In response to some messages received regarding the Israel at 75 General Assembly, Jewish Federations of North America have issued the following reply:
Thank you for reaching out to us regarding the Israel at 75 General Assembly. Because we have received a number of similar letters and emails, we hope you understand the necessity of sending a single response to all who have corresponded with us.
We are excited to be a part of the thousands of North American Jews who will join friends and family to celebrate Israel’s 75th Independence Day.
On Sunday night in Tel Aviv, we will kick off this momentous gathering with an event celebrating nearly 100 years of global Jewish investment in establishing and supporting the development of the State of Israel through building infrastructure, protecting the country’s most vulnerable citizens, supporting aliyah and absorption of immigrants, and advocating for an inclusive, pluralistic society.The event is jointly sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Hayesod and the World Zionist Organization, and will include speeches by President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Opposition Leader Yair Lapid is scheduled to address the General Assembly the following day.
We know from your letters and emails that you care deeply and sincerely about the future of Israel. You have specifically questioned the participation of Prime Minister Netanyahu and other leaders of the governing coalition due to their role in the very contentious debate about Israel’s judicial system. Some have even called for the Jewish Federations of North America to withdraw their invitation. We respectfully disagree.
First and foremost, the opportunity to hear from Israel’s duly elected president and prime minister is a symbol of Israel's achievement as a modern democratic state. We look forward to welcoming these officials on this historic occasion.
Regarding the debate about the judiciary, we have shared our concerns with all the parties in Israel, including in an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader. We called on the parties to negotiate and to compromise under the auspices of President Herzog. As we arrive in Israel for the General Assembly, we note that the Prime Minister’s negotiating team has been meeting in good faith with the opposition under President Herzog’s guidance for several weeks. All the members of the governing coalition have supported the Prime Minister’s decision to participate in these talks. While we cannot foresee the outcome of the negotiations, we commend all the political leaders who are participating directly and through their representatives. This would therefore be an especially opportune time to listen to these political leaders and engage in conversation with them, not to cancel such meetings.
Throughout this tumultuous period, we have engaged in close dialogue with both those opposed to the judicial legislation and those supporting it, and welcome all continued conversations. We have also been awed by the powerful statement Israel’s citizens have made exercising their democratic right to protest. Given the immense importance of this debate and its implications for Jews all around the world, we understand that some will choose to exercise that right at the General Assembly. We will do everything we can to ensure that our attendees and security professionals respect these protesters, and expect that any protestors will respect our participants by demonstrating in a way that does not disrupt their ability to attend the event, participate, or listen to the speakers.
The Jewish Federations of North America have approached the debate regarding the judiciary with the goal of helping to strengthen and preserve our beloved State of Israel and the connection between Israel and the Jewish communities we represent. Seeking the wisdom to guide our actions, we are reminded of the mishnah “Who is wise? One who learns from everyone.”
With the greatest ahavat yisrael, love of the Jewish people, we remain committed to our mission of supporting Israel and aiding its development as a thriving democratic Jewish state.
Julie Platt, Chair
Eric Fingerhut, President & CEO
The Jewish Federations of North America