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New York, NY; December 11, 2015 –
The Union for Reform Judaism is committed to dialogue for equality and dialogue between Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens. This week, we invited MK Ayman Odeh to speak to Reform Jewish leaders. This was an opportunity for us to engage in the complexities of the issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the internal Jewish-Arab issues in Israel. A meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations would have provided another opportunity to further the conversation and come closer to a solution. I was pleased and proud that the Conference of Presidents decided to invite MK Odeh to the meeting.
I am profoundly disappointed by MK Ayman Odeh’s decision to walk away from that important opportunity for him, for the cause of equality in Israel, and for the Conference of Presidents.
I speak as someone who has gotten to know MK Odeh, and believes his leadership is significant in the path to peace in Israel. I also speak as a proud member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency and a member of the executive committee of the Conference of Presidents. I believe MK Odeh made a deeply troubling decision by refusing to attend the meeting because it was held in the offices of the Jewish Agency. His decision doesn’t support the important cause of dialogue to promote equality and coexistence in Israel. We hope MK Odeh finds the way to repair the damage and build bridges of dialogue in good faith.
The URJ is committed to a respectful dialogue even through major disagreements and will continue our efforts to promote the values of equality and coexistence in Israel.
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