Walking the Path of Light: Israeli Activist Renen Raz Dies At 28

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Raz at the Apartheid Wall. Facebook photo.

Beloved Israeli refusenik, gay rights activist, BDS supporter and advocate for Palestinian rights Renen Raz has died at 28, reportedly from brain cancer. Born and raised on the Dorot kibbutz near the Gazan border, he often said his political awakening came after he asked about the "other people" - ie Palestinians - who had lived in a now-empty stone house at the kibbutz;  when he was told it belonged to people who used to live there but left years ago, he "realized something wasn’t right." A member of an Arab Jewish family, he "was growing up with a lot of questions to which I needed an answer."

After rejecting military service and being shunned by his family, he spent most of his life organizing with other Israelis in groups like Boycott from Within and Anarchists Against the Wall, and protesting the Occupation in Nabi Saleh and the West Bank in hopes "people might open their eyes and their mind just a bit.” Despite enduring estrangement from his family and regular police raids, Raz insisted, "I can choose between walking the path of light or the path of darkness...My solution is just equality for all the people - it’s a pure call for justice.” A fellow activist in Nabi Saleh mourned him with, “Sorry you couldn’t stay longer to see your dream come true."

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