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Israeli Reform Leader Denounces U.S. Anti-Semitism

Israeli Reform Leader Denounces U.S. Anti-Semitism

Dripping spray paint heart on a concrete wall

As I listen with horror to everything that is happening to Jewish community centers and day schools in North America, I am reminded of the questions North American Jews ask me when they hear about Reform synagogues being vandalized in Israel or our leaders being threatened: Are you OK? What can your friends from afar do to help? What gives you hope?

What truly gives me hope is when I see how many people of different faiths come together after one of these attacks to help rebuild. Things like Muslims helping clean Jewish cemeteries, and synagogues opening their doors to a Muslim community whose mosque was burned. Knowing that there are so many out there willing to help can bring some comfort when the forces of intolerance appear.

We civil rights activists in Israel know what it is like to be attacked. We know about the need to have resilience when facing our attackers. In moments of despair, I focus on my country’s core values, find like-minded people, and take action to ensure those values are implemented. David Ben Gurion said in 1954: “The State of Israel will not be judged by its riches, army or advanced technology, but by its moral image and human values.” 

Later this week, Rabbi Noa Sattath will be speaking at the Knesset’s Israel-Diaspora Committee, condemning Israel’s silence in the face of rising antisemitic threats and violence in the United States since the November elections. Netanyahu has a moral obligation to speak up about antisemitism in America, and to demand that President Donald Trump take immediate and concrete steps to put a stop to it. Israel has to be part of the worldwide effort against the rise of hate and bigotry everywhere. 

This is a time to reach across continents to hold hands and to support one another. The only way to fight intolerance is with tolerance, and together, we will share hope for a future steeped in mutual respect and peace.

By the time you read this I will be in the United States visiting Jewish communities in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Buffalo, New York. I hope to see many of you.

Anat Hoffman is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in Israel. She is also the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, a group of Jewish women and men from around the world who strive to achieve the right of women to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Anat Hoffman
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