Over the last few months, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to make their voices heard about the proposed governmental reforms to the judiciary, the creation of a civilian national guard, and much more.
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After 75 years of having a Jewish State, we find ourselves amidst an unprecedented and deeply divisive crisis. On the surface, this crisis is about Israel's future as a democratic Jewish state, dealing with issues such as separation of powers among the branches of government, how judges are appointed, the roles of religion and state, and the lack of an Israeli constitution.
Here are some ways you and your community can support Israeli democracy and the Israeli Reform Movement during this critical moment.
Last week, we traveled together to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a remarkable group of Black civil rights leaders and Reform Jewish leaders, including those who sit at the intersection of being Black and Jewish. We imagined that there would likely be bumps along the way, and there were. However, our group knew one another from our ongoing social justice and racial equity work in the United States, so there was a reservoir of goodwill and commonality that served us well.
In meetings with the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, and Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid, we discussed the crisis in Ukraine, the future of the Kotel, ensuring more funding and rights for non-Orthodox Jews, combatting racism, and stopping extremist violence against Palestinians, in addition to other pressing issues.
We joined Women of the Wall (WoW) for what were supposed to be services celebrated at the Kotel, the Western Wall. Unfortunately, rather than an experience in entry to sacred space, our students experienced what it means to be denied entry to sacred space.
The URJ is the largest Zionist organization in North America and after two years of COVID-19, a new government, and a growing Israeli Reform Movement, Israel needs us now more than ever. Israel needs our voices, our involvement, and our support. Infusing your congregation with an Israel commitment through an ARZA membership is a meaningful way to directly support the Jewish State.
Temple Rodef Shalom of Fall Church, Virginia's largest Reform congregation, is hosting The Israeli-Palestinian Dilemma: Moving Beyond Who's Right and Who's Wrong in collaboration with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Association of Reform Zionists of America.
On Sunday, Israel’s Knesset narrowly voted in Israel’s 36th government with Naftali Bennett as the nation’s 13th prime minister, unseating the incumbant Benjamin Netanyahu.
After four rounds of elections and over three years of uncertainty, we are close to the establishment of an Israeli government. The potential unity government is made up of many disparate parties from across the ideological spectrum.