Last week, a group of 150 Reform Jewish leaders were attacked at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The group included Rabbi Rick Jacobs (Union for Reform Judaism), Gilad Kariv (Reform Movement in Israel), and Anat Hoffman (Israel Religious Action Center and Women of the Wall), alongside the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In the scuffle, Ultra-Orthodox men tried to rip away the Torahs the group was carrying. Security guards, employed to protect the wall, threatened to mace Rabbi Rick Jacobs. Rabbi Kariv was detained by Israeli police for questioning.
Although the situation continues to unfold, NFTY must make clear our stance on the Kotel. We believe the violence was deplorable, unmerited, and deflective of Jewish values. Unfortunately, although this incident was high profile, it’s yet another example of progressive Judaism being pushed out and trampled down at the Western Wall. It’s our duty as Reform Jews to make clear that violence is never the answer, and continue the journey towards a more whole and peaceful world, especially in the Land of Israel. We call upon Prime Minister Netanyahu to denounce this violence, and his government to continue making progress on a true pluralistic space at the Wall. Last week’s events were tragic, and highlight the importance of pushing through a progressive Jewish voice in Israel and at the Wall.
– NFTY North American Board