Reform rabbis in the US on have expressed their deep disappointment and regret that the Israeli cabinet approved the proposed changes to Israel's Citizenship Law, including a requirement that non-Jewish immigrants to Israel pledge allegiance to the Jewish democratic nature of the state.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis warned in a statement released at the end of last week that the implementation of a loyalty oath for Arab and other non-Jewish citizens strengthens Israel's enemies and undermines the very Jewish democratic character of the state that its proponents say they are trying to preserve.
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"It would turn Israel into the very kind of country which historically Jews themselves have rightly cursed for their unequal treatment of non-Christians and non-Muslims," read the CCAR statement.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America and represents 2,000 Reform rabbis.
"Our deep conviction that Israel is and must remain both Jewish and democratic is precisely what compels us to oppose this oxymoronic law. For in requiring non-Jewish citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, this legislation greatly diminishes Israel's Jewish character and compromises its democratic commitment," continued the statement issued by CCAR.
"More than symbolic loyalty statements, Israel needs its non-Jewish
citizens as partners in peace, equally invested in the future of the
The statement authors also called on the Knesset to vote against the proposed amendment should it come to a floor vote.
"Already this legislation has sent a message to the 20 percent of
Israel's citizens who are not Jewish that they indeed are permanently
"other. If this legislation comes to the floor of the Knesset," the
statement concluded, "we implore all those who themselves would be loyal
to Israel's democratic and Jewish character to oppose and vote down
once and for all this un-Jewish and un-democratic legislation."
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