Rabbinic group advocating for Israel

New grassroots movement of rabbis is letting its voice be heard.

By JONAH MANDEL
August 3, 2010 04:35
2 minute read.
chabad rabbis 298 88

chabad rabbis 298 88. (photo credit: Chabad)

A new grassroots movement of rabbis from all denominations in Israel and the Diaspora is voicing its concern over “the drift in much of world opinion that has made it legitimate to single out Israel for blame and censure in respect to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.”

Seeking to promote the understanding “that the roots of the conflict and its broader dimensions are much more complex than is generally presented,” Rabbis for Israel has within weeks obtained the signatures of over 200 rabbis, primarily from the US.

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Behind the initiative is Rabbi Michael Boyden, the Englishborn head of Kehilat Yonatan Reform Congregation in Hod Hasharon and director of the National Rabbinic Court of the Israel Council of Progressive Rabbis, who felt that the reality of what Israel has been dealing with in its conflict with the Palestinians is at times going amiss.

“The trigger to establish the group was the coverage of the Turkish flotilla incident by most of the international media. It was also clear that many within Jewish communities didn’t understand what Israel is dealing with, and the complexity of issues at hand here,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

The group’s mission statement, signed by Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and even Chabad rabbis, stresses “that Israel has a legitimate right to exist as a sovereign, democratic, Jewish state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. We support a peaceful and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will recognize two independent states, a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace, security and prosperity.”

“We call upon the Arab and Muslim world to accept unequivocally and publicly Israel’s permanent right to exist in peace,” the statement continues. Rabbis for Israel also believes that “any resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require Israel to cede sovereignty over most of the West Bank and will need to address the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians concerning Jerusalem, a city that is holy to three religions.”

The rabbis also appealed to Christian and Muslim religious leaders “to establish frameworks within their own communities to oppose messages of hatred and violence against Israel, to work toward developing a spirit of mutual understanding, tolerance and peace with Jews, and to encourage the strengthening of peaceful relationships and partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians.”

To Boyden, it is clear that rabbis have a vantage point in promoting the truth of the situation.

“As leaders of Jewish communities around the world, rabbis are in direct contact with many Jews. The upcoming High Holidays are an opportunity to pass on the message and talk about the reality of conflict with their communities,” he said.


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