Is this the first large Jewish umbrella organization that will ban Ministers from the Religious Zionist Party (RZP) block as well as the ultra-Orthodox parties?
Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (COP) will be holding their annual conference in Israel from February 19th till February 23rd in Jerusalem and according to a press release that they published, speakers will include President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli and US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides.
All of the mentioned Ministers are members of the Likud party, headed by Netanyahu. The Jerusalem Post learned that none of the other five coalition parties have been invited to speak with the heads of more than 50 Jewish American organizations.
Leaders of many American Jewish organizations have confidentially said in the past few months that they won’t meet with members of the RZP, Otzma Yehudit and Noam parties, because of statements made by their members, mainly the chairmen of these parties. The tension involves issues such as religion and state, criticism of the Reform and Conservative movements, attitudes towards LGBTQ and Arab minorities.
According to the press release, the COP “includes members of over 50 organizations from a broad political and social spectrum of the American Jewish community. Its annual gathering in Israel is the organization’s main event, and is attended by senior officials from all the organizations.”
A publicist on behalf of COP told the Post that the schedule will only be published close to the event itself. Representatives of the ministers such as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (RZP), Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer (RZP), National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) and Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu - have all said they haven’t been invited to speak to the group or meet with them. Other ministers from the Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) parties also haven’t been invited to speak or to meet with the heads of American Jewish organizations.
In 2014, then-Finance Minister Yair Lapid met with the COP. In 2018, then-Interior Minister Gilad Erdan also delivered a speech to the COP when they visited Jerusalem.
In an official and short response to the Post, COP informed that the “conference organizers said that the schedule was not yet final.”