By Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht
The Rabbinical Alliance of America, a national rabbinic organization established over 75 years ago, congratulates the Israeli electorate on decisively choosing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and right of center parties, including the United Torah Judaism and Sephardic Shas parties. This free and democratic election bodes well for Israel as it continues to face immense security challenges every day of the year.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that holds fair and democratic elections. A beacon of liberty in a sea of dictatorships, Israel also allows both media and individuals the right to free expression and exchange of opinions and criticism without fear of incarceration or discrimination.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America expresses shock and pain by today’s letter from the leaders of Reform and Conservative Judaism to President Trump and the Administration in which these liberal Jewish leaders denounce the desire of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli people to claim the land rightfully theirs. In this letter, they ask the democratically elected leader of the United States to thwart and resist the results of the democratic election just held in Israel.
We recognize the right of all to speak their mind, yet we are very hurt to see how this irresponsible and misguided letter, issued only days after Israel’s election, advances personal whims and agendas by agitating and endangering the current excellent relationship between the Israeli and American governments. Adding to the chutzpah is the unprecedented antagonistic behavior over the past two years of liberal Jewish leaders toward President Trump and the Administration, from whom they now request undemocratic actions against the Israeli electorate. American Jewry, which treasures the American tradition of democracy and freedom, deserves better representation than this disgraceful conduct.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America emphatically opposes this letter. We state categorically that this letter neither reflects our opinion nor does it represent the majority opinion of American Jewry who believe that the path to peace is for Israel’s citizens to decide.
The Jewish people in Israel have both the right and the duty to seek their own destiny for obtaining security and peace with their neighbors without political interference from American Jews attempting to thwart the free will and democratic choices of Israel’s citizens.
With consternation and deep anguish, we call on our brethren to act more cautiously and responsibly, as Israel’s security is of paramount importance that must transcend all political or personal considerations.
Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht,