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April 11, 2023 9:07 am

Lapid Urges North American Jewry to Not Give Up On Israel

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US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid attend the first virtual meeting of the “I2U2” group with leaders of India and the United Arab Emirates, in Jerusalem, July 14, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

i24 News – Israel’s Opposition Leader Yair Lapid met with North American Jewish leaders on Monday in a conference in New York, emphasizing the importance of US Jewry and their partnership with Israel to keep it a democratic and Jewish state.

Lapid said that while governments come and go, the State of Israel remains, urging American Jews at the UJA-Federation of New York to not give up on the country despite controversy caused by judicial reform proposed by the current government.

Legislation on the reform is currently frozen, following mass protests in Israel, threats of a general strike and vocal international opposition to the reform – both by American Jewry and the US government.

Opponents to the reform say it will alter the political system in the Jewish state, removing checks and balances that preserve Israeli minority rights and threatening its continuation as a democracy. On the other hand, supporters assert that changing the judicial system so that Israel’s parliament has a larger role in choosing judges is necessary to halt what they see as unfettered control by the judicial branch.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the temporary halt will extend over the Passover holiday, and joined Israel’s opposition parties to find a compromise under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog.

“We know that the differences of opinion in Israel today are deep and challenging,” Jewish Federations of North America Chair Julie said. “We in the Jewish Federation system have expressed our opinions where we felt it necessary to do so, as have other organizations represented here this evening.”

“But above all, together with so many other organizations in this meeting, we have expressed our strongest possible encouragement that every party must do its utmost to seek and find compromise.”

She also expressed solidarity with Israel amid an escalation in terrorism, as well as with the victims of recent attacks.

This comes two weeks before Jewish leaders travel to Israel for the Jewish Federations’ “Israel at 75 General Assembly,” where Herzog and Netanyahu are expected to speak.

Last month, a delegation of North American Jewish organizations came to Israel to warn that the legislation could cause Israel “to lose a generation of people” who would view the judicial overhaul as Israel abandoning democracy.

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