For the past several weeks, the aggressive legislative agenda of the Israeli government’s ruling coalition has inspired the most powerful protest movement in Israel’s history. Though we were relieved to learn that PM Netanyahu finally responded last week by issuing a temporary pause to the legislation, this pause came at an exorbitant price: in the formation of a civilian militia, outside the scope of the Israeli police and under the stewardship of far-right extremist leader Itamar Ben-Gvir.
This action threatens Israel’s democracy and civil security, especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when experienced, responsible policing is essential to prevent violent clashes.
As Israelis, in unprecedented numbers, continue to protest in the streets we as a North American Movement will stand by our siblings as they push for a path forward for Israel to remain a Jewish and democratic state.
Here are some ways you and your community can support Israeli democracy and the Israeli Reform Movement during this critical moment:
We are committed to supporting a Jewish and democratic Israel. If you would like to support us in this critical and urgent work, please donate now.
2. Write to Israeli government leadership
Send an email to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Justice Yariv Levin, and your local Israeli embassy/consulate to let them know that you oppose the proposed judicial reforms.
3. Activate your Jewish organization network
Are you a member of other local, regional, or national Jewish organizations? Utilize your connections and relationships to encourage other Jewish organizations to speak out against the proposed judicial reforms.
4. Learn about the importance of becoming an ARZA congregation
If you are a member of a Reform Congregation, please reach out to your synagogue’s leadership about your congregation’s formal membership in ARZA. ARZA Membership acts as your voice in Israel’s national institutions, helps our Movement in Israel expand its reach, and creates a strong Reform and liberal Zionist movement in North America. If your congregation is an ARZA congregation, thank you!
5. Stand in solidarity with Israelis
Come together and join with others at protests being held throughout North America and around the world. Find an UnXeptable protest near you.
We are proud to share the video below from our URJ North American Board meeting, held earlier this month, where we had the distinct pleasure of hearing from Orly Erez Likhovsky, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv. Their message to us was simple and powerful: now is the time for people who love Israel to speak up.
Other ways to get involved:
Join the Herzl Society
The Herzl Society is a community of Reform Jews who care deeply about Jewish life in Israel and connecting to Reform communities in Israel. To help build the next generation of Reform Zionists and to support Jewish values and ideals in Israel, society members make an annual commitment of $10,000 or more in addition to their planned annual gift to the URJ.
Stay up to date
- ARZA Newsletter: Subscribe for a weekly dose of Torah, Israel, Zionism, and Peoplehood.
The ARZA Weekly newsletter and blog offer sources and helpful language in speaking about the current crisis and Israel in general. The newsletter also offers a brief weekly roundup of key articles, podcasts, and books which help understand and think about key issues facing Israel through the eyes of the Reform Movement.
Engage with Israel in a more nuanced and complex way.
As we prepare to celebrate Israel @ 75, it is important to celebrate Israel and engage in programming that addresses the great challenges of today.
This could include:
- Sharing our Just Zionism Initiative with young leaders.
- Using our URJ 4HQ Curriculum. It is a new 10-part Israel educational curriculum that is available to congregations that addresses all of Israel’s complexities in a safe and thorough way, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and religious pluralism in Israel.
- Joining our Israel Leadership Network: We need leaders in each congregation to be our partners in leading upcoming campaigns. We will work on issues around conversion, the law of return, fighting to preserve Israel’s democracy and building our strength for the next World Zionist Congress. For this election we will need a much broader campaign than we have in the past.
- Please help by appointing lay leaders (or a team) to join our network of congregational leaders in the Israel Leadership Network (ILN). Sign up using this link.
- Establishing a partnership between your congregation with an Israeli Reform congregation. This is an important way to develop a connection with Israel through building relationships directly with Israelis!
- Resource Collection for Israel at 75 – Shabbat Tekumah, Standing with Israel, the IMPJ and IRAC
- Print Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Megillat HaAtzmaut