Jewish leaders appeal for unity after discord over judicial reform law

In urgent plea to Netanyahu and Lapid, heads of some of the world's largest Jewish organizations send letter of concern about the pressing need for reconciliation and unity within the Israeli populace; other Jewish groups criticize the new law
The heads of some of the world's largest Jewish organizations have jointly addressed a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, expressing their concern over the increasing polarization and discord within Israeli society. The letter, signed by representatives from the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Hayesod, the World Zionist Organization, and the Jewish Federations of North America, coincides with the approaching Tisha B'Av, a solemn day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
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The content of the letter centers on the pressing need for reconciliation and unity within the Israeli populace, particularly in light of the ongoing debates surrounding the proposal and passage of the first legislation of the government's judicial overhaul push that has caused significant unrest and division in the country. While the letter does not take a stance on the specific legislative proposal, it emphasizes the importance of finding common ground to bridge the existing gaps in society.
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שוטרים ושוטרות מפגנים מפגינים ומפגינות מדרך בגין ירושלים
שוטרים ושוטרות מפגנים מפגינים ומפגינות מדרך בגין ירושלים
Police work to push back proteters blocking Begin Highway in Jerusalem
(Photo: Yariv Katz)
“We urge you to make use of all the tools available to you in order to find the broadest common denominator," they wrote. "We must make every effort for unity and Shalom Bayit – peace in our home".
The leaders' plea for unity is significant since it aligns with US President Joe Biden's public call for the Israeli government to seek broader support and consensus before advancing with any legislative changes. Echoing this sentiment, the international Jewish leaders urge both Netanyahu and Lapid to explore all possible avenues to foster a more inclusive and unifying approach.
Tisha B'Av's historical significance adds weight to the leaders' appeal, as the destruction of the Second Temple is linked to historical instances of "baseless hatred" within the Jewish community.
The representatives of the organizations signing the latter urge the Israeli leadership to reflect on this solemn occasion and work towards healing the present divisions within society.
Other Jewish organizations were quick to convey their dismay and unease regarding the passage of the new law limiting the oversight power of the Supreme Court over the executive and legislative branches.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Israeli government passed the controversial Reasonableness Bill, failing to heed the call of President Herzog and others to reach a compromise rooted in a broad societal consensus," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) also expressed its apprehensions, saying in a statement that its members feel “profound disappointment over the passage of the Reasonableness Standard Law in Israel. We are gravely concerned about the long-term impact of continued unilateral efforts, and we urge the governing coalition to refrain from taking any additional steps unless compromise is reached”
The New Israel Fund characterized the move as a "dark day in the history of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Today, despite 29 weeks of mass protest, strikes, marches and acts of civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Israelis – and despite the warnings of Israel’s best friends in the world including the United States – Netanyahu’s settler-led government passed a key piece of legislation to weaken the judiciary, the only real check on the government’s power. It is difficult to overstate just how significant this moment is."
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