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The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest organization of Orthodox rabbis in North America, expresses alarm at the excessive criticism leveled at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for comments made in the closing days of the Israeli election.
While we commend the United States administration for its assurances of unwavering support for the security of Israel, we call upon it to desist from statements that are perceived as threats to the only democracy in the Middle East. Support of Israel is built on the rock solid foundation of our shared values of democracy and freedom. Israel is the only country in the region that preserves these values. In this election, Arabs voted freely and the chairman of the elections committee was the Arab Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran. The elections were not followed by violence and bloodshed, as other so-called “democratic” elections in the region have been. The United States and Israel share the values of Western democracies, societies built upon open education, open opportunity, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.
In the heat of a hard fought campaign, comments without context and explanation were made by Prime Minister Netanyahu. In light of the context of these comments and their intent, excessive criticism of Mr. Netanyahu for these comments from Jewish groups is sorely misplaced. There are those who would have preferred different results. Democracy, however, grants privilege to the voters, who saw national survival as the most important election issue. Israel remains committed to a peaceful solution with its neighbors, arrived at by negotiation, and not imposed from without. Israelis will beat a quick path to the negotiating table when there is a partner with whom to negotiate, rather than a terrorist government in Gaza, and a weak, corrupt one in the Palestinian Authority whose imams call for the annihilation of all Jews.
We call on all Americans to renew their commitment to Israel, a commitment rooted in the prophetic visions of our Bible, visions of justice, kindness, peace and the dignity of all people. American support of Israel is predicated on our shared visions, a support that rises above occasional differences.