from R. Allan Friday, February 10th
Please check out the following link titled “An open letter to Israel’s friends in North America” that was published in the Times of Israel. I endorse the writer’s sentiments and will offer additional reasons for us to speak out.
The last seats (and thus the ones holding the power) in the current Israeli government coalition are held by ultra-religious and ultra-nationalist parties who state clearly their intention to roll back laws that support religious pluralism (acceptance and respect for different Jewish denominations, different ways of being Jewish) in Israel. This includes attacks on laws regarding religious equality between Jewish men and women, imposition of religious law on secular life in Israel, and undermining protections and support of LGBTQT2+ people in what has been a safe and supportive country. Oh, and one more thing: they have demanded and received too many cabinet positions involving the West Bank, with policies and inclinations that have nothing to do with finding a new peace.
The Israeli Supreme Court regularly overturns religiously-motivated laws that have gone too far in the past, and the destruction of judicial oversight will allow a simple majority in the Knesset (pressured by a small non-representative caucus within) to override all these longstanding protections.
There is an unfortunate truth to the adage that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We can worry all we want. I’d prefer that we both worry and act. I am pleased to see that our Reform movement, represented by the Union for Reform Judaism, is taking a strong lead on this issue on our behalf, at https://urj.org/press-room/reform-jewish-leaders-respond-israels-proposed-judicial-reforms