Religious Pluralism in Israel


We are encouraged by early pronouncements by Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak on the question of religious pluralism in Israel, but we are concerned that past promises of forward movement have not borne fruit.

The time has come for the North American Reform Jewish community to clearly reiterate and reaffirm its commitment to full equality for our movement in Israel. We unequivocally reject any plan that relegates Reform Jews in Israel to second-class status. We reject the proposition that Reform conversions performed in Israel are not worthy of Israeli government recognition. We reject the proposition that Reform rabbis can teach conversion classes but cannot perform conversions. We reject any proposition that the only recognized religious authority in the State of Israel is the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. Any such propositions are contrary to the most fundamental beliefs of the Reform Movement.

THEREFORE , the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:

Call upon Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak to:

  1. Oppose any definition of Judaism by legislation and adopt the doctrine of separation of synagogue and state;
  2. Insist upon full equality for all streams of Judaism in Israeli religious life, including recognition of conversions and officiation at life-cycle events by non-Orthodox rabbis; and
  3. Ensure individual Israelis to determine for themselves the values and beliefs they wish to espouse and the practices they wish to follow.