December 23, 2015
י"א טבת, תשע"ו
The Hon. President R. Rivlin
The Hon. Prime Minister B. Netanyahu
Dear President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu,
It is with great pleasure that I write on behalf of 2 million affiliated Reform and Progressive Jews around the world to commend you both on your recent words of inclusiveness and your calls for the unity of the Jewish people.
It has long been the mission of ARZENU to ensure that every possible step be taken to guarantee that Israel is the home for all Jews, and is a place where all religious streams in Judaism are respected and treated equally. ARZENU, on behalf of the Reform movement, also believes that all Jews must accept mutual responsibility for each other, no matter where they live. To hear you both echoing these sentiments during recent addresses in Washington and New York is truly an inspiration to us all and a motivation for us to work even harder to achieve these vital goals.
Please know that your words have brought joy and hope to Reform / Progressive and Conservative Jews around the world, and particularly to religious Zionists who work tirelessly to promote Israel and to ensure that all of Israel’s inhabitants can live in peace, security and freedom.
With regard to the attack on President Rivlin in response to his words, we take this opportunity to echo the words of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism to condemn the use of incitement and hurtful language against the President of Israel and commit ourselves to work toward creating a public atmosphere which encourages criticism and strong and brave public debate, all the while keeping to the democratic principles and rules which allow this type of debate to take place.
We stand by the President of Israel and his efforts to create a culture of listening and dialogue during the complex and difficult times experienced in Israel these days, and are proud to bless him with the blessing recited by our sages: “Blessed be He who shares his wisdom with his people”; the honor of the President of the State of Israel is our honor – for we are its citizens.
We look forward to continuing our efforts in this regard and believe that one of the greatest rewards that we can receive is to see your promises and commitments fulfilled as soon as possible. May you go from strength to strength in addressing this difficult but vital challenge to the Jewish People and in your efforts to ensure that Am Israel Chai v’Kayam.
Rabbi Lawrence Englander