Rabbi Yoffie Welcomes Arab League Peace Initiative and Mission to Israel Urging Leaders to Choose Peace and Progress Over Terror and Fear
July 11, 2007New York In response to the Arab Leagues announcement that it will send a delegation to Israel to discuss a peace initiative, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Yesterdays announcement of the planned arrival in Israel of an Arab League delegation is a welcome sign of progress. The thawing of the decades-long unwillingness of Arab nations throughout the region to engage with Israel is overdue. Only through dialogue will an eventual peace agreement that is in the best interest of all parties be reached.
The visit to Israel by the Jordanian and Egyptian Foreign Ministers on behalf of the Arab League is a demonstration of the importance of addressing difficult issues and choosing peace and progress over terror and fear.
This weeks meeting comes at a critical time for the Palestinian people and the entire region. In recent weeks, we have witnessed anew the violence that is nurtured in an atmosphere of long-standing and unresolved tensions, historic failures of leadership, and a sense of despair among the Palestinian people.
We are, as we must be, mindful that this visit is only the beginning of conversations, and it is important to have appropriately modest expectations. Nonetheless, it is an important step, one which we hope and pray will turn out to be a turning point.
We hope that all parties will maximize this opportunity and that together Prime Minister Olmert, President Abbas, and the representatives of the Arab League will be able to begin to create a viable peace plan that provides peace and security for Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbors.
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.