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Israeli Zionist Party Sparks Controversy Among American Jews

CJV representing over 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy, said the letter had "unrestrained hypocrisy."
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the funeral of the religious Zionist spiritual leader Rabbi Haim Druckman on December 26, 2022. CJV also criticized the pledge for claiming that the policies of RZP leader Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit Party Chairman Itamar Ben Gvir. AMIR LEVY/JNS

 

An effort to bar members of Israel’s Religious Zionism Party from speaking at certain synagogues has drawn criticism from certain Jewish groups.

“Their call reveals the unrestrained hypocrisy of these non-Orthodox (and anti-Orthodox movements,” said Coalition of Jewish Voters President Rabbi Yoek Schonfield. “The same people who virtue-signal their ‘tolerance’ demonstrate that they are the least tolerant of all. Anyone who speaks outside their ideological echo chamber must be canceled, censored, and banned.” 

In quick succession, hundreds of schools and dozens of municipalities across Israel signed on to the petition by the parent association rejecting any radical changes to the education curricula. Demonstrations were called, and in a move never before seen in Israeli politics, still-serving centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid joined in protests against the government that is set to replace him according to the Christian Science Monitor.

This is “the most extreme and the most insane government in the country’s history,” Mr. Lapid told protesters in Tel Aviv, a bastion of liberalism and secularism, “but we aren’t going to surrender, we are here to stay.”

The Nov. 1 general election returned a clear parliamentary majority for Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party and its right-wing allies, which include Jewish ultra-Orthodox and far-right ultra nationalist factions. According to coalition agreements already signed, Mr. Netanyahu has given his more radical partners unprecedented powers over the national police, government policy in the occupied territories, most issues of religion and state, and integral parts of the education system.

Thousands of Israeli religious Jews attend the funeral of their spiritual leader Rabbi Haim Druckman on December 26, 2022, in the village of Merkaz Shapira, Israel. The rabbinic policy group criticized the Reform Jewish leaders for meeting with noted antisemites such as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. AMIR LEVY/JNS

 

Coalition of Jewish Voters also criticized the pledge for claiming that the policies the ZIonist party’s leader Bezalel Smotrich saying that he would “will cause irreparable harm to the Israel-Jewish Diaspora relationship.” 

“Israel has not, contrary to their claims, disenfranchised them,” the Coalition of Jewish Voters statement reads in reference to the signatories. “Rather, it is they who seek to disenfranchise Israel.” 

The rabbinic policy group criticized the Reform Jewish leaders for meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and defending Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Coalition of Jewish Voters also noted the added hypocrisy of non-Orthodox rabbis making no such calls to ban former Arab-Israeli Member of Knesset Hanin Zoabi or the United Arab List party after she called for the dissolution of Israel. 

“Their frantic call to reject duly-elected Members of Knesset reflects their alienation from both the Israeli electorate and the mainstream American pro-Israel community,” added Coalition of Jewish Voters  Midwestern Regional Vice President Rabbi Ze’ev Smason. “These rabbis not only grant undue credulity to antisemitic double standards at a time of increasing double standards at a time of increasing antisemitism, but further, during the holiday of Chanukah, align themselves with the Hellenists who sought to muzzle authentic Jewish voices.” 

“One thing is certain,” Smason concluded, “hundreds of authentic Jewish congregations will welcome these and other Members of Knesset with open arms.” 

Coalition of Jewish Voters is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents over 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis as the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America. Coalition of Jewish Voters  promotes religious liberty, human rights, and classical Jewish ideas in American public policy.

 

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.

(Additional reporting provided by Alberto Arellano)

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