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Bibi has made Israel a country of broken promises

I want to believe the prime minister, but he leaves me little room to do so
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, with Richard Sandler, chairman of the Jewish Federation of North America in Tel Aviv, on October 24, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, with Richard Sandler, chairman of the Jewish Federation of North America in Tel Aviv, on October 24, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Polls show that politicians are part of a profession that is not respected and not trusted. I respect the office of Prime Minister of Israel, but I do not trust, nor can I respect, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last year, at the General Assembly (GA) in the States, Bibi promised significant funding for the Masorti and Reform movements in Israel. So far – that promise has not been fulfilled.

Last year, he told the delegates to the GA that he hoped that work on the egalitarian section of the Kotel would be completed within a year. It has yet to begin. Even worse, subsequent to a large rock falling onto the prayer platform, our ability to even touch the Kotel stones has ended and nothing has been done to repair the damage.

This year, at the GA, he promised to quickly implement most of what had been agreed to in the Kotel Agreement (negotiated over a three-year period and signed by the prime minister himself), with the exception of an “explanatory note that implied indirect recognition of the Conservative and Reform streams.” Mr. Netanyahu, that “explanatory note” is, perhaps, the single most important element of the agreement.

Netanyahu told the GA delegates gathered in Tel Aviv, “Israel is the home of every Jew. Period.” Really Mr. Netanyahu? If you are serious about this, please explain why our Masorti Jews in Uganda, Kenya, and other emerging communities are unable to make aliyah or obtain Masa student visas. Why must we challenge your appointed Minister of the Interior in court?  #LetMyPeopleCome.

Netanyahu told the GA delegates that all Jews are welcome in Israel. “I don’t care if they’re Reform, Conservative or Orthodox,” he said in front of a cheering audience. But is that so?  Natanyahu has backed a new conversion proposal by former MK Moshe Nisim that would revoke current law and deny recognition as “Jewish” to those converted by the non-Orthodox denominations here in Israel. Standing in his way of passing the “Conversion Law” is opposition from the zealously Orthodox politicians who feel that the law does not give them even more power than they now have. It seems to bother him, not at all, that this is yet another slap in the face to our rabbis, our members, and, worst of all, our sincere converts.

Netanyahu said that his main concern is the loss of identity by Diaspora Jewry. Really?! How can an intelligent man not realize that the very policies he promotes are largely at the heart of the distancing of so many from Israel, particularly among the younger generation? It becomes very difficult for leaders to promote love of Israel (which they do) even as the government turns its back on us while papering over the problems.

We are proud of Israel. So much is right here. But the double-speak of our prime minister is not.

Fredrich Neitzsche has been quoted as saying, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” Mr. Netanyahu, please help me believe in you.

About the Author
Rabbi Andrew Sacks is the director of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel and the Religious Affairs Bureau.
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