Rabbinical Assembly Statement on Annexation of the West Bank

Our Rabbinical Assembly issued the following statement today on Israel's intention to extend annexation of the West Bank:

The Rabbinical Assembly fully supports the right of the democratically elected government of Israel to pursue policies that it believes advance the peace and security of the world's only Jewish state. However we feel obligated to add our collective voice to the growing chorus of concern over the government's plans for unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank. Conservative Judaism, Zionist since its founding, has always stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel in its fight for survival against forces that have continually sought to destroy it. We believe that Israel should take all necessary steps to defend itself from its adversaries. We strongly oppose unilateral action by either side and are stalwart advocates for a mutually agreed upon two-state solution, with two peoples living side by side in peace and security. As we read in Psalms (34:15), we are taught to "Shun evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it."

We believe that the reported plans for unilateral annexation could severely undermine the prospect of a realistic state for the Palestinian people and would put Israel on a path that ultimately leads to a disastrous one-state solution, in which there would not be a Jewish majority. A future in which a Jewish State has to choose between its democratic values and its Jewish identity is a future that all supporters of Israel must seek to avoid.

We, who are strong supporters of Israel and who live in a time when we have witnessed the miracle of the realization of the Zionist dream, know that unilateral annexation of even limited parts of the West Bank will empower those who seek to undermine support for Israel. We painfully understand how many times Israel reached out to make peace since its founding and how, time and time again, Israel's overtures were violently rejected. Unilateral annexation will not help the cause of peace or make Israel's future more secure.

The Declaration of Establishment of the State of Israel proclaims: "The State of Israel will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture." As leaders of faith and conscience we also acknowledge the profound cost to the civil rights for all residents of Israel when unilateral action is taken and urge Israeli leaders to live up to the values declared at its founding.