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Largest Jewish Movement Cautiously Welcomes New Developments in Path Toward Peace in Middle East

Contact: Sean Thibault or Rebecca Blake Chaikin

202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Saperstein: We are hopeful that the truce will give way over time to a lasting peace that will allow families to live and thrive.

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2008 – Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement welcoming the new developments in the Middle East peace process:

We welcome with cautious optimism the start of an announced 6 month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.  We pray that this significant step will lead to a viable and lasting peace and a change in Hamas’ position on terrorism, the acceptance of Israel and a commitment to uphold prior peace agreements. We also applaud both Egypt and U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, for their efforts in bringing about today’s ceasefire.

The ongoing violence that has terrorized Israelis, particularly those living with the constant barrage of rockets from Gaza, has gone on for far too long.  We are hopeful that the ceasefire will give way over time to a lasting peace that will allow families throughout the region to live and thrive. However, we are tempered by the knowledge that Hamas has not renounced terrorism, continues to hold captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.  While the agreement on a temporary ceasefire is promising, there remains much work to be done to end permanently the sustained violence that has grown out of Hamas’ control of Gaza.

This week has also brought welcome news concerning Israel’s offer to engage in peace discussions with Lebanon. It is our hope that the Lebanese will accept Israel’s overture and prove to be a genuine partner in the quest for peace.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis



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