RIP Renen Raz


Renen Raz died today. He was 28. I didn’t know Renen well and hadn’t kept in touch at all these last two years, but I know that Renen was as sweet and gentle as they come. We met in Nabi Saleh, probably in the summer of 2012. I would see him there many times thereafter, usually in the hills during a Friday demonstration, our conversations invariably interrupted by drifting tear gas. I remember him laughing and shouting with glee to bring my attention to a fat lizard resting on a rock as tear gas canisters fell all around us. I know Nabi Saleh meant a lot to him. He would tell me with pride how many times he had been arrested there, and with a sadder sort of pride that his activism had cost him his relationship with his family. Only once did I see him anywhere else: in the tiny Tel Aviv apartment that he shared with one enormous and very aggressive cat—his arms were always covered in long scratches—and, for a little while, with two puppies that he agreed to take in. People in the US often ask me if there aren’t Israelis who stand up against the actions of their government. Renen was one of the few who do, and did. May his courage and his kindness live on. 

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