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Urging our Members of Congress to Support Foreign Aid to Israel

I joined the leaders of the major denominations of Judaism to urge our members of Congress to support Foreign Aid to Israel.  The letter read:

Dear Senator/Representative:

As Rabbis in the American Jewish community we write today to express our unified support for the State of Israel and to underscore the vital importance of U.S. foreign aid to Israel. It is essential that foreign aid to Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, continue as part of a strong far-reaching foreign aid package that allows nations to address poverty, global warming, democracy building, human rights and disease prevention.

Aid to Israel is an investment in U.S. security and Israel’s security. President Obama’s proposed FY2012 budget includes an increase in foreign aid to Israel to $3.075 billion as part of the 10-year agreement signed in 2007. This aid is essential to Israel, which spends a higher percentage of its gross domestic product on its own defense than any other industrialized country in the world. U.S. foreign aid reaffirms our commitment to a democratic ally in the Middle East and gives Israel the military edge to maintain its security and the economic stability to pursue peace. Furthermore, U.S. foreign aid to Israel represents a strong investment in the American economy; Israel spends over 75% of its aid in the United States supporting American jobs.

It is essential that foreign aid to Israel not be separated from the rest of the foreign aid package. Aid to Israel, like foreign aid in general, is an investment in the future. The United States spends just over one penny of every federal dollar on foreign aid, a small price to pay for a world-wide investment in democracy, economic development and political stability, increasing the quality of life for millions of people outside the United States. As Jews, we insist that the U.S. do all that it can to continue to be a leader in the world supporting basic human rights and we are unwilling to compromise this for aid to Israel or vice versa.

As Jews we are committed to the vision of the Prophets and Jewish sages who considered the pursuit of peace a religious obligation. Foreign Aid to Israel is an essential way that we can fulfill our obligation to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:15).

We urge you to vote for continued U.S. foreign aid to Israel and to support foreign aid broadly as a means of advancing American leadership and interests around the world. For a full list of Rabbis that signed this letter nationally, visit www.rac.org.

The letter was also signed by:

Rabbi Eric Yoffie
President
Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Steven C. Wernick
Executive Vice President and CEO
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Rabbi Steven Weil
Executive Vice President
Orthodox Union

Rabbi Fredi Cooper
President
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Rabbi Jonathan Stein
President
Central Conference of American Rabbis

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld
Executive Vice President
Rabbinical Assembly

Rabbi Basil Herring
Executive Vice President
Rabbinical Council of America

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director and Counsel
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

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