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The Kotel Needs Your Voice

By: Leah Aharoni

With the current Israeli government passing a range of anti-religious legislation, aimed at diluting the Jewish character of society in Israel, any clue who is standing behind all these changes?

The Israeli government’s plans are partly motivated by a narrative, promoted by the Reform and Conservative leadership in Israel and in the US, claiming, falsely, that all the Jews in Diaspora are in favor of the anti-religious legislation. American Jewry is mostly Reform, the false claim goes, and they feel left out and slighted by the “ultra-Orthodox monopoly” on religion. Loosen things up, make Reform Jews feel welcome, and you can mend the “rift” in Israel-Diaspora relations.

Nothing could be further from truth, obviously. Anyone familiar with American Jewry knows that the Reform are not the majority. Most Jews are unaffiliated. Over 80% of them have never set foot in Israel or at most visited it for a brief once-in-a-lifetime vacation. The state of religion in Israel is low on their interest list. Yet the current government, with its selection of Reform Knesset members doesn’t want to know the truth. The Kotel Plaza has become the nexus for this issue, with the government advancing a “Kotel Compromise” to establish a mixed prayer area, hand over a significant amount of control to the Reform and Conservative movements, and violate Jewish law and the established tradition. But the truth is that this Kotel Compromise is symbolic of the Reform and Conservative movements’ agenda to get implement a wide range of measures to dilute the Jewish character of Israel. Lest you think this is an exaggeration, the Israeli Reform Movement put out a video last week calling on Israelis to support the Kotel Compromise as a symbolic move that would open the doors to public transportation on Shabbos and civil marriage, among other measures that would undermine the Jewish character of public life in Israel.

And this is where you step in. Like you, large swaths of World Jewry are opposed to partitioning the Kotel. Ironically, it is Jews like you, the ones most invested in Israel, those who have spent time learning there or have sent their kids to do so, those who think of Israel every time they pray, after every sandwich and every cookie, that do not have their voice heard. This is about to change. Am Echad, is an organization bringing together leaders from across the Jewish community for the purposes of strengthening Jewish identity and the connection between Israel and Diaspora, is mounting a campaign to have 150,000 of Diaspora Jews tell the Prime Minister of Israel: No! Jews in the Diaspora do NOT want this. We do NOT want to undermine halachah. We do NOT want the Kotel divided.

If you agree we urge you to speak up. Sign the petition at Create a team for your shul, school or community. Spread the world to let your friends and family let their feelings known.

For almost a decade others have allowed themselves to speak in your name to violate the values you hold most dear.

If you don’t want Israel secularized, if you don’t want the Kotel partitioned and the Jewish people divided, please step up to the plate and tell the Israeli Government: No! Not in my name!


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