Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Stresses Commitment to Religious Pluralism in Letter to AJC

Sep 24, 2015, 12:11 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter to AJC leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his commitment to assuring the rights of all denominations of Judaism in Israel.

This summer, AJC Jerusalem Chair Matthew Bronfman and Director Avital Leibovich had written to the Israeli leader following comments made by Minister for Religious Affairs David Azoulai disparaging Reform Jews. At the time, AJC welcomed the Prime Minister's denunciation of Azoulai's words.

"I share your feelings regarding the hateful remarks made by the Minister for Religious Affairs. I have reminded him in no uncertain terms that, as a minister, he must represent all of Israel's citizens," Netanyahu wrote to AJC. 

"The government of Israel which I head remains committed to strengthening the unity of the Jewish people, and will unequivocally reject any attempt to divide us or to delegitimize any Jewish community – Reform, Conservative or Orthodox," Netanyahu continued.

"I will continue to work to ensure that all Jews can feel at home in Israel, and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss concrete steps we can take together to do so," the prime minister concluded.

AJC Executive Director David Harris applauded the prime minister's words. "The unity of the Jewish people, and mutual respect of Jews among diverse religious streams, must be of paramount importance to the state of Israel," said Harris. "We appreciate the prime minister's stance, and we will continue to work closely with Israel's leaders to strengthen religious pluralism."

An AJC leadership delegation met with the prime minister in Jerusalem earlier this month, and, among other vital issues of mutual concern, discussed strategies for deepening still further the ties between Israel and U.S. Jewry.

In that spirit, a group of Jewish leaders representing the Jewish Religious Equality Coalition (J-REC), a project initiated by AJC, will be traveling to Israel this fall to discuss issues of Jewish unity and pluralism with key officials and decision-makers. These leaders represent a broad spectrum of Jewish religious denominations.


SOURCE American Jewish Committee