Shlomi Ravid with family at a protest against the Israeli government's judicial reform plan in Tel Aviv.
Shlomi Ravid with family at a protest against the Israeli government's judicial reform plan in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s judicial crisis marks a moment of truth for world Jewry

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The current struggle over democracy here in Israel is by no means an internal issue. It relates to every Jew who considers Israel the nation state of the Jewish people. To every Jew who shares the legacy of hundreds of years of prayer and hope for the return to the homeland. To every Jew who embraces the struggle to build and sustain Israel.

World Jewry envisioned the state at the end of the 19th century. They mobilized people and resources to build it and have been its core source of support throughout. This partnership carries with it a responsibility to speak up and actively engage in making Israel the best it can be.

The current judicial reform initiated by the Israeli government threatens Israel’s democratic status. In that respect, the overhaul violates not only Israel’s covenant with its own citizens as expressed in the Israeli Declaration of Independence but also its covenant with the Jewish people. That covenant ensures that the state operates in accordance with Jewish and universalist democratic and ethical principles. The notion of a Jewish dictatorship represents a Jewish oxymoron that is not to be accepted by any Jew.

Jews throughout the world are confused. They debate if and how they should respond. At the end of the day, it is between each person and his or her conscience. But I will tell you how I feel. My wife Linda and I, two youngsters in our 70s, have hit the streets here in Israel every Saturday for the last 18 weeks to protest. We do it for our children and grandchildren, for the future of our country and the Jewish people.

At this difficult moment, we need your support. We need to know that you care, are worried and are involved. We need you to voice your concerns in the community and to public officials. We need to know that your hearts are with us.

It took nearly two millennia to re-establish Jewish sovereignty. We are the closest to the edge of the abyss I’ve experienced in my lifetime, and that includes bloody and devastating wars. The questions you should ask yourselves: Where were you when this took place, and how did you respond?

We can win the day out here in the streets of Israel, but we need you, your support and your love for Israel.

Shlomi Ravid
Shlomi Ravid

Shlomi Ravid was the founding director of San Francisco's Israel Center and ran it from 1996 to 1999 and from 2002 to 2006. He currently runs the Israel-based Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education.