NEW YORK – During a meeting with minority groups in Israel today, Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized for his Election Day comments regarding Israeli Arab voters. The Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the association for Conservative/Masorti rabbis, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) commended the apology. Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the RA; Rabbi William Gershon, president of the RA; Rabbi Steven Wernick CEO of USCJ; and Margo Gold, international president of USCJ issued the following joint statement.
“The Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism welcome and applaud today’s apology by Prime Minister Netanyahu during a meeting with minority groups in Israel, calling out specifically his regret that ‘I know that the things I said a few days ago hurt some citizens in Israel, the Arab Israeli citizens’ and that ‘this was not my intention and I am sorry.’
“In this spirit, we hope that this statement begins a process of healing and unity for common purpose, not only in Israel but for the U.S.-Israel relationship, an alliance driven by deep and vital shared values and interests. For American Jews, and for those of us in the Conservative Movement, recent statements by the U.S. Administration that could be interpreted to signal a potential distancing between the U.S. and Israel have been a cause for grave concern.
“Within the Jewish community there is room for honest response to actions that trouble us, but the U.S.-Israel relationship is sacrosanct and we consider our support for Israel and for the strongest U.S.-Israel relationship to be axiomatic to our Jewish identity. What our community needs is more cooperation and unity in working together toward strengthening the U.S.-Israel partnership, not creating new divisions by seeking to attack fellow Jewish organizations or create new points of conflict.
“We congratulate the Prime Minister on his recent re-election and celebrate Israel’s robust democracy at this time when there is much urgent work to be done on all critical issues especially Iran, defense of Israel at the U.N. and other international bodies and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. As we pray every evening for our personal security, so do we pray for the well-being of our two nations: ‘God spread over us your shelter of peace and guide us with your good counsel.’”