The Central Conference of American Rabbis opposes the Trump Administration’s decision to eliminate funding for United Nations refugee assistance programs in Palestinian Territories or programs that encourage coexistence between Israelis and their Palestinian neighbors.
Reform rabbis understand that the Palestinian Authority is marked by corruption, and that not all assistance reaches its intended recipients. As part of our ongoing commitment to developing our partnership for peace, we continue to call upon the P.A. to cease its demonization of Israel, Israelis, and all Jews in its educational system, and to end its support for terrorism.
The funds slated to be cut, however, were not for the Palestinian Authority, but were intended for humanitarian purposes. Cutting these funds, which go toward education, healthcare and other basic needs, serves as a punishment for the Palestinian people, not Palestinian leadership. Reform rabbis are particularly concerned that in addition to essential needs, the budget cuts include funding for programs intended to bring understanding and build bridges between Israelis and Palestinians at the grass roots level.
We are taught to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:14). Pursuit of peace often requires difficult and complex work, even with imperfect partners, but finding paths to peace remains Judaism’s highest calling.
We urge the Trump Administration to restore U.S. funding for humanitarian and coexistence programs in the Palestinian Territories.
Rabbi David E. Stern
Rabbi Steven A. Fox
Central Conference of American Rabbis