This has been sent to us by IRAC (The Israel Religious Action Center), the leading civil and human rights organisation addressing issues of religion and state in Israel. The public and legal arm of the Reform Movement, IRAC advocates on behalf of a broadly inclusive Israeli democracy based on the principles of social justice and equality.
Just last week a delegation of Progressive Jewish leaders met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the historic Kotel compromise and agreement. They were impressed with the Prime Minister’s commitment to the plan of creating “one wall for one people.”
Unfortunately, only days later we witnessed the current, cruel reality at the Kotel – the detention of Lesley Sachs. As Women of the Wall was completing its monthly Rosh Chodesh service, Lesley was interrogated by the police for bringing a Torah, donated by Sacramento’s Congregation B’nai Israel, to the prayer services.
Lesley was the deputy director of IRAC – the Israel Religious Action Center – for many years and is currently the Executive Director of Women of the Wall and a board member of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ).
Reality changes in high-level meetings, but it also changes with facts on the ground. Yesterday we were reminded of the significance of facts on the ground, and the incredible effort the ultra-Orthodox establishment is putting into rejecting the deal reached with the government and into destroying the notion of Jewish unity at the Wall.
We are committed to continuing meeting at high levels and negotiating, but we must also set facts on the ground. Today we are asking you to write to the Embassy of Israel and tell them: We are all Lesley Sachs. On the eve of Shavuot, when we celebrate the Torah that was given to all of us, we will not stand for women being arrested for reading from the Torah. We will continue to use all tools at our disposal to face these challenges head-on, until we achieve the full equality we deserve in Israel.