Reform rabbis reject US youngsters' attacking IDF

High school, college students ask Reform Rabbi Yoffie to "condemn IDF."

August 25, 2006 00:55
2 minute read.
Reform rabbis reject US youngsters' attacking IDF

eric yoffie 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])


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 analysis 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


Reform rabbinical leaders are distancing themselves from a letter by members of the movement's youth leaders slamming the IDF's actions in Lebanon. Forty-eight American high school and college students wrote to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, asking his organization to "condemn the Israeli Defense Forces' killing of unarmed Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, as well as its premeditated targeting of civilian infrastructure, which has put additional lives at risk and hampered relief efforts." The letter supports the union's positions against Hizbullah and Hamas rocket attacks and its stance in favor of "the principle of peace negotiations." Yoffie responded by welcoming their "passion and commitment to the State of Israel," but said he is "confident that the government of Israel has taken all reasonable precautions to avoid civilian casualties" and that "justice clearly resides with Israel." Tel Aviv-based Rabbi Gilad Kariv, associate director of the Israeli Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement, went further, saying that "the letter does not represent the position and the attitude of the Israeli movement for progressive Judaism" and calling it "unbalanced." But he praised the students for "moral sensitivity." "It's good that as young Jews they feel the need to express their moral views and their view on Israel," he explained, since many American Jews see events in the Middle East as not connected to their own lives. But the students have the support of at least one Reform rabbi, Arnold Jacob Wolf of Chicago, who is listed as a supporter in the students' letter. He described the youth participants as "more critical than their parents about Israel's move into Lebanon," and said he considered the war as "no doubt [having] helped Hizbullah." "The way I read in Haaretz, it was a mistake, a cruel mistake, and maybe worse, [that it perhaps] was purposely violent against civilians. There was apparently a theory that that would make them hate Hizbullah more than us," he said. Kariv assessed that those drafting the letter have an "understanding of the Israeli reality that naturally relies on what they see on the television screens in North America, and unfortunately we know the media does not reflect successfully the complicated situation in Israel." The official branch of the Reform student fellowship also objected to the letter. A group of them wrote a response in which they described themselves as "distraught" by their peers' position. "We are concerned about the equivalence made between the tactics of the Hizbullah and the Israeli Defense Forces," the students wrote. "Israel has shown that she cares about civilian life ... Hizbullah shows complete disregard for civilians, even their own, using non-combatants as shields while directly and indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery


Cookie Settings