Israel, Diaspora at brink of serious rift, US Jewish leader warns

"If we are one family you need to know that the actions of the [Israeli] government over the last couple of weeks feel like a betrayal."

By
July 11, 2017 16:00
2 minute read.
Jewish kippa

A member of the Jewish community wears a kippa. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A top US Conservative rabbi urged MKs Monday to understand the precarious situation of the Jewish people in light of recent clashes between the Diaspora and Israel over issues of religious pluralism.

Speaking at a meeting hosted by the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee about Israel’s image and its influence on the Diaspora, Rabbi Steven C. Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, stressed that while he has been to the Knesset many times before, this time was different.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The meeting came two weeks after two explosive decisions by the Israeli government, one to advance legislation that would give the Chief Rabbinate a total monopoly over Jewish conversion in Israel, and another to indefinitely freeze the agreement for an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall.

“Any of these alone would have been enough to anger the Diaspora community but both of them together... the only way we could possibly have understood what’s happening here in Israel is that we’re being sent a message of disrespect and delegitimization of Klal Yisrael [the Jewish people],” Wernick said.
Israel freezes plan for mixed-sex Jewish prayer site at Western Wall (credit: REUTERS)

“If we are one family you need to know that the actions of the government over the last couple of weeks feel like a betrayal, and that betrayal feels like abandonment,” he continued, stressing that 90% of world Jewry is either in Israel of the US, which have roughly equal Jewish population.

“The future of Klal Yisrael is absolutely dependent on the success of both communities and their ability to be successful together and to build bridges rather than wedges,” he said.

“One cannot thrive without the other.”



MK Ksenia Svetlova of the Zionist Union said Israel’s enemies “know very well how to use against us our discrimination against Reform Jews.” She gave an example of an American Reform youth she knows in the US, who has been told during a debate over BDS, “You’re not even Jewish – you’re not considered Jewish there [in Israel.]” “I propose we unite the forces, there is no alternative. The struggle should not continue in the communities themselves.

It’s not just the Western Wall or conversion, the problems are wide and together we have to come close to the Jewish vision,” she said.

Committee chairman Avraham Neguise (Likud) stressed that every Jew belongs to the Jewish people, but indicated that the disagreements among them should not be aired in public.

Related Content

Congress
August 16, 2018
Congressional candidate who called Israel ‘apartheid regime,’ wins primary

By RON KAMPEAS/JTA