How to Help Support Israel's Democracy

April 1, 2023Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman, Rabbi Josh Weinberg, and Daryl Messinger

For the past several weeks, the aggressive legislative agenda of the Israeli government's ruling coalition has inspired the most powerful protest movement in Israel's history. Though we were relieved to learn that PM Netanyahu finally responded last week by issuing a temporary pause to the legislation, this pause came at an exorbitant price: in the formation of a civilian militia, outside the scope of the Israeli police and under the stewardship of far-right extremist leader Itamar Ben-Gvir.

This action threatens Israel's democracy and civil security, especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when experienced, responsible policing is essential to prevent violent clashes. 
As Israelis, in unprecedented numbers, continue to protest in the streets we as a North American Movement will stand by our siblings as they push for a path forward for Israel to remain a Jewish and democratic state.   
Here are some ways you and your community can support Israeli democracy and the Israeli Reform Movement during this critical moment:

1. Donate

We are committed to supporting a Jewish and democratic Israel. If you would like to support us in this critical and urgent work, please donate now.

2. Write to Israeli government leadership

Send an email to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Justice Yariv Levin, and your local Israeli embassy/consulate to let them know that you oppose the proposed judicial reforms.  

3. Activate your Jewish organization network

Are you a member of other local, regional, or national Jewish organizations? Utilize your connections and relationships to encourage other Jewish organizations to speak out against the proposed judicial reforms.

4. Learn about the importance of becoming an ARZA congregation

If you are a member of a Reform Congregation, please reach out to your synagogue’s leadership about your congregation’s formal membership in ARZA. ARZA Membership acts as your voice in Israel’s national institutions, helps our Movement in Israel expand its reach, and creates a strong Reform and liberal Zionist movement in North America. If your congregation is an ARZA congregation, thank you!

5. Stand in solidarity with Israelis

Come together and join with others at protests being held throughout North America and around the world. Find an UnXeptable protest near you.

We are proud to share the video below from our URJ North American Board meeting, held earlier this month, where we had the distinct pleasure of hearing from Orly Erez Likhovsky, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv. Their message to us was simple and powerful: now is the time for people who love Israel to speak up.   

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A Message of Support

While we recognize that the deep conflict between Israelis and Palestinians will not be resolved over the summer, we believe that come the fall, college campuses must once again be safe for all students - and this includes Jewish students living their Jewish commitments openly and proudly.