Religious Pluralism and Rights in Israel

The State of Israel is founded upon the principles of prophetic justice. All Jews share in her destiny; all Jews share responsibility for maintaining her survival and security. The record of Reform Judaism in contributing to Israel's economic and political well-being is second to none. We are proud to be a leading participant in this worldwide effort. Jewish unity is essential for Jewish survival.

Unity, however, should never be jeopardized in the name of uniformity. Indeed, our people's history demonstrates a unique genius for diversity within unity. The pluralistic character of our tradition is as old as the debates between the disciples of Hillel and the disciples of Shammai.

Sadly, the obvious truths of Jewish history, past and present, have not been fully learned by those who make Israel's laws.

After nearly thirty years of statehood, non-Orthodox Jews still suffer the indignity of second-class status imposed by an entrenched and intransigent Orthodox establishment working its will through the political manipulation of coalition governments. The entire Reform Jewish community continues to be outraged by the denial of recognition and equality for non-Orthodox Jews under the present laws of the State of Israel.

Therefore, in the name of justice and Jewish unity and for ourselves as full members of K'lal Yisrael, we demand:

That Reform rabbis be accorded full rights and privileges as duly "ordained rabbis" in Israel, including the elimination of all restrictions of their right to officiate at life-cycle functions;

That Prime Minister Begin renounce publicly his commitment to amend the Law of Return; and

That non-Orthodox congregations in Israel receive government funding and support commensurate with that accorded Orthodox congregations. The time has come to end a situation whereby funds contributed by Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews throughout the world are channeled exclusively to only one of these movements.

We invoke upon the president of the UAHC the obligation to convey this resolution through proper channels to every member of the Knesset in Israel and to stress its urgency to the leaders of the government of Israel.