As you prepare to talk and teach about Israel on the High Holidays, we know that many of you are looking for ways to support democracy in Israel and human rights for both Jews and Palestinians. We offer these resources as a starting point.

Our message to our communities is that this is the moment to engage, not disengage from Israel.


  • Updated and timely Israel talking points (below)
  • Texts and discussion questions about Democracy and Power, assembled by T’ruah (Download here)
  • High Holiday texts from leaders of Smol Emuni, Israel’s religious left (Download here)
  • Rabbi Ayelet Cohen’s 75th anniversary prayer for the state of Israel (Download here)
  • More T’ruah resources for responding to violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (Read here)

Talking Points

  • Protecting Israel’s independent judiciary is essential for maintaining the country’s democratic soul. We stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who continue to protest in the streets for democracy. We celebrate the organizations and individuals on the ground who are working tirelessly to protect the civil and human rights of all Jews and Palestinians.
  • The judicial overhaul is not an end in itself. Because Israel has no constitution, an independent judiciary has been the best (even if wildly imperfect) protection for the rights of marginalized groups. Now, Netanyahu’s government is increasingly infringing on the rights of women, LGBTQ+ people, secular Israelis, and Palestinians. Ultra-orthodox members of government are pushing for more power for all-male rabbinical councils and for rules separating men and women in public spaces. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has redirected millions of dollars from the Education and Interior Ministries to settlements, including settlements even the Israeli government considers illegal. Jewish settlers, bolstered by government officials, are perpetuating a campaign of terror against Palestinians in the West Bank, destroying homes, property, and livelihoods while the IDF looks the other way or even assists them.  
  • We should be seeking more than a return to the status quo before the current crisis. Israel’s military occupation of more than five decades is destructive for all Israelis and Palestinians. The violence of recent months is a byproduct of the cycle of deepening occupation, settlement expansion and pseudo-annexation. This certainly does not excuse terrorism, for which there is no excuse. But we will not have an end to violence until there is a lasting peace agreement based on the human rights of both peoples. We will not have true democracy until there is an end to occupation.
  • Although some of us may feel like throwing up our hands, walking away is not an option. Those of us who care about the future of Israelis and Palestinians must recognize that the people pushing Israel toward theocracy and fascism aren’t going anywhere. They are hoping we will give up — and we can’t let that happen.

  • American Jews must voice our opinions about Israel, including when injustices being perpetrated in and by the state. If this moment — when countless American Jewish communities and organizations have used their voices to express deep concern for Israel’s democratic future — has taught us anything, it is that we have a role to play in supporting those voices on the ground who are advocating for democracy and human rights and in shaping Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish homeland.

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