Human Rights - Israel

MachsomWatch (Checkpoint Watch) is an organization of 400 Jewish Israeli grandmothers, all peace activists, who monitor military checkpoints in the West Bank, through which Palestinians must commute daily.

When the MachsomWatch grandmothers witness human rights abuse by Israel Defense Forces, they report it to the Knesset, the press and on the Internet. Since Israeli military service is required at age 18, “some of our soldiers are just too young to make wise, humane judgments,” one grandmother reflects. MachsomWatch grandmothers describe their monitoring experiences, lives, hopes, and relationships in Grandmother Power.

News About Grandmothers in Israel

Updates about the grandmother groups in Grandmother Power


video linkIn the fourth episode of an interview series sponsored by the New Israel Fund, MachsomWatch member Daphna Banai describes the inspiration, troubles and trade offs of monitoring Israel’s checkpoints (2008)


Video LinkMachsomWatch’s documentary films suggest what it is like to go through the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, as Palestinian workers must do before dawn in order to arrive at their jobs on time. (2011)


Video LinkThis video (excerpted from the PBS series, Women, War & Peace, documents two MachsomWatch grandmothers working at the Habla Checkpoint, trying to negotiate passage for a man attempting to deliver a washing machine. (2011)


Video Link A member of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America interviews Hanna Barag, one of the grandmothers featured in GRANDMOTHER POWER. (2010)



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News Update:

Project Website: Machsom Watch members file Machsom Watch Alert reports on the Internet. English language translations describe what they witness. This summary covers December 2011.

The newspaper, Haaretz, interviewed MachsomWatch activist Susan Lourenco, 75, at the time the IDF decided to withdraw its soldiers and dismantle the Huwara crossing near Nablus. (2011)

MachsomWatch member Ofra Ben Artzi (whose MA in Religious Studies is from Northwestern University, whose ancestors were among the founders of modern Jerusalem, whose brother-in-law is Benjamin Netanyahu) wrote about the “Hunting of Palestinian Children” for the November 30 2010 issue of Occupation Magazine, which she edits.

Go behind the scenes with Paola in Israel via this sampling of pictures that are not in the book; meet husbands, grandchildren and interpreters.

Go Behind the Scenes of Paola's Project

See scenery and people that caught Paola’s attention while she was interviewing and photographing grandmothers for the chapter on MachsomWatch.