This past week, Israel has seen the detention of a Rabbi for performing a Jewish wedding outside of the Chief Rabbinate, the approval of the "Nation State law," and an amendment to the "Surrogacy law," which prevents single men and parts of the LGBTQ+ community from having a child through surrogacy.
We at the World Union of Jewish Students are concerned by the adverse effects of these developments on minority groups, and by the language and spirit of these laws. For decades we have fought for human rights and equal rights, for pluralism and tolerance, for the Jewish value of ואהבת לרעך כמוך.
Every person deserves to be treated with respond, and afforded equal rights and protection under the law. We cannot stand idle while our LGBTQ+ friends are discriminated against; refused the right to build a family of their own through surrogacy. We will not accept the notion that minorities in the Jewish state are any less than equal citizens, to be welcomed and protected, their culture, languages and traditions cherished as an integral part of the fabric of Israeli society.
Israel's Proclamation of Independence, crafter by our nation's founders and heroes, promised us this: "[The State of Israel] will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture."
We urge the lawmakers and law enforcers of our country to remember this promise in language and in spirit, to pass laws which protect our minorities and afford every citizen in Israel equal rights and treatment.
For decades Israel has been a leader in its democratic and social values, a beacon of light upon the nations. We must work together to maintain our moral integrity, and continue to foster an Israeli society baed on democratic freedoms and Jewish values.