The Jewishness of the Jewish State

59th General Assembly
November 1987
Chicago, Illinois

The State of Israel is founded upon the principles of prophetic justice. As Reform Jews we are committed to the moral imperatives of Zionism and to the prophetic vision that Zion will be redeemed with justice.

We are aware that Israel lives in a world of force, surrounded by enemies that seek to destroy her. Secure borders and military strength are matters on which her very survival depends.

Nonetheless, we know also that Israeli strength and survival depend on the democratic nature of the Jewish State and on the moral character of Jewish life there. We are therefore deeply troubled by recent developments in Israel which, if unchecked, could ultimately undermine the democratic and Jewish values that we all cherish.

We are particularly concerned about the increasing fanaticism of Israel's Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox political parties. They have attempted through legislative initiatives and through disregard and contempt for the Israeli judicial system to impose their will on all of Israel's citizens and to deprive Progressive Jews of the few rights which they currently enjoy. We are equally concerned about the willingness of some leading secular politicians to accommodate this trend for political gain.

THEREFORE , BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of American Hebrew Congregations:

  1. Applaud the establishment of the Israel Religious Action Center in Jerusalem and call upon all areas of our movement to support ARZA in its efforts to develop and expand the Center. A project of ARZA, the Center will be operated by the Israeli Progressive Movement as a vehicle to pursue social justice and peace, as well as a focus for legislative and judicial efforts to achieve religious freedom, pluralism, and civil liberties in Israel. The World Union for Progressive Judaism, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and ARZENU are also cooperating in this project.
  2. Call upon the Prime Minister of Israel to instruct his Interior Ministry to register immediately as citizens all Reform and Conservative converts who have immigrated to Israel, as required by the Law of Return and by recent decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court.
  3. Call upon the government of Israel to recognize the legitimacy of Jewish life cycle events performed by religious leaders of the Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Ethiopian communities.
  4. Strongly protest continuing efforts to amend the Law of Return, including the commitments given earlier this year by Likud to the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.