NEW YORK — Today, T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization that represents over 2,000 rabbis and cantors and their communities in North America, released the following statement in reaction to today’s vote to install a new government in Israel.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, released the following statement:
“We are grateful that Israel’s longtime political paralysis has come to an end with today’s vote on a new coalition government. While the presence of right-wing voices in the coalition will make it impossible for this new Israeli government to make peace with the Palestinians, end the occupation of the Palestinian territories, or bring about major social change within Israel, it is a necessary step forward for Israel.
“For too long, Israeli politics have been held hostage by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who with his relentless, violent incitement in recent weeks — including in his final speech as prime minister, when he promised to topple the new “dangerous, leftist government” — continues to show his primary concern is his own well-being and hold on power regardless of the consequences for Israeli democracy. His extremism has weakened human rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and hampered progress toward a just and sustainable two-state solution.
“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is still a pro-settlement, pro-occupation leader from Israel’s political right, but this government will also include a broad spectrum of parties including Labor and Meretz, both of which are in a position to have a positive impact on internal and external affairs. We are pleased that the new government excludes Otzma Yehudit, an extremist party that helped incite violence against Palestinian citizens and residents in recent months, and that is rooted in the teachings of terrorist Meir Kahane, whose own party was banned from the Knesset more than three decades ago.
“We also applaud the major step forward represented by this coalition’s inclusion of an Arab Israeli party, a first in Israeli history. While we oppose Ra’am’s views on the rights of women and LGBTQ individuals, nonetheless the inclusion of an Arab party in an Israeli governing coalition is a landmark moment in the quest to build a shared society in Israel.
“T’ruah rabbis and cantors will continue to be a moral voice committed to defending human rights both inside of Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories, to ending the occupation, and to ensuring the right to self-determination for both Jews and Palestinians. We will continue to press this new government and work with our Israeli partners to take actions that create a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights mobilizes a network of more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.