As reported by JTA, on Monday seven U.S. senators (all of them Jewish) sent a letter (full text) to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing concern over Israeli governmental recognition of Orthodox Judaism over the more liberal branches of Judaism. Signed by Senators Wyden, Feinstein, Frankin, Blumenthal, Cardin, Schatz, and Sanders, the letter read in part:[W]e applaud your recent decision to put a hold on a conversion bill under consideration by the Knesset. As we understand it, this bill would invest full oversight of conversions in Israel to the Chief Rabbinate. We fear this would have significant ramifications for the religious equality of all Jewish movements in Israel and we worry that our Modern Orthodox and non-Orthodox constituents will see this as an attack on their Jewishness and the status of their rabbis….We are also very concerned by the Israeli government’s recent decision to freeze a widely-agreed-upon plan to establish an egalitarian payer space at the Western Wall….We fear actions like [these] … will strain the unique relationship between our two nations, particularly if the majority of American Jews see the movements to which they are committed denied equal rights in Israel. Given all the challenges Israel faces on the international stage, we urge you not to alienate committed Zionists.
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