Nawi is a human rights and peace activist, a Jew, an Mizrahi Israeli, and a very brave man. He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinians in the South Hebron region. He was arrested, and his arrest sparked protest and sympathies around the world.
This past Sunday, August 16, Nawi was in court for a sentencing hearing. (We won't know his sentence for another month or so.) Representatives from Jewish Voice for Peace were there, along with a petition signed by more than 20,000 people, calling for justice for Ezra Nawi.
Before his hearing, Ezra Nawi made this statement through JVP:
This is not the first time that I stand trial for my beliefs. But it is the first time that they will probably be able to stop me.
I always knew that many people silently supported me, and that if I ever got into trouble they would stand behind me. This moment has come.
I have been harassed and targeted throughout the years, because I embody three elements which provoke bigotry in the Israeli society: I am a homosexual, I am a Mizrahi Jew, and I devote all my time to fighting for the human rights of Arab Palestinians.
I am a simple person. I did what my heart told me to do. Looking back, I know that what my friends and I have done is changing the harsh reality of the occupation in the whole area of south Hebron. I feel that now the Israeli authorities are punishing me on a personal level.
I would like to believe that my personal adversity will inspire and motivate individuals to actively oppose the occupation.
More about Ezra Nawi here. Why he was arrested: