Resolution on Religious Freedom and Equality for Jews in Israel

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly is holding its 2013 Convention in Jerusalem, celebrating Israel’s 65 years of independence;

Whereas uniting all Jews is a core principle of Zionism and the State of Israel;

Whereas Zionism was and remains a cornerstone of Masorti Judaism’s founding principles and the Rabbinical Assembly applauds our colleagues in the Masorti Movement in Israel for their devotion to building Jewish institutions that meet the needs of Israel’s diverse population;

Whereas the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel states that Israel "will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex”;

Whereas, the Rabbinical Assembly has, most recently passed resolutions addressing Jewish extremism in 2012 and on pluralism in 2010;

Whereas the institution of the chief rabbinate has served to divide and alienate a significant portion of the Jewish community, both in Israel and throughout the Diaspora by, among other things, influencing the allocation of government funds towards institutions serving a small segment of the Jewish population and by vetoing proposed solutions to making the conversion process more accessible (See 2009 RA Resolution on the Chief Rabbinate);

Whereas Israel has formed a coalition government that includes parties who are committed to addressing the challenges of the role of religion and the state;

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly appreciates the courageous leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work in the spirit of K’lal Yisrael and to consult with leaders of all streams of Judaism from the Diaspora as well as from Israel to ensure that the Kotel is restored to its function as a holy place for Jews throughout the world;

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly appreciates Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appointment of Natan Sharansky to find a solution so that the Kotel will be a sacred space accessible to all Jews, and recognizes the important role that Women of the Wall has played in raising public consciousness on this issue;

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly reaffirm its conviction that the State of Israel should protect the rights of all Jews to worship in the Kotel Plaza;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly express its support of the efforts of Jewish Agency Director Natan Sharansky and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shall work with them to achieve a compromise plan for egalitarian prayer space in the Robinson’s Arch area equal in every way to the existing prayer space at the Kotel;

Be it further resolved that the plan must include provisions that will allow for ample space for public national and civic ceremonies;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon Israel’s historic coalition government to institute equal and just funding for all the recognized streams of contemporary Jewry in keeping with the guarantee of Freedom of Religion and Conscience as stated in Israel’s Declaration of Independence; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call on its delegates attending its 2013 Convention in Jerusalem to advocate for these measures in our meetings with government officials and members of the Knesset.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, June, 2013