President of OU Calls Upon American Friends of Israel to Respect Israel’s Government

Posted on November 29, 2005 In Press Releases

Today — in the wake of last week’s dissolution of Israel’s parliament
by President Katsav and the scheduling of elections for March, 2006 —
Stephen J. Savitsky, President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish
Congregations of America (the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella
organization) called upon American Jews who are friends and supporters
of Israel to respect and not intervene — through direct acts or through
lobbying the United States government — in Israeli government decisions
and in the upcoming Israeli elections. Mr. Savitsky issued the following

“Jews throughout the world, and certainly in the United States, take
great pride in the fact that Israel has been a beacon of democracy in
the Mideast for more than half a century.

“Jews in the United States hold diverse and passionate opinions about
Israel and the challenges she confronts. This passion is laudable when
it deepens our connection to the Jewish State.

“But this same passion ought not be channeled into inappropriate
interventions in the policy decisions of the duly elected Israeli
government, Israel’s elections or into lobbying the American government
to pressure Israel to make concessions it would not otherwise make.

“Reports of recent efforts by Mr. Seymour Reich and the Israel Policy
Forum to urge American government officials to pressure Israel to make
certain concessions is not only disrespectful to Israel’s government but
offensive to millions of American Jews who categorically reject such an

“The period from now until March 28 is one in which friends of Israel
must respect the right of her citizens to passionately debate issues and
vote for leaders who share their views. It is not a time — especially
in the wake of the wrenching withdrawal from Gaza — for actions which
undermine Israel, even if motivated by good intentions. We call upon all
friends of Israel to adhere to these principles.”