As graduates of Australia's Jewish day schools, youth movements and student leadership, we demand our communal leadership and institutions take an active stand and make their position against annexation known.
We write to you as proud graduates of Australia’s Jewish day schools, youth movement Shnat programs, AUJS programs and other community organised trips to Israel.
We believe that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live with dignity and equality. As Israel’s newly elected “emergency government” proceeds with its plans to formally annex territory in the West Bank as soon as 1 July, we write with concern about the risks such a move would pose to the future of democracy and equality for all Israelis and Palestinians.
Major institutions and organisations in the Australian Jewish community have long stood up for what is best for Israel. Now should be no exception.
Israel’s security establishment is telling us that annexation is a bad strategic move. Israeli civil society organisations are telling us it will damage Israel’s democracy. Diplomatic experts are saying this will undermine Israel’s place on the world stage.
Annexation threatens to formalise and make permanent the unequal and unjust system of occupation that Israel has maintained for 53 years. In the West Bank, there are two separate systems of law: civil law for Israeli citizens and military law for Palestinian non-citizens. Now, with the encouragement of the Trump administration, Israel’s leadership has announced that it intends to maintain permanent control over the territory it has occupied since June 1967, denying the millions of Palestinians who live there citizenship and basic civil rights in perpetuity.
For decades, we have watched our communal institutions proclaim their support for a two-state solution as the only way to secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. We will be turning our backs on this solution, if we do not speak up now.
Yet in word and deed, these same institutions are silent as Israel makes a unilateral move which undermines that vision of Israel as both Jewish and democratic. We urge the leadership of our community to act in every possible way to oppose this disastrous step.
As we learn from the wisdom of our sages, shtika kehoda’a damya – silence is complicity.
This is true especially now. Now is a time when your voice matters and when your actions will be counted.
We demand our communal leadership and institutions take an active stand and make their position against annexation known.
They cannot stand idly by as Israel's government takes steps that are antithetical to both Israel's future as a democratic state and to the prospects of a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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