'Netanyahu, Don't give in to the Reform Movement'

Israeli organization accuses Reform Movement of siding with Israel's enemies, calls on PM to stand strong in meeting with Reform leaders.

Gary Willig ,

Reform Jews praying in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Reform Jews praying in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90

Th delegation of the Reform Movement, led by Union of Reform Judaism president Rick Jacobs, will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem tomorrow (Sunday).

According to a report published by the Liba Center, an organization "dedicated to strengthening the Jewish character of the State of Israel," the Reform Movement, including president Jacobs, has often taken a critical stand against the policies of the State of Israel and have publicly taken steps to pressure Israel to aid the Palestinian Authority.

Jacobs condemned the Knesset's passage of a law banning entry to the country to prominent BDS activists this past Thursday. “We are frustrated that by passing this law, the Israeli government has in essence posted a giant sign by the door of the Jewish state saying, ‘Don’t come unless you agree with everything we’re doing here,’” Jacobs told JTA.

The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), an Orthodox American rabbinic organization, slammed Jacobs for “presuming to tell Israel how to protect the lives and livelihood of Israeli Jews” on Friday.

The CJV pointed out that the Reform Movement has had a historically contentious relationship with the Zionist Movement and the State of Israel. The Reform Movement largely rejected the idea of a Jewish State and that the Jews constituted a distinct national group prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Jacobs and about 30 other leaders of the Reform Movement met with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah this past Thursday. Following the meeting, Jacobs praised Abbas' commitment to peace. "I was impressed with the President's clear and unequivocal commitment to the two-state solution."

He added that he thought Abbas was "clearly is frustrated with the lack of progress, or even the existence of ongoing negotiations. I share that frustration."

PA Ambassador Husam Zomlot said that Abbas and the Reform leaders see "eye to eye" on the Arab-Israel conflict.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Zomlot said that the Reform leaders would work to set additional meeting between him and other American Jewish leaders.

The Liba Center stated that: "What was once the domain of anti-Israel and radical leftist elements has become the normal position and policy of the Reform Movement. With regards to their meeting with the Prime Minister tomorrow, we wish to strengthen the position of the Prime Minister against this organization on behalf of the State of Israel, so that he will not be dictated to by those who act against the State of Israel and threaten it in order to force it to change its character."