launched on Monday an online donation campaign for the Palestinian residents of Huwara village in the West Bank, whose homes, shops and cars were damaged by settlers.
Within the first 24 hours of the initiative, over 1 million Israeli shekels ($272,500) were donated by over 7,000 Israelis, with money still flowing in.
The donation campaign set up by Fink appeals for assistance by civilians. “A very serious attack took place yesterday, in which two Jewish brothers — Hallel and Yagel Yaniv — were murdered. A few hours after the attack, while security forces were chasing the despicable terrorist, hundreds of Jews rioted in the village of Huwara. Still, even out of our enormous rage and terrible pain, we must not lose a human image. This is not our Judaism. … This [donation] initiative is our civilian duty. We, as Jews, must not stand on the sidelines when faced with violence and loss of moral path. Let's fix it. Donate now to the innocent families affected by the riots in Huwara village,” it reads on the site.
Settlers vandalized buildings and cars in Huwara in retaliation for the killing of the Yaniv brothers on Sunday morning, burning to the ground some 35 homes and destroying dozens of others.
Fink, a religious Jew, said he was horrified by the sights of the Huwara settler rampage on Sunday, especially footage showing yarmulka-wearing Jews gathering for the evening prayer amid the torched houses.
Fink told a reporter of The Times of Israel that as a religious Jew, and under such circumstances, he could not remain silent. “They’re creating a warped new Judaism and taking the name of the true one in vain. I came to the conclusion that I needed to raise a different Jewish, Zionist, Israeli voice,” explained Fink, who argued that most Israelis “don’t accept such anarchists.”
Hundreds of people demonstrated Monday evening in Tel Aviv against the Huwara village riots. The rally was organized by the anti-occupation movement Stand Together. Similar demonstrations took place in other cities across the country.
Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz slammed Tuesday morning the settlers’ riot in Huwara, blaming the radical ministers within the Netanyahu government of encouraging violence. "We are facing a danger of self-destruction. Who will occupy Gaza if this becomes necessary? Militias? What is required is responsible leadership and I do not see that. [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is silent, while others — [Knesset member Zvika] Fogel, [Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich, [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben-Gvir — stock and fuel the flames.’’
On Tuesday, the European Union joined condemnations by the American and French Foreign Ministries over the Huwara incidents. "High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell contacted Israeli and Palestinian authorities on Sunday night to convey the message that violence and terror must stop, that all civilians must be protected and that immediate measures of de-escalation are necessary," the statement read.