Yair Lapid and Benjamin Netanyahu
Yair Lapid and Benjamin NetanyahuOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The Jewish Agency for Israel and its partners sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Leader of the Opposition MK Yair Lapid regarding the proposed judicial reforms in Israel and their potential effects on the unity of the Jewish people.

The letter reads: "The Jewish Agency, along with its partners and communities worldwide, have been following with increasing concern the stormy public debate around the proposed judicial reforms in Israel and their potential effects on the unity of our people. We have been witnessing an increase in serious polarization among Israel-loving Jews around the globe.

"The various opinions surrounding the proposed judicial reforms as well as heated public discourse are concerning to not only Israelis but to Jewish communities worldwide who feel an innate bond to the destiny and unity of our people. Today too many among us are experiencing real concern as we view the tension coming from all sides. Given the centrality of Israel in their lives we find it our duty to share with and convey to you our concerns of so many among us regarding the future of Jewish unity.

"Looking towards the future of the State of Israel and world Jewry, it is essential that all sides seek dialogue at all cost, and take the time to reach, through an inclusive and wide-ranging conversation, without preconditions, the broadest possible consensus.

"Essential as the judicial reform may be, it cannot trump the risks of a, God forbid, brotherly war. Preventing internal strife between us is truly Pikuach Nefesh, a life-saving matter. The Jewish thing to do in such a situation is to seek dialogue at all cost, and to take the time to reach, through an inclusive and wide-ranging conversation, the broadest possible consensus. As the Talmud says (in Eruvin), regarding the robust disagreement between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai: "Both these and those are the words of the living God". Surely through an honest exchange of views and opinions, handled with moderation and generosity, a conciliatory compromise can be reached which will uphold the unity of the Jewish People.

"What we really need now is to proceed forward and allow the democratically elected representatives to engage in meaningful dialogue while finding a commonly accepted way to come together around the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, for a sovereign state which is both Jewish and democratic.

"We urge both of you as leaders of the government and the opposition to engage as soon as possible in meaningful efforts to reach a wide consensus over the initiative in order to minimize the social dissent within our people. We hope that the golden path, as recommended by the Rambam, will be found.

"We strongly recommend working within the framework of a respectful dialogue aimed at finding an acceptable common ground that would enhance the eternal values of our people. We commend all of those who are tirelessly working to engage in peaceful discourse in order to find the right path forward.

"As we approach the 75th anniversary of our independence, it is our moral duty to tighten the link and partnership with Diaspora Jewry. We have to keep them committed to Israel and to Aliyah which strengthens the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic country, setting an outstanding example for all to follow."

The letter was signed by Mark Wilf, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, Doron Almog, Jewish Agency Executive, Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Julie Platt, Chairman of the Jewish Federations of North America, Steven Lowy, Chairman of the Keren Hayesod World Board of Trustees, Eric Fingerhut, President & CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, and Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod.