The religious leaders of Liberal Judaism have strongly condemned Israeli plans to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, warning of the damage to the peace process and the negative imact on Israeli-diaspora relations.
In a statement on behalf of the Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors, its chairman Rabbi Aaron Goldstein said, "We cannot remain silent as the new Israeli government appears to be leading the country into unilateral annexation of sections of the West Bank."
Calling on Israel to halt its planned unilateral action, he said it "tramples on the idea expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence that the country must be developed for the benefit of all its inhabitants."
It would "severely damage the possibility of long-term peace with the Palestinians and Israel’s relationship with Jewish diaspora communities. Israel will be forced to become either a binational and non-Jewish state, or a state in which Palestinians are ruled by Israel but are denied equal rights and freedom," he said.
" We teach our children that Israel values and embodies democracy, multiculturalism and equality. We would not be able to continue to do so if this plan is implemented.
"It will also diminish our ability, as Israel advocates, to defend Israel in the public sphere."
The statement followed a "constructive conversation" with the Israeli Embassy, Rabbi Goldstein said.
"We wish to publicly state that we believe Israel is standing at a moral crossroads. We therefore call upon the Israeli government to halt this unilateral process and bring back plans that provide all its inhabitants with a hopeful future."
Last week a letter from more than 40 prominent British Jews to the Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev speaking out against the annexation plan was signed in a personal capacity by the Senior Rabbis of the Reform and Masorti movements, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg.