Herzog: Orthodox, Reform, Conservative will respect each other

Jewish Agency Chairman Yitzhak Herzog tells North American Jewry at Jewish Federation GA Israel-Diaspora divide an existential threat.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Isaac Herzog
Isaac Herzog
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Yitzhak Herzog gave his inaugural address to North American Jewry at the Jewish Federation of North America's General Assembly Tuesday, during which he presenting his vision for connecting the global Jewish family:

"We must launch a new Jewish dialogue. In the coming year, I will reach out to all of you to advance hundreds of faction-crossing, stream-crossing and continent-crossing dialogues. Under one common tent, as we’ve established in the Ami Unity programs, we will work together in every possible way so that Israelis will learn to appreciate and know the magnificent civilization of world Jewry, while world Jewry will learn to appreciate the achievements of Zionism and the beauty of Israeliness. Reform and Conservative Jews will learn to cherish Jewish Orthodoxy, while Orthodox Jews will learn to respect the Reform and Conservative. They will all partake in the internal debates of each of them. We shall learn from one another and learn to appreciate one another — and endeavor to resolve our internal differences — through a new Jewish dialogue. All that I ask all of you here in this room is not to despair and not to give up.

“The central challenge facing Israel is how to ensure its long-term existence as a Jewish-democratic state. This challenge has three dimensions: the first is to reach peace with our neighbors based on two state solution. The second is to address the internal strife that has driven the one people of Israel into the famous four tribes. And the third is to define a new and enlightened Zionist identity, that will endow us with both the spirit and the ethos of a thriving open democracy, together with an open, robust, and meaningful Judaism.

“Our first act should be to find a common language. When I say common — I mean both literally and figuratively. We have a rare and sacred national treasure — the Hebrew language. The language of the bible and the State of Israel. In order for us to be able to speak to one another and listen to one another and to debate, discuss and delight one another, we must return to our national heritage and treasure. We must enable every young Jewish person in the world to learn Hebrew. Hence, I hereby call upon the State of Israel to honor its commitment and pledge to take care of the Jewish people in the diaspora by allocating a substantial share of its annual budget to a national enterprise of spreading and teaching Hebrew all over the Jewish world. From here on, it will be every young Jew’s birthright, wherever he or she may live, not only to visit this historic homeland but to learn the language of the Jewish people. Hebrew can be a common denominator of all Jews, from all streams of Judaism and of affiliated or nonaffiliated Jews. Our beautiful language can serve as a tool for unity.”