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December 2012  





CHAI/Hakol Chai achieved a major step toward its long-worked for goal of banning horse- and donkey-pulled carts from city streets and highways throughout the country, when Israel's Transportation Ministry agreed to accept Hakol Chai's suggested new regulation to ban these vehicles. The Justice Department must now check the text of the new regulation before it heads to the Knesset Finance Committee for final approval, which is expected at the end of January, after the national elections. Israel will then be among the first countries to ban all vehicles pulled by animals on city streets and highways.
Horses and donkeys are used in Israel to haul furniture, appliances, old clothing, scrap metal, rocks from construction sites, and heavy produce like watermelons. They are often starved, beaten, denied veterinary and farrier care, forced to stand in the hot sun all day without water, and to wear ill-fitting harnesses that gouge into their flesh. At the end of the summer or when they are too ill or weak to work, they are abandoned. Some collapse in the street, still in their harnesses.
At a meeting last month with representatives of the Transportation Ministry, Hakol Chai presented a collage of photos of abused cart horses sent to it by concerned citizens from around the country, entitled "Israel in the 21st Century" and requested that the regulations be changed to ban the phenomenon nationwide. The Ministry agreed to Hakol Chai's request, and Hakol Chai representatives then worked with committee members to draft suggested wording for the new legislation.

"The Cart Horse Phenomenon, Israel in the 21st Century"

International animal protection organizations sent congratulatory letters to Transportation Minister Israel Katz in honor of Horses Without Carriages International Day, December 1, praising his decision to adopt Hakol Chai's suggested regulations and expressing gratitude for his forward step that demonstrates positive and humane leadership. CHAI is part of an international coalition working to ban horse-drawn vehicles everywhere.
Please donate to CHAI so we can continue to be the voice of the animals, ensuring that the newly won ban is enforced throughout the country. Following are just some of the actions on behalf of horses and donkeys made possible by your contributions:

  • Repeatedly exposing the abuse to raise public consciousness, including shutting down a major horse abuser who hacked unsold horses apart with an axe in front of other horses and sold the meat in the market as cow meat.

  • Appealing to the Transportation Ministry and to Mayors throughout the country to ban the phenomenon

  • Putting up countless posters urging the public to recognize and report abuse

  • Organizing a well-attended rally at a popular Tel Aviv night club at which volunteer celebrity musicians and singers performed, drawing publicity and support to the cause

  • Submitting a formal proposal to the Tel Aviv City Council asking for a city-wide ban on the phenomenon, which resulted in the Council calling a special meeting to discuss the issue for the first time; demonstrating outside the building where the Council met to exert additional pressure

  • Initiating a "witness" campaign to keep awareness of the widespread problem high and enlist the help of the public. The campaign urged people throughout the country to use their cell phones to send us photos of cart horses and their drivers, which we compiled in a collage captioned "Israel in the 21st Century" to present to officials and the media. This campaign was initiated after signs finally put up by Tel Aviv barring entrance to these vehicles were ignored by cart owners, and the police failed to issue fines.

  • Boarding and rehabilitating abused horses


Joey, rescued cart horse, before


Rescued Joey, after

CHAI's Arab Education Program Is Creating a Better World

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."



