"Expanding the Circle of
Compassion," CHAI's humane education program for Arab schools in
Israel, has grown
rapidly, from a pilot for 640 students to almost 4,000 students, and
education officials requested that we further expand the program to all
schools in the north of Israel and to all grades up to and including 7th
grade. The program is being carried out by our sister charity in Israel, Hakol Chai.
As part of the "Expanding the Circle of Compassion" program, a Druze
Sheikh, a Christian priest, and a Muslim Imam spoke to students of all
three faiths about the importance of respecting animals and treating
them with empathy and compassion.
"Avoid slaughtering animals or witnessing the slaughter of animals on
the annual Festival of Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, as it has a negative
impact on the soul," Imam (religious leader) Ahmad Hasan, an attorney
and head of the mosque in Shfar'am, Israel, advised elementary school
students, school officials, and their parents. "Unlike some commandments
in the Koran," the Imam explained, "the act of sacrificing an animal is
not mandatory. The real meaning of the holiday and what is mandatory is
to sacrifice the evil in us in order to bring joy to others."
Over 100 million animals are slaughtered on Eid al-Adha in Arab
countries every year. Animal rights activists have criticized the
cruelty that results from lack of regulation of the slaughtering.
Classroom observers noted that 4th grade students who were forced to
witness or participate in the slaughter were too upset to focus on their
lessons, and counselors had to be called in to help. Witnessing or
participating in violence at an early age can have a negative effect on
children's psyches and lead to violence toward humans when children
become adults, studies have shown. In the future, Hakol Chai will lead
children in acts of charity.
The Festival of Sacrifice commemorates the story of Abraham, who was
willing to sacrifice his son for God. According to the story, the son
was saved when God saw Abraham's faith and gave him a ram to sacrifice
instead. "God's message was not a call to slaughter animals, but rather
a call to obey God," the Imam told students. "The ram was only a symbol.
God had mercy and intervened so Abraham's son would not be killed. We
are commanded to follow God in his mercy and have mercy on all forms of
Hasan called on students to love and respect all living beings and to
refrain from causing them harm. He told stories from the Koran to
illustrate that those who show mercy and compassion will be rewarded and
will be shown God's mercy, while those who harm animals will be
punished. The Imam also sang verses from the Koran about the lives of
the smallest creatures—ants and bees—and explained their importance and
their right to protection from even unintentional harm. He encouraged
students to be charitable to members of their communities and to visit
family and relatives so they will experience joy at feeling cared about.
Hasan's family is vegetarian, and he points out that the Koran permits
Muslims to be vegetarian.
Father Androus Bahouth, a Christian priest who spoke together with the
Imam in one of the schools, told students that everything in nature is
sacred and they are to respect and appreciate the beauty of every living
being. Humans were created last, after all other living beings, he said,
and we are responsible for and guardians of all the other life forms
created before us.
He held up St. Francis and Noah as models for how we are to behave. St.
Francis loved and cared for animals and was able to communicate with
them. When the weather was cold, he worried about the bees and set
out honey and wine for them. Father Bahouth also told the story of how
Noah saved the animals during the great flood and saw to their
After students in Hakol Chai's program complete a series of lessons that
teach them about the intelligence, emotions, and abilities of animals,
they undertake monthly projects to demonstrate that they have understood
the concepts in the lessons and have incorporated the values taught into
their daily lives. In the first of a series of projects, they research
the needs of animals in their communities and decide on actions they
will take to improve their lives. In addition, older students teach what
they learned to younger students.
Questionnaires administered before and after the program have shown that
it has had a significant, positive impact on students' attitudes toward
animals in all the categories tested: appreciation of and respect for
animals, their intelligence and emotions; willingness to care for
animals, especially the hungry and abandoned, and provide them with
veterinary care; desire to report and end animal abuse; willingness to
live with animals in their homes; recognition that non-domesticated
animals need to live with their social group, in their natural habitat,
and have the freedom to exercise their natural abilities rather than
live in captivity.
Students who were abusing animals have self-reported, expressed remorse,
and promised to stop perpetrating cruel acts on animals. Other students
said they will no longer tolerate abuse and reported fellow students who
were abusing animals.
Please contribute to our work to instill humane values in Arab
youth in Israel.
Hakol Chai Protests the Ministry of Sports and Culture's Decision to Permit Israelis to Gamble on Horse Racing in the U.K.
