FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
We, members of Ruach Hiddush, representing the full spectrum of Jewish denominational life, join with lovers of Zion and supporters of Israel in expressing grave concern and dismay regarding the alignment of the Jewish Home and National Union parties with the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party in order to improve their chances of gaining parliamentary seats in the upcoming Israeli elections.
Generally, Ruach Hiddush is exclusively engaged in pursuing the vision of the State of Israel fully upholding the promise of religious freedom, diversity, and equality in shouldering the civic burden. We refrain from entering the partisan fray. But the Otzma Yehudit party denigrates the rule of law, the civil judiciary, the civil rights of non-Jews in general and Arabs in particular, and militates on behalf of religious coercion in the name of the Jewish religious tradition. Given the gravity of this situation and the attempt to hijack the Jewish religious imperative, we feel compelled to add our voice to those who have condemned this development.
For us, the significance of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state stems from our ancient and ever-renewing Jewish tradition. The thrust of this tradition is expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which speaks of the Jewish State as anchored in the “principles of liberty, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel, upholding full equality of social and political rights to all its citizens, regardless of religion, race, or gender.”
Clearly, the founding vision of our beloved Israel is the antithesis of racism, discrimination, and injustice towards any of its residents, whether Jewish or not, whether religious or not, whether male or female.
Therefore, we join together with other major mainstream Jewish organizations in decrying the abuse of the Jewish tradition in the service of racial discrimination, violence, and inequality.
The strength and future of Israel and the mission of the Jewish people will be served best by honoring the Image of God in each human being which equalizes us all, as Rabbi Akiba taught, “Beloved is humanity for it was created in God’s Image. Humanity is even more beloved because God gave it dignity by informing it that it was created in God’s Image, as it says, ‘For He made humanity in the Image of God’ (Genesis 9:6).” (Avot 2:14)
Statement approved by:
Rabbi Uri Regev, Founder and CEO of Hiddush, the Israeli patron of Ruach Hiddush
Rabbi Dr. Michael Chernick, Chair, Ruach Hiddush Executive Committee
Executive Committee of Ruach Hiddush
Rabbi Les Bronstein
Rabbi Pam Frydman
Rabbi Elliot Kleinman
Rabbi Mark Howard Levin
Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Rabbi Gordon Tucker