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October 22, 2014 | 28th Tishrei 5775

ISRAEL AND THE PROPHETIC VISION

56th General Assembly
December 1981
Boston, Massachusetts

ISRAEL AND THE PROPHETIC VISION

As Reform Jews, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthening the State of Israel, which is based on the prophetic vision of justice and peace. We are proud of Israel's record in applying the highest standards of our Jewish tradition to a broad spectrum of issues, sometimes at the risk of its own security and often in the face of severe economic and social difficulties.

The new government coalition agreement drawn among Likud and three Orthodox parties threatens Israel's orientation as a progressive society by making specific concessions to the Orthodox on such issues as birth control, autopsy, abortion, and women's rights. It jeopardizes liberal arts education and scientific research by promising a disproportionate amount of the state's limited financial resources to the yeshivot of Agudat Yisrael.

While the coalition agreement threatens no new discriminatory legislation against Reform and Conservative Judaism in Israel, the status quo it pledges to continue is unacceptable. We strongly support religious pluralism and oppose any officially sanctioned discrimination against streams of religious Judaism in a Jewish State.

The prime minister's pledge to work for legislation amending the Law of Return is distressing to those who hold that Israel is a homeland for all Jews. If adopted by the Knesset, the amendment demanded by Israel's politicized Orthodox establishment would threaten Jewish unity worldwide.

We believe that a Jewish State, manifesting the principles of our prophetic tradition, is one of the most significant sources of Jewish unity and inspiration in the world today.

THEREFORE:

  1. We urge those who lead Israel to put the well-being of all Israel's citizens and Israel's essential relationship with world Jewry above parochial concerns and to do so by reaffirming Jewish pluralism, by eradicating official discrimination against streams of religious Judaism, and by continuing to enable Israel to be a homeland to all Jews by not amending the Law of Return.

  2. We further call upon this constituency to support the drive of ARZA and Kadima aimed at achieving a membership of 100,000 in time for the forthcoming World Zionist Congress.

  3. We pledge ourselves to intensifying our efforts to strengthen Reform Judaism's impact on Israel by:

    1. Affirming the resolution adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in May 1976 that encourages, supports and assists the decisions of those North American Reform Jews who elect to make aliyah, whether as individuals or in groups

    2. Expanding our support for the institutions of Reform Judaism in Israel in partnership with the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

    3. Initiating a program of direct contact with the leaders of Israeli Reform Judaism in order to foster a mutual sharing of ideas and insights.

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