Reform Movement Responds to Israeli Government’s Vote to Weaken Israel’s Supreme Court

July 24, 2023

Today is a sad day for Israel’s democracy. The passage of the amendment removing the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to overrule decisions and appointments of Israel’s Government using the legal standard of “reasonableness” will reduce the checks and balances placed on the government. This is the first significant step of the ruling coalition to move forward with their judicial overhaul and pass their radical legislative agenda.

The Reform Movement in North America vehemently condemns the strongarm tactics of the current coalition as they push through this divisive legislation which imperils Israel’s already-fragile democracy. This could have been a moment for Netanyahu to unite the nation and secure Israel’s standing in the world as a strong and leading democracy. Instead, the concerns of the majority of Israelis and Jews across the world, including the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have taken to the streets in recent days and the thousands who marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, have been ignored.

The upcoming holiday of Tishah B’Av, when the Jewish people mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, is widely recognized in our tradition as punishment for our ancestors’ internal intolerance and hatred. Seventy-five years after its creation, the modern Jewish state of Israel is being threatened by extremists, which we know from history can only bring calamity upon our people.

As the largest Movement in Jewish life outside of Israel, 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 MK 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.

Union for Reform Judaism
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him)

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Erica Asch (she/her)

Rabbi Hara E. Person (she/her)
Chief Executive

American Conference of Cantors
Cantor Seth Warner (he/him)

Rachel Roth (she/her)
Chief Operating Officer

Women of Reform Judaism
Sara Charney (she/her)

Rabbi Liz P. G. Hirsch (she/her)
Executive Director

Men of Reform Judaism
Rob Himmelstein (he/him)

Steven Portnoy (he/him)
Executive Director

Association of Reform Zionists of America
Daryl Messinger (she/her)

Rabbi Josh Weinberg (he/him)

Reform Jewish Community of Canada
Len Bates (he/him)

Reform Rabbis of Canada
Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg (he/him)

ARZA Canada
Lee Weisser (she/her)