Threat to Reform Rights in Israel

Adopted by the General Assembly
November 30 - December 3, 1995 Atlanta

Background In November 1995, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that opened the door for legal recognition of non-Orthodox conversions. Subse quently, concerns have been raised that, to strengthen the new coalitional government, an agreement was made with various Orthodox political parties to pursue legislation that would again block recognition of such conversions.

The passage of such legislation would create severe consequences for Israeli society and world Jewry. It would be a rejection and delegitimization of non-Orthodox Judaism, would undermine Israel's democratic character, and would cause a painful rift within Israeli society as well as between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. Moreover, this would provoke a repetition of the "Who is a Jew" fight.

The tragic assassination of Yitzhak Rabin z"l proves once again that re ligious intolerance has severe repercussions. Religious fundamentalism and intolerance endangers the values of justice, democracy and equality in Israel, whether in the form of a sanction for violence against government leaders or the abridgement of the basic religious liberty of non-Orthodox Jews.

THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:

1. Urge the Israeli government to refrain from any Action that would undo the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court that opened the door to recognition of non-Orthodox conversions;

2. Oppose any legislation that would prevent legal recognition of non-O rthodox conversions;

3. Encourage all UAHC congregations and their members to forcefully express their concerns in writing to Israeli government officials and representatives in North America and in Israel; and

4. Urge other North American Jewish organizations and religious movements to communicate to the Israeli government that enactment of legislation that delegitimizes non-Orthodox conversions will cause serious damage to the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.