It is with deep concern that ARZA Australia has learnt of the KKL (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) plan to expand Jewish settlements by purchasing private land in the West Bank.

As the Zionist arm of the Union for Progressive Judaism and with the support of UPJ, Netzer and the Assembly of Rabbis and Cantors, we feel a sense of duty and deep obligation to appeal to the full Board of Directors of KKL to consider the concerns raised by both the Progressive/Reform movements within Israel and throughout the Diaspora and refuse support for this plan.

It is your support of ARZA Australia that has meant that our world wide body, ARZENU has been able to bring this all important issue to the table in Israel and make a difference.

When the matter comes before the KKL full board of directors for approval, it is hoped that the proposal will not be approved. This meeting will not occur until after the March 23 elections.

According to media reports “the decision to defer the board’s decision until after the election followed threats by several members of KKL leadership to resign in addition to a request by Defense Minister Benny Gantz”. Jerusalem Post

Importantly from a Progressive Jewish perspective, Gilad Kariv, Director of the IMPJ and a candidate in the coming election said “the proposal threatened the very existence of the so-called National Institutions as well as KKL-JNF itself”. He said that “we are determined to block it via public, political and judicial means and that any decisions of the KKL board to approve the plans would be challenged in the High Court”.

The Conservative Movement in Israel also supported the IMPJ position and said such a plan would damage KKL/JNF’s legitimacy amongst Jews in the Diaspora who do not support settlements, but who support the institution’s activities financially.

Although at present there are no partners for peace, steps which adversely affect and undermine the prospect of a two-state solution should be avoided wherever possible.

Finally, we love Israel as a Jewish and democratic State and support it in the  name of safety, security and the moral character we believe in.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President