לְמַ֤עַן צִיּוֹן֙ לֹ֣א אֶחֱשֶׁ֔ה וּלְמַ֥עַן יְרוּשָׁלִַ֖ם לֹ֣א אֶשְׁק֑וֹט
For the sake of Zion I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still.
– Isaiah 62:1
We Reform Jews in Latin America write to express our deep concern about the recently enacted law that weakens the judiciary in Israel. As staunch supporters of the democratic values defended by Israel, we believe that a strong and independent judiciary is vital to ensuring the fair and equitable administration of the law.
Israel has been a beacon of democracy and pluralism in the Middle East, a nation founded on principles of justice, equality and freedom. The Judiciary, as one of the fundamental pillars of a democratic society, plays a crucial role in safeguarding these values. It ensures that the rule of law prevails, protects individual rights and serves as a check against the abuse of power.
As Jewish men and women who hold Israel in our hearts, we believe it is our duty to speak up when we see actions that could undermine the democratic principles we hold dear. We understand that challenges may arise in the governance process, but the weakening of the Judiciary should not be seen as a solution. Rather, it is through a robust and vibrant judiciary that a nation’s commitment to democracy and justice is reaffirmed.
This sad fact, which happens so close to Tishah b’Av, demonstrates the tragedy that the disunity of our people, inside and outside Medinat Israel, can cause. For this reason, we will continue to raise the voice of progressive Jewish men and women in Israel and around the world to fight against the government’s dangerous initiatives and to fight for a democratic Israel that respects and unites its people based on the contemplation of its diversity, as well as serving as a true home for the Jewish people.
We echo the words of our brothers in the American reform movement:we remain committed to the State of Israel, its people, and the values outlined in its Declaration of Independence. We are deeply committed to strengthening the institutions of Israeli civil society, specifically the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which is leading the fight to keep Israel a Jewish and democratic state. As Rabbi Gilad Kariv stated, “We lost this battle, but we will win in the end.” We call on the members and institutions of our Movement to lean in and support our partners in Israel, strengthening their resolve to preserve Israel’s democracy.
President of the Union of Reform Judaism in Latin America
President of Arzenu Brazil
President of Arzenu Argentina
Rabbi Uri Lam
President of the Reformist Rabbinical Council of Brazil
Rabbi Guershon Kwasniewski
Representative of Latin America on the board of the World Union for Progressive Judaism