Rabbinic Sign-on Letter
In early December 2012 the Israeli government announced plans to advance the construction of settlements in the E1 area of the West Bank, as well as to authorize the building of thousands of new settlement units in East Jerusalem.
As rabbis, cantors, rabbinical students, and cantorial students, we encourage you to join us in expressing concern to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israeli settlement expansion.
We write as American rabbis and cantors who are deeply committed to the long-term security and viability of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. We have lived in Israel, visited frequently, brought our communities there, and preached and taught about Israel within our synagogues, schools, camps, and other institutions. Many of us have children, parents, siblings, and other relatives and friends living in Israel. Some of us hold Israeli citizenship.
We and our communities have worked hard to build bipartisan support for Israel. We have raised millions of dollars to develop the State of Israel and its civil society. And we have vigorously opposed efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State.
All of us believe that the ultimate safety and security of Israel as a Jewish state will depend on reaching a peace agreement that also allows Palestinians to live safely and securely in their own state.
For these reasons, we are deeply concerned about the recent announcement to advance the construction of settlements in the E1 area of the West Bank, as well as to authorize the building of thousands of new settlement units in East Jerusalem. The current situation in the occupied territories violates Palestinian human rights and undercuts the very values on which Israel was founded – democracy, liberty, justice, and peace.
We fear that building settlements in E1 would be the final blow to a peaceful solution. If Israel builds in E1, it will cut East Jerusalem off from its West Bank surroundings and effectively bifurcate the West Bank. In doing so, E1 will literally represent an obstacle to a two-state solution.
As American rabbis and cantors, we also fear that construction in E1 damages the critical relationship between Israel and the United States. Construction in E1 would violate repeated commitments to the United States, dating back to 1994, not to build settlements in the area.
The Mishna (Pirke Avot 1:12) tells us, "Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving humankind and bringing them closer to the Torah." The commentary on this saying in Avot d'Rabbi Natan tells us that it is not enough merely to love peace, but that one must pursue it as strenuously as Aaron did.
For the sake of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, we urge you to cease plans to construct new settlements in E1, elsewhere in the West Bank, or in East Jerusalem. We pray that you follow Aaron’s example by returning to the negotiating table as quickly as possible.
We cannot afford to weaken the strong bond between Israel and the United States. Nor can we risk sabotaging our best chance to end the decades-long conflict that has claimed too many Israeli and Palestinian lives.
With prayers for the peace of Jerusalem,
|253||Wed Dec 12 10:52:26 EST 2012||Janet Offel||Woodland Hills, CA|
|252||Wed Dec 12 10:47:48 EST 2012||Douglas Charing||Leeds, ot|
|251||Wed Dec 12 10:44:35 EST 2012||Michael Satz||San Diego, CA|
|250||Wed Dec 12 10:38:32 EST 2012||Alanna Sklover||Philadelphia, PA|
|249||Wed Dec 12 10:17:29 EST 2012||Paula Reimers||Lebanon, PA|
|248||Wed Dec 12 10:17:05 EST 2012||Jessica Oleon||Washington, DC|
|247||Wed Dec 12 10:13:13 EST 2012||Bonnie Margulis||Madison, WI|
|246||Wed Dec 12 10:09:33 EST 2012||Colin Eimer||London, ot|
|245||Wed Dec 12 09:54:04 EST 2012||Jacqueline Tabick||London, ot|
|244||Wed Dec 12 09:52:55 EST 2012||Susan Bulba Carvutto||Augusta, ME|
|243||Wed Dec 12 09:49:42 EST 2012||Michael Zoosman||Hyattsville, MD|
|242||Wed Dec 12 09:34:32 EST 2012||Michael Greenwald||Canton, NY|
|241||Wed Dec 12 09:30:56 EST 2012||Allen I. Freehling||New Orleans, LA|
|240||Wed Dec 12 08:59:37 EST 2012||Jacob Staub||Philadelphia, PA|
|239||Wed Dec 12 08:54:11 EST 2012||Haim Beliak||Los Angeles, CA|
|238||Wed Dec 12 08:46:58 EST 2012||Barry Diamond||Dallas, TX|
|237||Wed Dec 12 08:33:27 EST 2012||Myra Soifer||Reno, NV|
|236||Wed Dec 12 08:31:03 EST 2012||Hillel Cohn||San Bernardino, CA|
|235||Wed Dec 12 08:23:04 EST 2012||Lennard Thal||New York, NY|
|234||Wed Dec 12 08:17:39 EST 2012||James Lebeau||Jerusalem, ot|
|233||Wed Dec 12 07:57:27 EST 2012||David Vaisberg||Edison, NJ|
|232||Wed Dec 12 07:01:59 EST 2012||david ariel-joel||Louisville, KY|
|231||Wed Dec 12 05:42:38 EST 2012||Allen Bennett||San Francisco, CA|
|230||Wed Dec 12 05:25:18 EST 2012||Laurence Edwards||Chicago, IL|
|229||Wed Dec 12 04:59:48 EST 2012||Marisa Elana James||Jerusalem, ot|