Lieberman’s policies spark Seder riposte

Concerns over the results of Israel’s recent elections have prompted the distribution of over 2,000 copies of special readings for Seder night to Progressive Zionists.

Noa Marom, emissary for the Liberal youth movement, LJY-Netzer, said that the insert for the Haggadah was triggered in particular by the “questionable platform” of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party led by new Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Daniel Lichman, national secretary of the Reform youth movement, RSY-Netzer, said that the policy of compulsory loyalty tests advocated by Mr Lieberman’s party “challenged the right to freedom of conscience for all Israel’s citizens.

“Pesach, with its emphasis on freedom from oppression, is the ideal time in the Jewish calendar for us to restate our commitment to challenging prejudice.”

The insert — including readings from Liberal and Reform rabbis as well as from the classical commentator, Ibn Ezra — is being sent to members of Progressive Zionist organisation Pro-Zion and the two youth movements.

Pro-Zion co-chair Charlie Gluckman said the idea had emerged from a discussion of the Israeli election results. “There has been a shift to the right of the Israeli electorate.

“We wanted to discuss what it meant from a Progressive Zionist point of view.” The material sent out was intended to be “positive and educational” rather than “polemical”.

In his own contribution to the insert, he observes that “policies introduced at the elections threaten the basic democratic rights of Israeli-Arab citizens.”

Ms Marom says in hers: “The state of Israel was built on the principle of remembrance, safeguarding the rights that we were deprived [of] in our past.

“Yet in Israel today there are many members of society who face discrimination for various reasons: Ethiopians, Muslims, migrant workers, refugees and more.”

She concludes: “We may no longer be slaves, but how can we comfortably sit at our Seder tables telling the story, knowing that there are people in Israel whose freedoms are under threat?”

    Last updated: 3:28pm, April 2 2009