With so much going on in the United States, Georgia, and Atlanta, the pandemic, Passover just around the corner, and all the other things going on in our lives... we may have missed some of the headlines coming out of Israel in recent weeks — and they’re a really big deal!.
- Like the fact that Israel is holding its fourth election in just two years on March 23rd!
- Or the fact that the Supreme Court just issued a HUGE ruling in favor of recognizing conversions performed by the Reform and Conservative Movements in Israel, resulting in folks who are Jews-by-choice to receive Israeli citizenship (which they previously were unable to do)!
- OR the fact that Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL, the Israeli Jewish National Fund, which has no connection to the JNF based out of New York), is planning to purchase land in Area C of the West Bank!
I could write three books diving into all three of these topics, but today, I want to call our attention to the issue of the KKL (with articles at the bottom to catch up on the other two pieces). The reason that the leaders of the Reform Movement are calling upon the KKL board to reject the proposed plan is that:
- We have long opposed the proliferation of settlements because they endanger the possibility of a two-state solution.
- We love and support the Jewish and democratic State of Israel which is why we will continue to strongly oppose policies that undermine the safety, security, and moral character of our Jewish homeland.
- Politicizing support for cherished Zionist institutions ill serves the cause of Zionism and the unity of the Jewish people. Especially at this moment when Israel is looking to forge a strong relationship with the current administration, this unilateral move could be inflammatory and harmful.(1)
KKL is one of the only organizations in the world that represents WORLD JEWRY (that includes you and me!). KKL currently owns 15% of the land in Israel. If their plan to purchase this land in the West Bank is approved, this would mark the first time that they will go out and publicly develop in the controversial settlements. It was just back in 2019 that the Reform Movement blew the whistle on KKL for purchasing land in the West Bank, in secret, and without following board protocols. KKL has previously never even worked in the West Bank except through other entities.
KKL is under the World Zionist Organization, which proctors the World Zionist Congress Elections that many of you voted in at this time last year. The results of the election weren’t all that we had hoped. Although ARZA/Vote Reform received the most votes (by more than 10,000), our progressive block dropped from around a 55% majority to a 45% minority. This means that our ability to put folks who advance our values, and fight for our causes will not be able to hold key leadership positions in the National Institutions (like KKL).
So what’s the ask?:
#1 I know a LOT is going on stateside, but let’s try to simultaneously uphold our Zionism and keep up with Israeli news (let’s prioritize that as a part of our routine!).
#2 Watch carefully to see how this KKL issue unfolds, as it will affect the relationship between America and Israel at the administrative level, negotiations for a two-state solution, and the continued hope for Jewish pluralism in our sacred homeland.
#3 Next time the World Zionist Congress Elections roll around…Vote! (Don’t worry, I hope I’ll get to remind you in 2025 as well).
Israeli Election News:
The Supreme Court Ruling on Conversions in Israel: