March 25, 2021, New York, NY – Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Jennifer Kaufman, chair of the URJ’s North American Board of Trustees, released the following statement today on the results of Israel’s election:
“This week, as Israel held its fourth election in two years, we celebrate Israelis’ commitment to robust political engagement, despite election fatigue and the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. We are, of course, worried that the results indicate further political stalemate, which could lead to yet another election.
“We are particularly proud of the electoral success of our colleague, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the longtime leader of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism. As one of the nation’s premier legal minds and social justice advocates, and as the first Reform rabbi elected to the Knesset, Rabbi Kariv will bring his powerful voice and moral leadership to bear at the highest levels. His election reflects the strength of our Reform Movement in Israel, which continues to grow in numbers and impact.
“At the same time, we are deeply concerned by the electoral success of candidates and parties that traffic in hate and intolerance. The notion that among new Members of Knesset will be those who celebrated the massacre of Palestinian Muslims at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs and who champion homophobia and incitement against Reform Jews is a moral stain on the nation and contrary to Israel’s founding values. Newly elected extremist MKs Itamar Ben Gvir and Avi Moaz of the Religious Zionist Party must not under any circumstances be rewarded for their reprehensible views with seats in the Cabinet. To do so would be an assault on Israel’s international standing and principled leadership and a threat to the sacred institutions of Israeli democracy.
“We look forward to working with new Knesset members from all parties on strengthening Israeli democracy, promoting equality and freedom of religion, and advancing a two state-solution for the peace and safety of all Israeli citizens. As we prepare to observe Passover, the festival of freedom, we will retell our people’s continuing journey toward a better tomorrow. As we do so, we will continue to pray for God to bestow light and truth upon the government’s leaders, ministers, and advisors.”
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 850 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.
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