Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism Statement on Israel, Self-Defense,
Recent terrorist violence in Israel and Israelís consequent imperative need
to defend its citizens, its existence, and its right to live in peace have
attracted the attention of much of the news media and the world. From its
inception, Conservative Judaism has emphasized the peoplehood of the Jewish
People as a core principle of our belief and commitment. Grounded in this
conviction, Conservative Judaism continues to support the right of our Jewish
People to national self-expression in our ancestral homeland.
Israel, taking action rare among the nations of the world, willingly moved
its troops out of Lebanon despite a history of using that territory to launch
attacks upon it, and Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza to allow the
Palestinian people the opportunity to realize their own national self-expression
and to rise to the responsibility of living in peace. Tragically, the response
from both borders has been unprovoked attacks, as Israelís borders have been
violated from Lebanon and from Gaza and innocent hostages seized. Iranian and
Syrian sponsored Hezbollah has used Israelís good will to launch hundreds of
missiles on Israelís cities, villages, and farms. This deliberate assault on
civilians violates every international standard of legal warfare, as does
Israelís enemiesí insistence on placing their bomb labs, military supplies and
centers amidst Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, putting them at great risk.
With Lebanonís refusal (or inability) to prevent violence initiated from its
own territory, and with the Palestinian Authorityís refusal (or inability) to
prevent attacks launched from its own territory, Israel has been forced to
assume responsibility for the safety of all its people Ė Jewish, Christian, and
The Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism stands with Israel in its
right to live in peace, its insistence on protecting its civilians, and on its
pursuit of peace with its neighbors.
- We affirm and celebrate Israelís right to exist as a Jewish,
democratic state in the national homeland of the Jewish people.
- We insist on the right of every Israeli to live in peace. We affirm
that same right for every civilian in the Middle East.
- We stand with the State of Israel and its citizens during this
difficult and dangerous time. Our prayers for strength, well-being and peace
go out to them. We pray that those in captivity be returned home soon; that
those harmed will have their pain alleviated and that all in anguish be
granted strength and courage.
- We extend our love, care and support to our Masorti/Conservative
communities, those in the north who have suffered and those who have
provided homes and help to the displaced.
- We deplore Hezbollahís recourse to intentional assaults against
civilians and its deliberate kidnapping of Israelis within Israelís
- We deplore the morally-bankrupt equivalency that falsely equates the
deliberate targeting of Israelís population centers and its consequent
murders with the tragic collateral loss of civilian life necessitated by
Hezbollahís criminal practice of putting innocent people in harmís way by
locating their weapon caches and missile manufacturing in the very center of
- We salute the Government of the United States, both the Executive and
Legislative branches, for its stalwart support of its democratic ally and of
Israelís need to defend itself against terror and violence.
- We express appreciation to those nations and international
organizations that have recognized Israelís need to defend its people and
have condemned Hezbollah and Hamasís criminal violence.
- We salute the students of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the
Jewish Theological Seminary, the Seminario Rabbinico, and the Schechter
Rabbinical School who affirm their love of Zion and the unity of the Jewish
people by continuing their studies in Jerusalem.
- We salute the more than 800 teenagers of our movement participating on
our Ramah and USY summer programs in Israel and their parents who are
continuing their activities in Israel affirming their commitment and caring
for the people of Israel.
- We reach out to all men and women of good will, eager to see a peace
in the Middle East that extends to all its inhabitants, Jewish, Muslim, and
Christian, to insist on an end to terrorism, and to advance the right of
Israel and Palestine to secure and recognized boundaries.
The Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism
Hazzan Steven S. Stoehr, President
Federation of Jewish Menís Clubs
Dr. Robert Braitman, President
Jewish Educators Assembly
Lonna Picker, President
Jewish Theological Seminary
Prof. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor
Gloria Bieler, Earl Greinetz, Co-chairs, Board of Directors
Alan H. Silberman, President
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, President
Glenn Easton, President
Rabbi Alvin Berkun, President
National Ramah Commission
Morton Steinberg, President
Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies
Rabbi David Golinkin, President
Solomon Schechter Day School Association
Andrew Cohen, President
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Dr. Raymond B. Goldstein, President
Womenís League for Conservative Judaism
Gloria Cohen, President
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Rabbi Bradley Artson, Dean