Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – welcomed the decision of the Israeli Cabinet to not order the Israeli Defense Forces to destroy the synagogues which remain in the evacuated communities of Gaza.
This turn of events came after the Union took the unprecedented step to directly file a submission with the Supreme Court of Israel in a pending case (see – http://ou.org.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/5765/BaGatz%20Ltr%20re%20Gaza%20Shuls.pdf – petitioning the Court not to permit the Israeli government to order the IDF to destroy the synagogues in evacuated Gaza communities), and after the Union expressed its “deep disappointment” when the Court ruled last week that it would not instruct the Israeli government otherwise,
Nathan Diament, the Union’s director of public policy, issued the following statement:
The Orthodox Union welcomes the decision of the cabinet – whatever its motivation – to leave the synagogues intact and to seek an arrangement by which they will not be subsequently destroyed. This decision is consistent with Jewish law and teaching and with the ruling of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel whose views on such matters should be followed by the State in the first instance. In addition to the foregoing, we also welcome this ruling for, as we stated in our submission to the Court, Israel’s destruction of these synagogues would have been “tantamount to granting permission to any government around the world to destroy synagogues which lack a population if sufficient size to sustain them.”
Following this decision, the test now falls to the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate their capacity for governance by ensuring that these synagogues are protected from desecration, as do so many other governing authorities around the globe. We call upon the international community to work toward securing proper treatment for these synagogues as well.