Expanding the Circle of Compassion, CHAI's pilot humane education project for Arab schools in the north of Israel—launched in October following our introductory conference for Arab teachers, principals, and counselors—is reaching over 600 students and already achieving amazing results. This groundbreaking program is the first time humane education has been taught in Arab schools in Israel on a continuing basis, by students' regular teachers under our supervision and guidance, as part of the curriculum.
"The values taught by this program exactly match those that our school aims to instill in children," commented a principal of one of the participating schools. She emphasized how important it is to teach humane values at an early age. Respect, responsibility, empathy, critical thinking, and empowering children to make compassionate choices to create a better world are the building blocks of our program.
Teachers report that students are excited by and engaged in the lessons, which are allowing them to express and explore their feelings about animals for the first time. They are discovering that both humans and animals have emotions and intelligence and that every living being deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. "Before this program," one boy commented, "I thought of animals as stupid and without feelings and was afraid to have them in my family because I thought they were aggressive and dangerous, but I learned that animals are sometimes more intelligent than humans and I am no longer afraid of them. This program gives me tools for how to treat animals," he told the teacher. Some students reported that they feel closer to animals than to people.
One of the many benefits of humane education is that it helps teachers identify children at risk of violent behavior. Scientific studies have shown that cruelty to animals in children is an accurate predictor of violence toward humans when children become adults. In response to a teacher's questions "Should we be responsible for animals? Should we have compassion for them?" one student answered that he didn't feel compassion for animals, for humans, and not even for himself because no one cared about him. The teacher learned that neither parent was in his life, and acted immediately to get him help. Other students reported overhearing a boy bragging to his classmates that he had cut the tails off of cats in his neighborhood. Their teacher told the class that such behavior is cruel and unacceptable and immediately arranged counseling for the boy. How many lives, human and animal, might our program be saving?
Teachers offer students an opportunity to explore their feelings, and they stress the importance of not taking out their pain and anger on animals. One boy said he picked up and threw his cat out of frustration over something and later felt terrible about what he had done. Another boy said his brother hit him and he immediately hit his dog, who bit him. He realized it was his own fault and felt bad for the dog. In each case, teachers reinforced the message that it is wrong to harm animals.
Children spoke up about having seen dogs burned, donkeys and horses abused and whipped, and said they won't put up with such abuse of animals anymore and will do something to stop it. "If you were in the place of the abused animals," the teacher asked, "how would you feel and what would you want others to do?" One boy said his father had given him a gift of birds in a cage, but he felt so sorry for them, he released them. His father was very angry, he said, but he felt he had done the right thing. A teacher set up a website on which children can post their stories and poems about animals.
October marked the annual celebration of the holiday of Eid al-Adha, a festival of sacrifice during which people kill animals and give a portion of the meat to the poor. It is considered a blessing for children to watch and participate in the slaughter. Teachers reported that children returned to school afterwards highly upset and confused by the contrast between our message of compassion and respect and what they witnessed. While observing one class, for example, Hakol Chai's program supervisor noticed a boy who was so upset, he was unable to speak or write. An additional teacher and a counselor were called in to comfort and support students in the class. Killing animals on this holiday is a cultural tradition, not a religious requirement. Children can donate to charity instead and we have asked religious leaders to clarify for students the importance of kindness to animals in their religion.
Students in one participating school are of the Druze religion, a unique sect of Islam. Israeli citizens, the Druze have risen to high-ranking Army officer positions, lost their lives in combat, and many have become members of the Knesset (Parliament). The Druze believe that being vegetarian brings us closer to God and their religious leaders are vegetarian. They do not allow children under the age of 7 to participate in the Eid al-Adha animal slaughter. We will ask the Moslem and Druze religious leaders we invite to address students to inform schools and parents that it is acceptable for all, especially children, to replace slaughtering animals with acts of charity.
Our educational programs for secular schools in Israel and for Jewish schools everywhere will be launched soon. Please support our educational programs that go to the root of the problem of indifference and cruelty, planting seeds of kindness and compassion in the next generation. Send your generous tax-deductible contributions to CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, or donate online on our website.

Hakol Chai Interviewed on TV Protesting Cruel Kapparot Ritual


From TV interview of Hakol Chai's representative at
Hatikva Market, Tel Aviv, during kapparot

Just before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) in September, some religious Jews engage in the practice of kapparot. Live chickens are held by the legs and swung around people's heads three times before their throats are slit, in the belief that the chicken will take on the sins of the person and spare him or her punishment. The dead chickens are donated to the poor to eat. Investigations have revealed that the chickens are not given proper care and are treated inhumanely.
Kapparot is not a religious requirement. It can be replaced by donating to charity and other good deeds. Furthermore, the Torah says that one must not commit a sin (cause cruelty to animals) in order to perform a mitzvah or good deed (asking for forgiveness). Hakol Chai's representative, interviewed by the media at a location in Jerusalem where kapparot is practiced, said: "In the act of seeking forgiveness for ourselves, we are harming another living being, and in so doing are violating the prohibition against 'tsa'ar ba'alei chayyim,' causing suffering to animals." CHAI is a member of a coalition working toward replacing kapparot with good deeds and giving to charity.

Hakol Chai continues to expose the cruelties of the horse racing industry and the abuse of cart horses and donkeys in the media and to publish information to elevate consciousness about animals, including how to provide for and protect animals in the event of emergency or war, such as recently occurred in the south of the country, for example. Hakol Chai's work was mentioned no less than 69 times in the media (print, online, TV, and radio) over the past year—33 times in connection with our campaign against horse racing , 21 times in connection with our efforts to ban cart horses, and 15 times in connection with our Arab education program and other issues. Your support has made it possible for Hakol Chai to be a strong voice for animals.
Hakol Chai also regularly responds to calls for help from the public, whether reporting incidents of cruelty, requesting help with veterinary care for those who cannot afford it, or with finding homes for abandoned animals.



In honor of World Animal Day, October 4th, a sign was placed on a horse statue in central Tel Aviv by Hakol Chai activists, flyers were distributed to passersby, and conversations educated them about the cruelties inherent in the horse racing industry.



Luka was found in Nazareth by a young American woman  who called us desperate to find a home for her before returning to the U.S. Thanks to our efforts, Luka now has a wonderful home with a young couple in Petach Tikvah.

Help us spread the word about CHAI's work on behalf of Israel's animals. The more support we have, the more we can help animals. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Send your generous, tax-deductible contributions to CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302 or donate through our website.

  • Organize a "parlor meeting" of friends to help raise funds for CHAI's projects

  • Distribute CHAI pamphlets at synagogues, Temples, vets' offices, and other places people who care about animals are likely to see them

  • Know any foundations that might consider a grant proposal from CHAI or reporters who might write about our cause? Tell us!

  • Remember CHAI in your will

  • "Like" CHAI's Facebook page


On behalf of the animals, we thank you!

Yours for a more compassionate world,

Nina Natelson


CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel

PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone: 703-658-9650