“Those who think that a real civil war, with human lives, is a border we won’t cross, have no idea.” In Israel’s 75th year, “the abyss is within touching distance.” – President of Israel Isaac Herzog
Dear Canadian Jewish Leaders,
We are Jewish Canadians from all backgrounds, religious movements, and political beliefs, united in our fears and concerns for the future of Israel and the Zionist dream. Our love of the Jewish State compels us to implore our Canadian Jewish communal institutions to take a stand with all means at their disposal.
The widening schism in Israeli society represents two incompatible futures. One which is committed to the founding ideals of democracy, justice, and peace enshrined in Israel’s declaration of independence and one which eschews those principles for authoritarianism and extremism. Only one can prevail.
President Herzog’s warning is a wake-up call. It cannot be dismissed as rhetoric, alarmism, or politics – they are a statesman’s attempt to prevent his country from being torn apart. We are with him. Silence and inaction in the face of our brothers and sisters in Israel taking up arms against one another is not neutrality – it is complicity.
Some Canadian Jewish leaders have made the case not to criticize Israel in public. They’ve insinuated that if we speak up, it will lead to an increase in antisemitism and our enemies will use it against us. The reverse is actually true – rising antisemitism is deeply troubling and not speaking up against the extremism in Israel’s government only adds fuel to the fire.
Make no mistake - this tactic will not silence us. As Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israeli Democracy Institute stated on a JFNA webinar on January 5, 2023: “Israel is a Jewish democratic state by definition. The Jewish people have skin in the game, and have a constitutional role”.
As committed members of the Jewish community, we have given our time, money, and energy to build Jewish life across Canada. Now, we are asking the same organizations we support to use their strength, influence, and the power of their investments in Israel to prevent the country we love from passing the point of no return.
Doing what is right is never easy and change is uncomfortable. With Israel being torn apart, discomfort is the least we can endure for the future of the Jewish State. We need you to join us in defending its future.