Rabbinic Sign-on Letter

In early December 2012 the Israeli government announced plans to advance the construction of settlements in the E1 area of the West Bank, as well as to authorize the building of thousands of new settlement units in East Jerusalem.

As rabbis, cantors, rabbinical students, and cantorial students, we encourage you to join us in expressing concern to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israeli settlement expansion.

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:

We write as American rabbis and cantors who are deeply committed to the long-term security and viability of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. We have lived in Israel, visited frequently, brought our communities there, and preached and taught about Israel within our synagogues, schools, camps, and other institutions. Many of us have children, parents, siblings, and other relatives and friends living in Israel. Some of us hold Israeli citizenship.

We and our communities have worked hard to build bipartisan support for Israel. We have raised millions of dollars to develop the State of Israel and its civil society. And we have vigorously opposed efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State.

All of us believe that the ultimate safety and security of Israel as a Jewish state will depend on reaching a peace agreement that also allows Palestinians to live safely and securely in their own state.

For these reasons, we are deeply concerned about the recent announcement to advance the construction of settlements in the E1 area of the West Bank, as well as to authorize the building of thousands of new settlement units in East Jerusalem. The current situation in the occupied territories violates Palestinian human rights and undercuts the very values on which Israel was founded – democracy, liberty, justice, and peace.

We fear that building settlements in E1 would be the final blow to a peaceful solution. If Israel builds in E1, it will cut East Jerusalem off from its West Bank surroundings and effectively bifurcate the West Bank. In doing so, E1 will literally represent an obstacle to a two-state solution.

As American rabbis and cantors, we also fear that construction in E1 damages the critical relationship between Israel and the United States. Construction in E1 would violate repeated commitments to the United States, dating back to 1994, not to build settlements in the area.

The Mishna (Pirke Avot 1:12) tells us, "Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving humankind and bringing them closer to the Torah." The commentary on this saying in Avot d'Rabbi Natan tells us that it is not enough merely to love peace, but that one must pursue it as strenuously as Aaron did.

For the sake of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, we urge you to cease plans to construct new settlements in E1, elsewhere in the West Bank, or in East Jerusalem. We pray that you follow Aaron’s example by returning to the negotiating table as quickly as possible.

We cannot afford to weaken the strong bond between Israel and the United States. Nor can we risk sabotaging our best chance to end the decades-long conflict that has claimed too many Israeli and Palestinian lives.

With prayers for the peace of Jerusalem,
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126-150 of 732 signatures
Number Date Name Location
607 Fri Dec 21 07:44:16 EST 2012 Sara Kheel Vero Beach, Florida
606 Fri Dec 21 07:38:15 EST 2012 Lucy Fishbein Short Hills, New Jersey
605 Fri Dec 21 06:14:04 EST 2012 Dena Feingold Kenosha, Wisconsin
604 Thu Dec 20 20:51:11 EST 2012 Gavriel McDaniel-Miccio Denver, Colorado
603 Thu Dec 20 17:27:43 EST 2012 Vivie Mayer Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
602 Thu Dec 20 17:26:37 EST 2012 Marna Sapsowitz Olympia, Washington
601 Thu Dec 20 17:13:03 EST 2012 Yair Robinson Wilmington, Delaware
600 Thu Dec 20 16:56:50 EST 2012 Eliana Jacobowitz Somerville, Massachusetts
599 Thu Dec 20 15:14:37 EST 2012 Lawrence Raphael San Francisco, California
598 Thu Dec 20 15:05:28 EST 2012 Roly Matalon New York, New York
597 Thu Dec 20 14:57:04 EST 2012 Felicia Sol New York, New York
596 Thu Dec 20 13:34:01 EST 2012 Jill Hausman New York, New York
595 Thu Dec 20 13:20:58 EST 2012 Henry Zoob Westwood, Massachusetts
594 Thu Dec 20 11:45:25 EST 2012 Isaac Serotta Highland Park, IL
593 Thu Dec 20 11:19:49 EST 2012 Melanie Aron Los Gatos, California
592 Thu Dec 20 10:27:37 EST 2012 Arnold Saltzman Washington, District of Columbia
591 Thu Dec 20 10:22:02 EST 2012 Sharon Sobel Westborough, MA
590 Thu Dec 20 10:06:57 EST 2012 Scott Aaron Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
589 Thu Dec 20 09:35:09 EST 2012 Sigma Coran Cincinnati, Ohio
588 Thu Dec 20 09:11:40 EST 2012 CHAVA BAHLE Suttons Bay, Michigan
587 Thu Dec 20 08:32:38 EST 2012 Herbert Weinberg Jerusalem, ISRAEL, ot
586 Thu Dec 20 06:36:22 EST 2012 Ed Stafman Bozeman, Montana
585 Thu Dec 20 05:07:05 EST 2012 Richard Marker Bethesda, Maryland
584 Thu Dec 20 01:25:14 EST 2012 Aviva Katzman Chicago, Illinois
583 Wed Dec 19 21:44:59 EST 2012 Marc Margolius New York, NY
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