JCRC statement on Israeli elections
JCRC congratulates the Israeli people on holding a successful election and encourages the new government to resist the pull of extremism and to hold to its founding democratic principles
November 7, 2022
Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:
“We congratulate Benjamin Netanyahu on his historic victory last week. The voters of Israel have spoken, and we respect the results of the election. The high turnout in this election across all sectors of Israeli society and the competitive campaign in which a full spectrum of viewpoints was represented at the ballot box is a reminder that Israel is a vibrant democracy.
“Supporting the people and State of Israel is the work we proudly do every day. From our advocacy at Minnesota’s State Capitol and before the State Board of Investment opposing BDS and passing Iran divestment legislation, to our award-winning Speakers Bureau, which brings Israel’s story to audiences throughout Minnesota, and organizing trips to Israel for State Legislators and other community leaders, Zionism is at the core of who we are as Jews and as a JCRC.
“The people of Israel, including in our partnership communities of Rehovot and Sovev Kinneret, are our family. Their futures are inextricably linked to our own.
“We are proud that Israel’s own Declaration of Independence enshrines the centrality of the principle of equality for all of its inhabitants. This foundational commitment to equality is as relevant today as it was when Israel was founded nearly 75 years ago.
“It is because we are Zionists who love Israel so deeply and believe in an Israel which fosters understanding, respect, and equality among all of its inhabitants, that we are compelled to express our concern about the possibility of certain bigoted politicians holding positions in Israel’s next government.
“As Dennis Ross and David Makovsky wrote, ‘there is a campaign against Israel and it is important not to strengthen the hand of those determined to weaken the relationship. Government formation in Israel is an Israeli decision. In normal circumstances, we, as Americans, would not be offering our counsel on it. But these are not normal circumstances, and, in good conscience, we cannot remain silent knowing the enormous impact that the words and actions of Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich as senior ministers would have on the US-Israeli relationship.’ We agree.
“We hope that Israel’s new leaders will put aside their ideological differences and personal grievances to form a stable, democratic, and Jewish government not dependent on extremists.
“Our JCRC will continue to do the work of fostering peace through understanding of the competing narratives that drive the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with our nationally adopted program, The Letters Project. We are committed to continuing our work to create more dialogue, deeper empathy, and compassionate leaders who believe in a Zionism that sees Israel’s Jewish character and its democratic character as inseparable halves of a just whole.”
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights antisemitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities