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Reform Movement Responds to Israeli Government’s Vote to Weaken Israel’s Supreme Court

July 24, 2023 - Today is a sad day for Israel’s democracy. The passage of the amendment removing the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to overrule decisions and appointments of Israel’s Government using the legal standard of “reasonableness” will reduce the checks and balances placed on the government. This is the first significant step of the ruling coalition to move forward with their judicial overhaul and pass their radical legislative agenda.

The Reform Movement in North America vehemently condemns the strongarm tactics of the current coalition as they push through this divisive legislation which imperils Israel’s already-fragile democracy. This could have been a moment for Netanyahu to unite the nation and secure Israel’s standing in the world as a strong and leading democracy. Instead, the concerns of the majority of Israelis and Jews across the world, including the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have taken to the streets in recent days and the thousands who marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, have been ignored.

The upcoming holiday of Tishah B’Av, when the Jewish people mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, is widely recognized in our tradition as punishment for our ancestors’ internal intolerance and hatred. Seventy-five years after its creation, the modern Jewish state of Israel is being threatened by extremists, which we know from history can only bring calamity upon our people.

As the largest Movement in Jewish life outside of Israel, we remain committed to the State of Israel, its people, and the values outlined in its Declaration of Independence. We are deeply committed to strengthening the institutions of Israeli civil society, specifically the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which is leading the fight to keep Israel a Jewish and democratic state. As MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv stated, “We lost this battle, but we will win in the end.” We call on the members and institutions of our Movement to lean in and support our partners in Israel, strengthening their resolve to preserve Israel’s democracy.

Union for Reform Judaism Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her) Chair

Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him) President

Central Conference of American Rabbis Rabbi Erica Asch (she/her) President

Rabbi Hara E. Person (she/her) Chief Executive

American Conference of Cantors Cantor Seth Warner (he/him) President

Rachel Roth (she/her) Chief Operating Officer

Women of Reform Judaism Sara Charney (she/her) President

Rabbi Liz P. G. Hirsch (she/her) Executive Director

Men of Reform Judaism Rob Himmelstein (he/him) President

Steven Portnoy (he/him) Executive Director

Association of Reform Zionists of America Daryl Messinger (she/her) Chair

Rabbi Josh Weinberg (he/him) Director

Reform Jewish Community of Canada Len Bates (he/him) President

Reform Rabbis of Canada Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg (he/him) Chair

ARZA Canada Lee Weisser (she/her) President

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