Fast - Food for Thought



An action, 18.7.-3.9.2010.

Mid June 2010, when I weighed 77 kilos I decided to diet. With my height of 5‘ 7” various Internet sites suggested that an ideal body weight should be somewhere between 55 and 72 kilos.

I am a vegan and can therefore not sympathise with the popular low-carbohydrate and high-protein meat diets, where not eating nevertheless remains an indulgence because it causes grief to animals.

On the 18th of July I started fasting. Not intending this to become an ascetic exercise however, I decided to fast more or less only every alternate day, eating normally on the other days.



On my fasting days I drink:
Bottled water
Fruit juice
Assam or Earl Grey tea with soy, oat or rice, milk substitutes
Mint tea
Fruit tea
Ginger tea
Miso in hot water
Yeast extract in hot water
“Caro”, grain coffee

Table of Fasting (body weight measured first thing)
18. July fasting weight: 74.4 kilos
19. July weight: 73.7 kilos
20. July fasting weight: 74.1 kilos
21. July weight: 73.4 kilos
22. July fasting weight: 73.8 kilos
23. July weight: 73.0 kilos
24. July weight: 73.4 kilos
25. July weight: 73.2 kilos
26. July holiday weight: 73.3 kilos
27. July holiday weight:
28. July holiday weight:
29. July holiday weight:
30. July holiday weight:
31. July fasting weight: 73.5 kilos
1. August weight: 72.6 kilos
2. August fasting weight: 73.2 kilos
3. August weight: 72.3 kilos
4. August weight: 72.7 kilos
5. August fasting weight: 73.3 kilos
6. August weight: 72.0 kilos
7. August fasting weight: 72.2 kilos
8. August weight: 71.8 kilos
9. August fasting weight: 72.0 kilos
10. August weight: 71.6 kilos
11. August fasting weight: 71.1 kilos
12. August weight: 71.0 kilos
13. August fasting weight: 71.2 kilos
14. August weight: 70.7 kilos
15. August fasting weight: 71.5 kilos
16. August weight: 71.0 kilos
17. August fasting weight: 70.3 kilos
18. August weight: 69.8 kilos
19. August fasting weight: 70.2 kilos
20. August weight: 70.2 kilos
21. August fasting weight: 70.4 kilos
22. August weight: 70.1 kilos
23. August fasting weight: 70.4 kilos
24. August weight: 69.6 kilos
25. August fasting weight: 69.8 kilos
26. August weight: 69.5 kilos
27. August fasting weight: 70.1 kilos
28. August weight: 69.1 kilos
29. August fasting weight: 69.7 kilos
30. August weight: 69.1 kilos
31. August fasting weight: 69.8 kilos
1. September weight: 68.9 kilos
2. September holiday weight: 69.3 kilos
3. September holiday

Whether meat is consumed or not a diet remains an indulgence for the privileged. People fast for diverse reasons: when there is a food shortage, health or religious purposes, to lose weight or as a political demonstration. This form of self-discipline, abstention and self-denial may be employed as activism.

During my fasting time I became aware of Firas Maraghy’s protest action outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin. Where my fasting is a measure against overfeeding, a symptom of late capitalism, for the Palestinian Firas Maraghy a hunger strike is the only way he will gain attention for his unjustifiable situation.


Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost e.V.
(Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East)
Member Organisation of the European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP)
Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, Greifswalder Str. 4,
10405 Berlin. Fax: 030 396 2147


Firas Maraghy has been on hunger strike in front of the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, for over two weeks. Mr. Maraghy is a Palestinian from East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem has been occupied since 1967 and was later annexed; Palestinians from East Jerusalem have freedom of movement but Israel does not proffer them citizenship. And now the embassy refuses to provide a “Laissez Passer”, the East Jerusalem Palestinians’ travel document, for Mr. Maraghy’s daughter Zaynab, who was born in December 2009. This “Laissez Passer” and the resultant registration would guarantee his daughter the right to live in Jerusalem. Employees in the consulate department advised Firas Maraghy to obtain a German passport for his daughter, as her mother, Mr. Maraghy’s wife, is a German citizen. Israeli border control officials might however, at any time refuse little Zaynab entry with a German passport.

