NEW YORK, NEW YORK (July 24, 2023)
New York, NY – The Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism issued the following statement on Israel’s first of the Judicial Reform Bills to pass a Knesset vote:
“The Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism- the North American network of Masorti/Conservative Congregations- have always advocated for Israel’s founding values of democracy, equality and justice. We thus can only express our profound consternation at the Knesset’s passage today of a bill that sharply curtails the ability of the country’s courts to review government decisions.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence clearly commits the Jewish state to function fully as a democracy. Israel’s unwavering commitment to democracy has stood the country in good stead over decades of repeated assaults on the security of its citizens and its very existence.
The governing coalition’s choice to unilaterally pass this legislation represents a clear and present danger to the country’s independent judiciary, which may still come under further assault. Democracy requires independent legislative, judicial and executive branches. With no written constitution nor upper house in the legislature, the independence of Israel’s judiciary is indispensable.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition has created serious fractures in Israel and the wider Jewish world. In the face of their legislative aggression, we are heartened by the broad citizen coalition of Israelis who are resolved to protect the Jewish and democratic nature of the state.
We urge the government to refrain from introducing further judicial legislation and to participate in negotiations under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog. In these first days of Av, as we prepare to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples, let us remember the danger that extremism and discord can pose to the Jewish people.
We stand with Israelis in this time of division and uncertainty. We will always support Israel and work to preserve and advance the Jewish state’s founding values of democracy, equality and justice.