OU Disappointed with Award of Prize to Professor Sternhell

Posted on February 11, 2008 In Press Releases

“This sends a terrible message to all Israelis, no matter their political stances or religious beliefs.”

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, expressed severe disappointment today upon learning that the Israel Prize in Political Science has been awarded to Professor Ze’ev Sternhell, an academic whose writings and statements are beyond the pale of legitimate, civil dissent, stating for instance that “Only he who is willing to storm [the Jewish settlement of] Ofra with tanks will be able to block the fascist danger threatening to drown Israeli democracy,” and that “There is no doubt about the legitimacy of [Palestinian] armed resistance in the territories themselves. If the Palestinians had a little sense, they would concentrate their struggle against the settlements… and refrain from planting bombs west of the Green Line.”

UOJCA President Stephen J. Savitsky and Executive Vice President Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb stated:

“We are deeply concerned by the award of Israel’s most prestigious civilian honor to someone who has called for use of Israeli Defense Forces tanks on those Jews living in Judea and Samaria as well as making statements that justify Arab terror over the Green Line. This sends a terrible message to all Israelis, no matter their political stances or religious beliefs.

The Orthodox Union believes any political or policy disagreements should be conducted with honor, respect and tolerance. We have spoken out when even those who may claim to speak for a portion of our constituency have made remarks beyond the pale, and we reiterate here that “Deracheha Darchei Noam” – the ways of the Torah are pleasant and all of its paths are peaceable.”


Note to editors: The UOJCA has condemned hateful and inappropriate speech by members of the Neturei Karta as well as by Israeli Rabbi Wolpe. Those statements may be found on our website at https://advocacy.ou.org:443/.