Board of Deputies sets date for special Israel debate next month

Deputies also promised vote at August session


The Board of Deputies has set the date for a special debate on Israel for August 23 with three motions on the table.

Sheila Gewolb, the Board’s senior vice-president Sheila Gewolb has confirmed that deputies will be able to vote in the debate, following a meeting of its international division on Thursday night.

In the run-up to the event the Board plans to hold educational training for deputies led by presenters offering “different points of view” on the subject, she said.

The Board wanted to make sure that deputies could have an “informed debate,” she said. “We don’t want to highlight divisions."

It aimed “to encourage everyone to express their views in a full, frank and respectful way during the debate,” she said.

The debate was triggered by the tabling of a resolution criticising “unilateral” steps by Israel or the Palestinians.

Proposed by Tal Ofer and Richard Cohen, it was seen as a criticism of Israeli plans to annex up to 30 per cent of the West Bank.

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had toyed with the idea of making a start on its implementation at the beginning of this month, it has so far held back amid strong international opposition.

Under the Board's procedure, deputies’ resolutions can be debated only if the relevant division first gives the go-ahead for them to be put on the agenda.

While Mr Ofer and Mr Cohen had wanted the resolution to be heard at this month’s plenary, Board leaders preferred to wait to convene a special session devoted to the issue in August. Normally, deputies do not meet during the month.

An alternative resolution, proposed by Adrian Cohen and Ben Crowne, seeks to reaffirm the Board’s policy of support for a two-state solution and opposing boycotts.

A third motion, backed by Anthony Bolchover and Karen Solomon, makes no mention of a two-state solution but welcomes any agreement reached by Israel and the Palestinians.

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