Jewish Federations of North America hosted former Prime Minister and current Opposition Leader MK Yair Lapid Monday in a meeting with North American Jewish leadership in New York.
The convening, which took place at the UJA-Federation of New York, included leaders from Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel Policy Forum, National Council of Jewish Women, Hillel International, Orthodox Union, Reconstructing Judaism, Israel Judaism Committee, National Coalition Supporting Soviet Jewry, Zioness, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, and UJA-Federation of New York.
The meeting took place as the debate over a proposed judicial overhaul rages in Israel. Last month, 30 Federation leaders participated in an extraordinary fly-in to Israel, urging a path to compromise under the auspices of the framework advanced by President Isaac Herzog. Federations have been vocal about the importance of protecting checks and balances and minority rights in any final deal.
Jewish Federations of North America Chair Julie Platt said it was important to find common ground and build bridges between competing points of view.
“We know that the differences of opinion in Israel today are deep and challenging. We in the Jewish Federation system have expressed our opinions where we felt it necessary to do so, as have other organizations represented here this evening,” she said. “But above all, together with so many other organizations in this meeting, we have expressed our strongest possible encouragement that every party must do its utmost to seek and find compromise.”
Platt also extended the community's condolences and heartbreak for the loss of innocent life in the recent wave of terror attacks.
The meeting took place less than two weeks ahead of the Jewish Federations' Israel at 75 General Assembly, which will bring Jewish leadership from across North America to Israel to celebrate its 75th birthday, honor its fallen over memorial day, and engage with Israeli leaders over the central issues linking the Israeli and North American Jewish communities.
Both President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are set to address the gathering.
Lapid, who had previously visited the United States during his tenure as Prime Minister, emphasized the importance of shared democratic values between the United States and Israel and said the U.S. was an important partner in supporting Israel as a democratic, Jewish state.
He told the group that the U.S. Jewry cannot give up on Israel. He said that while governments come and go, the state of Israel is here to stay, and the bond between Israel and the United States is more important and strategic than ever.
The Jewish Federations of North America are the backbone of the organized Jewish community in the U.S. and Canada, representing over 400 Jewish communities. They raise and distribute more than $2 billion annually and through planned giving and endowment programs to build flourishing Jewish communities at home, in Israel, and around the world.