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Tisha b'Av and the Nation State

Rabbi Danny Freelander, President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, shared an article and statement about the Nation-State law passed by the Knesset this week, and also provided links to Rabbi Gilad Kariv's speech and FAQs.

Immediately after this Shabbat we observe Tisha B’Av.  Commentators often suggest that this tragedy befell the Jewish people because of sinat chinam,  baseless hatred or hatred for no reason.

At too many times during Jewish history, Jews have committed acts of sinam chinam by demeaning members of other Jewish groups who live out their Jewishness differently than they do.  This unuseful human instinct, feeling that our group or belief system is superior to others, can lead to discrimination, fear and hatred.  Demagogues often play to this instinct to rally their followers.

The Nation-State basic law passed by the Knesset this week comes dangerously close to declaring Jewish superiority.  We are grateful to those who lobbied the members of the Knesset, and are relieved by some of the amendments to the original drafts of the law; but we remain concerned that the bill gives special rights to Jews that are not guaranteed to all citizens of the State of Israel.

Sinat Chinam motivated much of this unfortunate law.  But we assert: all residents of Israel deserve full right– as citizens, refugees or immigrants.  That is the promise of Israel’s Declaration Independence.   And that is the hope of Progressive Jews all around the globe – that the Jewish people overcome the practice of sinat chinam.  

Click here to read Rabbi Gilad Kariv's speech.
Click here to read FAQs about the Nation-State law.

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