Featured Ads

Letter to the Editor

Diaspora needs to continue to support Israel

Last week the Israeli government went back on its word about a new egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.

It also approved a bill that would require the State of Israel to recognize only conversions to Judaism implemented under the supervision of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and then later the same week agreed to not move forward with that legislation for six months. Because of these decisions, there have been a lot of heated rhetoric coming from influential Jews in the United States.

Ike Fisher, the incoming campaign chair of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and a board member of AIPAC and the Friends of Tel Aviv University, decided to withdrawal his support of Israel. He is using the suspension of his monetary contributions as a lever to change Israeli policies as reported in the Jerusalem Post. That includes support for:

• AIPAC, an organization that works to have our government support Israel 

• Israel Bonds, which invests in Israel for important Israel projects 

• Tel Aviv University, which provides higher education to students who are enabled to serve Israel

I believe Fisher has made the leaders of Iran, other enemies of Israel and the BDS movement very happy with his decisions to pressure Israel’s government to change its positions on access to the Western Wall and the ultra-Orthodox control of the personal lives of Israeli citizens by withholding his support. 

It’s also been reported by the American press that Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism and a leader of so many of us Jews, stated that this controversy between the ultra-Orthodox and the non-Orthodox may affect support for Israel. I hope he was misquoted and not issuing a promise or a warning.

I want all Jews of both genders to have access to the Western Wall. I don’t want the Orthodox rabbinate to have total and exclusive control over the personal lives of my Israeli brethren.

But I disagree with these methods. I believe the problems facing Israel internally and externally require us to increase support for Israel and not face the possibility of diminishing support. I ask that you reconsider the tone of your rhetoric and your monetary support of Israel and announce that no quarrel will cause lesser support for our Jewish State as you and your partners endeavor to reach the goal of inclusion.