Today in Israel, representatives from Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) — the parent organization of the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey — met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express the deep disappointment of Jewish communities across North America with the two actions taken by the Government of Israel this weekend: suspending the Kotel resolution and introducing new conversion legislation.
The following update from Jerry Silverman, JFNA President and CEO, confirms Jewish Federations, together with our partners — The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren HaYesod, and the World Zionist Organization — have denounced these harmful actions. They threaten decades of work by our Federations to build and nurture the Jewish State, to settle millions of immigrants and refugees, and to inspire generations of youth to connect with Israel and the Jewish People.
The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey is conducting outreach to make community members and leaders aware of these unfolding issues. In addition, our Federation and others across North America are contacting Israel’s consul general to express our deep disappointment in these two government actions.
Jerry Silverman’s update provides additional detail and resources for learning more.
This afternoon we met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express our communities’ deep disappointment with two actions taken by the Government of Israel that threaten to undermine the special relationship between the State of Israel and world Jewry:
The Government’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a proposed law that threatens the status quo on conversion to Judaism and dramatically expands the authority of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.
The Government suspended its January 2016 historic decision to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel (Western Wall).
The Jewish Federations stand in full partnership with Keren HaYesod and the World Zionist Organization in support of the unanimous resolution approved by the Jewish Agency for Israel this morning. We strongly believe yesterday’s actions by the Government of Israel, suspending the Kotel resolution and introducing new conversion legislation, represent a severe threat to Jewish unity.
Jewish Federations have played a central role in combating previous efforts to pass harmful conversion legislation that would disenfranchise significant groups in Jewish communities around the world and in Israel. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky to negotiate a compromise on the Kotel, Jewish Federations were crucial partners in keeping all parties at the table through long years of negotiation.
Jewish Federations, together with our partners — The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren HaYesod, and the World Zionist Organization — have denounced these harmful actions. They threaten decades of work by our Federations to build and nurture the Jewish State, to settle millions of immigrants and refugees, and to inspire generations of youth to connect with Israel and the Jewish People.
At a time when the State of Israel looks to our communities as strategic partners in combating the delegitimization of the Jewish State, these Israeli Government actions complicate this task.
Below are additional informational resources:
The resolution on the Kotel approved unanimously this morning by The Jewish Agency Board of Governors
JFNA background on the Government of Israel decision regarding the Kotel
We will continue to keep you updated. We urge you to take the following immediate steps:
1) Start educating your community, and particularly key stakeholders in your synagogue community, about these unfolding issues.
2) Contact your Israeli consul general to express your deep disappointment in these two government actions.
President and CEO
The Jewish Federations of North America
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