Mr. Maraghy was furthermore informed by the Israeli authorities that he would lose his residence permit for Jerusalem should he not return to live in Jerusalem for at least between one and a half to two years, by May 2011, at the latest. The authorities there have moreover refused to register Mr. Maraghy’s marriage. If the marriage is not recorded, Mr. Maraghy’s wife would probably not be able to get a residence permit in Jerusalem. Under these circumstances Mr. Maraghy has had to come to an unreasonable decision. He has to decide between his family of origin in East Jerusalem and his family in Berlin. In order not to lose his right to live in Jerusalem, where his family has lived for more than 150 years, Mr. Maraghy would have to separate from his wife and child.

The case of Firas Maraghy is typical of the customary Israeli politics thousands of Palestinians experience. For decades the Israeli authorities have been running a politics of repression in the occupied areas and East Jerusalem. In many cases this is carried out bureaucratically, in that Palestinians, who have left their homes for some time, have to prove their right to live there again by presenting countless documents - for example, receipts for taxes paid over the last twenty years. They are deprived of their right to return to Jerusalem, their Israeli health insurance is declared null and void etc. In Silwan, the area where Firas Maraghy was born, the Israeli authorities gave a right wing group, the EL-AD organisation permission to carry out archaeological excavations under Palestinian houses. They have been trying to rid themselves of these by turning Silwan into an archaeological park. Ministry of the Interior officials in Jerusalem, who explained to Mr. Maraghy that he has no right to live in his homeland, have themselves possibly only lived in Israel for 15 years. They have these rights because they are Jewish and Mr. Maraghy is not. We, as Jews in Germany, descendants of people whose citizenship was withdrawn by the German state because they were Jewish, are ashamed that a state, which describes itself as a “Jewish State”, treats people in this way.

We call on the Israeli embassy to abandon its discriminatory politics and to make use of its powers of discretion, by making out a “Laissez Passer” for Zaynab Maraghy.

Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East). Prof. Dr. Rolf Verleger

Executive committee: Prof. Dr. Rolf Verleger (Vors.), Iris Hefets-Borchardt, Michal Kaiser-Livne, Bärbel Wolterstädt, Dr. Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer. Bank details: Account number. 1053200 at the Bank for Sozialwirtschaft, Sort code 10020500. Recognised as serving the public good in 2008, by the tax authorities in Berlin. A protest action, supported by Mr. Maraghy will take place in front of the Israeli embassy (Auguste-Viktoria-Str. 74-76, on the corner of Flinsberger Platz) on 12th August at 3.30 pm

(Translation from German T.U.)

Tanya Ury is a member of Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East).

Firas Maraghy, 3rd september, 2010

Press Statement

In my press statement of 31st August 2010 I explained that the aim of my hunger strike, which I started on 26.07.2010, has always been to register my daughter Zaynab, who was born in December 2009, as a citizen of East Jerusalem, and to register my marriage to Wiebke Diehl, who is a German national. From the start I have been demanding the secure right for my family and myself to live in the city of my birth and that of my ancestors. This demand is in keeping with international law, in particular with Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Since my last press statement there have been some changes. In that statement I offered to travel to Jerusalem for talks with Mr. Amos Arbel, Director of the Registration and Civil Status Department of the Ministry of the Interior, accompanied by either a high-level German politician or a well-known public figure. The Israeli embassy has assured me that these talks will lead to a solution. I was offered a definite appointment for talks with Mr. Arbel, but because this was in mid September, when my health will not yet permit me to travel, it has been agreed to postpone the meeting for a few weeks.

I am willing to travel to Jerusalem for such a meeting. Mr. Polenz, chair of the Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee, has offered to accompany me. My heartfelt thanks go to him for negotiating between my family and the Israeli embassy.

The Israelis on their part have demanded that my daughter Zaynab must be in Jerusalem for her registration. I have been promised a written guarantee that a German passport will not be an obstacle to her being registered as a citizen of East Jerusalem, and I am only prepared to take my daughter with me if I actually receive this guarantee.

I hope the intention as stated by the Israelis to find an amicable solution will actually lead to the registration of my daughter and of my marriage. I never thought I would be able to change the whole political situation; although I continue to basically hold Israeli Embassies responsible for Palestinians from East Jerusalem living abroad, I am therefore prepared to compromise. I will therefore end my 41 days of hunger strike, this phase of my protest, at 5 pm on September 4th. I am doing this, trusting that the Israeli promises negotiated by high-level politicians will be adhered to.