Joint Statement from Jewish Federation Leaders

We, leaders from Jewish communities across North America, have made this extraordinary trip to Israel to show our love for our Israeli brothers and sisters at this challenging time.  We were welcomed with love by members of the government, the opposition, the protest movement, and other key sectors of civil society and the business community.

Our communities share a deep concern for the divisions that the judicial reform debate is creating in Israel and among Jews worldwide, and we are worried that certain aspects of the proposed reforms could have a very negative impact on the relationship between our communities and Israel.  We urged all the leaders we spoke with to work with President Herzog to negotiate a solution that could have broad support across Israeli society.
While each of the parties has, to one extent or another, committed itself to seeking compromise, no process other than President Herzog’s efforts are underway at the intensity required to achieve success.  It is our view that the time for compromise is now.  Continuing to move the bills forward as currently formulated is causing harm that will not be easily repaired.   

We did not advocate for a specific plan, but we did note that the essence of democracy is both majority rule and protection of minority rights. This balance is preserved through establishing checks and balances between legislative authority and an independent judiciary.  We urged that a clearly articulated system of checks and balances be in the final plan.  

We appreciate the efforts of President Isaac Herzog to carefully develop compromise proposals with leading experts of widely differing views.  His work should form the basis of a final agreement.  We urge all sides to immediately engage with him on this basis.   

We came to Israel to share the urgency with which this matter is being felt in our communities.  We, together with all our colleagues across the Jewish Federations of North America, will remain engaged as we return home.  We pray for the peace and flourishing of the State of Israel, and look forward to returning to celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday with our Israel@75 General Assembly.