Rabbi Rick Jacobs Responds to Birthright Israel Clarification on Interaction with Israeli Arabs

Inside Leadership

Rabbi Rick Jacobs Responds to Birthright Israel Clarification on Interaction with Israeli Arabs

Press Release

Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154

New York, NY; November 3, 2017 - Statement from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism:

As I said earlier this week, Birthright Israel has been, and continues to be, an extraordinary experience for countless young people. As a Movement we are proud to have contributed so much, with nearly four out of ten (37%) Birthright attendees self-identifying as Reform. We look forward to more young people engaging in this experience. It was in that context that we raised concerns about Birthright moving away from having participants engage with Israeli Arabs.

I was, therefore, glad to see a social media post by Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark confirming that Birthright is committed to continuing to engage in the critical work with the Arab citizenry of Israel in a productive and meaningful way. Birthright Education Committee Voluntary Lay Chair Gil Troy made a similar commitment in a letter to me. We look forward to seeking the best paths together to make all of this a reality.

Going forward, the URJ is looking for new and creative ways that work best to partner with Birthright Israel to ensure that Reform young people—and indeed, all young Jews from North America—have the benefit of a Birthright experience.

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