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Am Echad weekly update for the week of July 10, 2022

Update summary: Thanks to Charedi representation at the Jewish Agency board of governors meeting, a resolution to promote the Western Wall deal was stopped. In a dangerous precedent, the State of Israel told the supreme court it would make a change in procedures that would allow Reform and Arab teachers to teach in the state religious schools. The progressive organization Truah supports Ben & Jerry's boycott of Israel condemned those who fight it. BDS activists stepped up their antisemitic actions in Toronto, and even in New Zealand there is a sharp rise in antisemitism.

The Western Wall Deal

  • A Jewish Agency resolution to promote the Western Wall deal stopped by Charedi party

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, chairman of Eretz Hakodesh party at the World Zionist Organization, stopped a Jewish Agency resolution to promote the Western Wall deal. The meeting of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency was scheduled after a small group of religious teens disturbed a "Bar Mitzvah" ceremony that took place on the Ezrat Israel plaza at the Western Wall. The Reform and Conservative movement used this incident to paint the entire Orthodox community with a bad image, pushing the Jewish Agency for a resolution to call the government to implement the Western Wall deal immediately. Rabbi Lerner, while condemning every form of violence at the Western Wall, insisted that no changes that would compromise the holiness of the Western Wall could be made. Thanks to his opposition and firm stand, the initial resolution was shelved, and the final resolution condemned the incident at the Ezrat Israel area and called for a completely halt to all violence. (Matzav)

Religious affairs

  • A dangerous precedent: Reform and Arab teachers may start teaching in Religious schools

The State of Israel notified the Israeli supreme court that it will re-evaluate the current procedures that are meant to ensure that only Orthodox Jewish teachers will teach at the state religious schools (Mamlachti-Dati). The statement was made following a law suit by an array of left-wing organizations, lead by Adallah and the Reform Center for Religion and State. Current procedures filter the candidates by their alma mater and a form where the candidate states they observe a religious way of life, and the law suit was filed to challenge those procedures. But despite the Ministry of Education own statement that the procedures are in accordance with the law, the state notified the court that they will re-evaluate and fix the current forms. This decision will allow in the future for Reform and Arab teachers to teach in the state religious school system. (Achshav 14)

BDS and Antisemitism

  • T'ruah: we support Ben and Jerry's right to boycott Israels

The progressive organization T'ruah, who represents many non-Orthodox Jewish leaders, condemned Unilever's decision to renew Ben and Jerry's sales in Judea and Samaria, and expressed support for the BDS boycott.

"While T’ruah does not support or participate in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, we do believe in free speech, which includes the right to boycott," the organization's statement said. The organization attacked the US anti-BDS laws preventing pension funds from being invested in organizations who support the BDS. They blamed both the right and the left for " trying to erase the Green Line and equate sovereign Israel with occupation." (T'ruah)

  • Owner of Toronto kosher store reports death threats from BDS activists

Owner of Taste of Israel, a kosher shop in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill reports that anti Israel activists told him they know where he lives and threatened his family. The activists, who protested in front of Jewish owned stores on Canada Day, called him two days later and said "we are coming to kill you". Jewish Canadian MP Melissa Lantsman warned that the protest was pure antisemitism. You don’t come to a Jewish neighborhood and yell anti-Semitic tropes if it isn’t about hating Jews." The York Regional Police arrested one of the offenders. (Algemeiner)

  • Sharp rise in online antisemitism in New Zealand

New Zealand Jewish Council reports sharp rise in antisemitism online in the country, despite Jews being just about 0.2% of the local population. The organization has collated antisemitic content from New Zealand users and platforms over the past year, with many of the comments online referring to the Holocaust – such as “Hitler was right." In order to learn more about the locals' attitudes towards Jews, the organization conducted a survey. The findings are worrying: 21% of the New Zealanders held two or more classical antisemitic views and 25% held two or more anti-Zionists views. 6% agreed with 9 or more antisemitic views. Surprisingly, 32% said they knew a Jewish person. 17% said they knew virtually nothing about the Holocaust. The rise in antisemitism is influenced by both right-wing conspiracy theories like Q-Anon, and left wing antisemitism. (Jerusalem Post)


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