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April 20, 2014 | 20th Nisan 5774

ISRAEL

66th General Assembly
December 2001
Boston, Massachusetts

ISRAEL

BACKGROUND

Since the September 11 terror attacks on the United States, many of us have said: "Americans finally know what it's like to live in Israel." But we don't. As terrible as the attacks here have been, we don't live in a country with hostile neighbors who question our very legitimacy as a nation. We are not targeted daily by suicide bombers who murder innocent civilians in our restaurants and bus stations. We don't have gunmen shooting across the border at residential neighborhoods in our nation's capital. This is Israel's reality, and because of this reality, Israel needs us now more than ever.

The war against terrorism launched after the September 11 attacks is Israel's war no less than it is America's and Canada's. Fascist terror with a radical Islamic face wants to erase Israel from the map, even if this is not its immediate goal. If the champions of terror survive intact, the jihad that they promise will be a mortal threat to the Jewish state. Therefore, Israel needs to be a steadfast ally of the United States as it pursues this war.

It is hard to remember a more difficult time for Israel. Outrage follows outrage; atrocity follows atrocity. Yet even in face of renewed violence, we refuse to lose hope in peace.

We still believe that the key to peace will be two states, Jewish and Palestinian, side by side, and a negotiated agreement that provides security for both sides. We thank the American government for its strong support of Israel and welcome an American role in the negotiations.

But while Israel will accept a Palestinian state, it will never accept a terrorist state. Today Israelis want, and deserve, to be reassured that America's fight against terror is determined and universal. They want to be assured that America will oppose terrorist murder not only when the victims are Americans in New York and Washington but also when they are Jews in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israelis want to know that when their civilians are murdered, they can defend themselves without being chastised for "overreaction."

In this challenging hour, we must redouble our support for the institutions of Reform Judaism in Israel. In dangerous times, Israelis do as we do: They look to Jewish tradition for answers and for comfort. And many, seeking to blend tradition and modernity, look to us. The result is a long list of success stories. Jerusalem's largest Reform synagogue, Kol Haneshama, drew one thousand worshipers on Yom Kippur, and the extraordinary Leo Baeck School in Haifa will open a high school in Jerusalem next year.

THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:

  1. Express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel, standing with them in combating the fanatics who endanger their very existence, and pledging to:
    1. Work aggressively to counter the falsehoods that so frequently appear in the local and national media; and
    2. To institute congregational programs and dialogue;
    3. Facilitate visits to Israel by the members of our Movement, in part by offering a wide array of UAHC-sponsored programs including:
      1. A kibbutz-based program for our teenagers;
      2. Summer trips that will allow parents to travel to Israel with their children;
      3. A mission of the UAHC Board in June 2002; and
      4. Congregational trips through ARZA/WORLD UNION, North America;
  2. Recommit ourselves to darchei shalom, the path of peace, by:
    1. Insisting that Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority decide with which part of the family of nations they want to identify, recognizing that Palestinians must choose either terrorism or statehood, but not both, and if they choose statehood they must stop the violence and begin to negotiate;
    2. Welcoming and supporting an American role in and Canadian support for negotiations among Israel and her neighbors;
    3. Reaffirming our belief that the key to peace will be two states, Jewish and Palestinian, side by side, and a negotiated agreement that provides security for both sides; and
    4. Urging our congregations and their members to express appreciation to President Bush for his administration's strong support for Israel and his commitment to the eradication of terror, including terrorism of Israel.
  3. Work with ARZA/World Union, North America in finding ways to increase support for the institutions of Reform and Progressive Judaism in Israel and to build Reform Judaism in the Jewish state.

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