US rabbis warn of ‘irreparable harm’ from new Israeli government

More than 300 U.S. rabbis have put their signatures to a letter warning that Israel’s new government under incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could do “irreparable harm” with extremist policies.

The letter cautions against policy proposals from extreme Jewish nationalist members set to join Netanyahu’s Cabinet and government, calling them “anathema to the tenets of democracy.”

If implemented, the policies “will cause irreparable harm to the Israel-Jewish Diaspora relationship, as they are an affront to the vast majority of American Jews and our values,” the letter reads.

The rabbis argue the policies could erode women’s rights, expel Arab Israelis and override Israeli Supreme Court rulings, among other actions they say could run counter to the country’s values.

Netanyahu is set to return to power as Israel’s prime minister for the third time after pulling together a far-right governing coalition, called the most extreme administration in the country’s history.

The rabbis further pledge in their open letter to protest the hard-right administration by blocking members of the Religious Zionist Party from participating in their congregations and organizations, and call on other clergy members to do the same.

“When those who tout racism and bigotry claim to speak in the name of Israel, but deny our rights, our heritage, and the rights of the most vulnerable among us, we must take action. We must speak out,” the rabbis wrote.

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