Israeli Orthodox Jew raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of settler riot


(JTA) —  An Orthodox Jew and Israeli left-wing political activist has raised more than $400,000 for victims of a recent settler riot in a Palestinian West Bank town.

Yair Fink, a former Labor Party candidate known by the nickname Yaya, launched a crowdfunding campaign for the residents of Huwara, a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank where hundreds of settlers rampaged on Sunday, burning dozens of cars and buildings, and injuring dozens of residents. One Palestinian was killed in the riots in a town to Huwara’s south. The riots came after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli brothers who were traveling through the village.

In his fundraising appeal, Fink mourned the murder of the brothers, Hillel and Yigal Yaniv, and then wrote, “Even in our place of deep rage and sorrow, we must never lose our humanity. That is not our Judaism.”

Fink, a major in the army reserves, told Haaretz that he is coordinating with the army to make sure the money reaches only victims and not anyone associated with terrorist organizations.

“In the past year, I served 50 days in the military reserves to protect Israelis from terrorists,” he wrote in his appeal. “This initiative is my service as a civilian.”

Fink filled his Twitter feed with screenshots from among the hundreds of attacks and death threats he said he is receiving on his WhatsApp account.

He also posted positive feedback. “Hi Yaya,” said one correspondent. “You came to a house party of ours once. In my name and the name of my religious Zionist friends, we wanted to send strength to your activism these days, and especially to your initiative to raise money for the victims of the shocking rioting in Huwara.”