Gambling on horse racing
within Israel is not legal, and Hakol Chai introduced a bill in the
Knesset that would ban gambling on all sports involving animals.
However, the Ministry of Sports and Culture gave permission to the Toto
(Israel's Sports Betting Board) to allow Israelis to gamble on horse
races outside of Israel, in England and Ireland.
Hakol Chai responded by organizing a protest on November 5th, 2013,
in front of the Ministry of Sports and Culture. In connection with the
ten Knesset members sent a letter to Minister Limor Livnat, asking
her to reverse her decision. Their letter stated that Israelis'
gambling on horse racing abroad promotes the cruelties inherent in the
racing industry regardless of in which country the races take place.
Were these same cruelties performed in Israel, they would violate
Israel's Animal Protection Law.
Demonstrators line the streets in front of the Ministry of Sports and
The cruelties include: thousands bred annually, the few fastest picked
out to race, most of the rest sent to slaughter (born to die); trained
and raced at 2, when they are fastest, but before their bones have
hardened, so they suffer catastrophic injuries and must be euthanized;
bleeding in the lungs from being pushed beyond their limits, which can
be fatal; chronic ulcers, heart attacks and more. Race horses typically
end their careers at 6, when they
are no longer fast enough to win races, and either go to slaughter or
are sold from hand to hand in a downward spiral of abuse.
Posters representing tombstones of actual racehorses,
with their photos, date of death, age, and how they died
Israel has no place for the many abused, unwanted horses in the country
now. If racing comes to Israel, it will have to build slaughterhouses to
kill hundreds of healthy, young horses every year just because they are
not fast enough to win races. Raising and keeping race horses requires an enormous amount
of water, which Israel does not have. Israel can find other ways of
earning money besides abusing animals.
Minister Livnat responded to the letter from the Knesset members by
saying that Israel's Animal Protection Law does not apply to races held
outside of Israel so the cruelties to horses in other countries are of
no concern to Israelis. She attempted to excuse the cruelties on the
grounds that money earned from gambling abroad will help promote sports
in Israel, and she declined to reverse her decision.
Hakol Chai's demonstration was covered by four media channels. Hakol
Chai will continue its campaign against gambling on horse racing coming
to Israel, and against the misrepresentation of horse racing as a sport,
instead of what it actually is—animal abuse.
Left: Hakol Chai representative Reut Reshef is interviewed by Ynet, an
Israeli news site
Right: Demonstrators stand at a crosswalk to ensure that drivers see
Honoring Former Jaffa Cart Horse, Shabbat (Saturday),
Rescued by CHAI
honors the memory of former abused cart horse, Shabbat, who was rescued
by CHAI and who passed away in November of this year.
One Saturday in June of
1999, his new life began. One of many work horses in Jaffa, the old part
of Tel Aviv, he hauled a cart loaded with fruits and vegetables to and
from the market. What little food he was given was mostly what remained
of the unsold vegetables. On non-work days, he wasn't fed. Weak from
hunger and malnourishment, he strained his body beyond its limits
pulling the heavy load. Repeated falls caused deep wounds on his legs.
He was beaten regularly and scars covered the length of his body.
His ill-fitting harness had pulled away the skin from under one foreleg
and caused a painful sore on his shoulder. To prevent him from toppling
the cart when on an incline, small blocks of wood were nailed to his
cracked and broken hooves. Underneath the wood were fungus and blood
clots. Every step he took was agony. Constant pulling of already
overused muscles left him unable to lift his left hind leg properly when
walking. Unwashed and kept in a filthy stall, he smelled of excrement.
CHAI rescued Shabbat from his life of horror and misery and brought
him to a farm where he could graze on grass, receive treats like apples,
and have fresh air, exercise, and friends. Most important, he was
never forced to work again. Shabbat was around 6 years old at the time of his
rescue, the veterinarian who treated him estimated and, thanks to your generous support, he enjoyed 15
years of freedom before he died.
Please help us honor Shabbat’s memory by donating to CHAI so we can
rescue additional abused horses from lives of misery.
spread the word about CHAI's work on behalf of Israel's animals. The more
support we have, the more we can help animals.
Please send your generous,
tax-deductible contributions to CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302 or
donate through our
On behalf of the animals, we thank you!
Yours for a more compassionate world,
Wishing you all the best for the holiday season.
May the New Year bring much progress for animals!
CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302