The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
The past few months have been eventful for Israelis and those who care about Israel, in more ways than one. At Consultation on Conscience (April 26-28), there will be an opportunity to discuss current issues in Israel on Monday evening at 7:15 PM. The event will feature Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, Dr. Natan Sachs, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and Rabbi Noa Sattath, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). Earlier in the day, we'll also have the opportunity to hear from Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State Foreign Affairs and the chief United States negotiator for the Iran nuclear negotiations. Tune in for the livestream at youtube.com/racrj.
Within Israel, a focus for millions of Israelis was the new elections for Knesset (Israel’s parliament), which occurred in March. The country held elections after the previous governing coalition, which had been in office for less than two years, dissolved and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for new elections. After a close election campaign that pitted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, against the center-left Zionist Camp, Prime Minister Netanyahu won a convincing victory and is in talks with other parties to form a coalition.
Outside of Israel, there’s an important election that’s still going on: the World Zionist Congress elections. ARZA, the Zionist wing of the Reform Movement, has put together a slate of Reform Movement leaders that are gearing up to fight for civil rights, religious pluralism and peace. Having ARZA do well in the World Zionist Congress elections gives ARZA influence and funding power over the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund and other vitally important agencies and organizations in Israel and around the world. Voting is open until April 30th, so go vote!
Israel and the United States have also been working to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. After a year and a half of negotiations, the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China, plus Germany) and Iran agreed to a framework deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program. Reform Movement leaders have expressed reservations about conditions in the agreement, while still supporting diplomacy as the best alternative to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Amidst these global-scale events, we’ve also been monitoring a continued string of tensions in Jerusalem and attacks targeting women and non-Jews. Of note, there has been a continuing legal battle over flights by Israeli airline El Al, which have sometimes been delayed due to ultra-Orthodox men demanding that the women who are sitting next to them move seats.
Join us at the Consultation or by livestream to learn more about Israeli affairs.