June 26, 2017
Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA, representing the Canadian Federations in Israel on the Executive and Board of the Jewish Agency, stands together with the Jewish people worldwide in expressing our deep concern about two decisions that were reached in Israel in the last 24 hours.
The first involves the conversion legislation which will deregulate the authority of the local private rabbinic court, whose conversions will no longer be approved by the Rabbinate. This change has significant implications, for Diaspora Jews and Israelis, and particularly but not only for new immigrants.
The second involves the rescinding of a commitment to build an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, based on the principle of 'ONE WALL FOR ONE PEOPLE'.
The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Board of Governors proposed the following in a just-released resolution:
'Whereas the proposed conversion bill that would cement the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on conversion has the devastating potential to permanently exclude hundreds of thousands of Israelis from being a part of the Jewish people; and
Whereas we deplore yesterday's decision by Government of Israel which contradicts the agreement reached with the Jewish Agency and other parties to establish the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, as stated: 'ONE WALL FOR ONE PEOPLE''
The leadership of Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA, currently in Israel, is working actively to reverse these decisions. As a first step, we are joining 120 members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors to lobby at the Knesset tomorrow.
Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA stands united with our partners, colleagues and Jewish communities in Israel and in the Diaspora. We affirm our commitment to a strong and united global Jewish people. Updates will follow as events unfold.