More than 400 rabbis, cantors, and rabbinical and cantorial students from around the country — including some 20 from New Jersey — have signed onto an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposing plans announced in early December to advance construction of settlements in the E1 area of the West Bank and authorize the building of thousands of new housing units in east Jerusalem.
The text of the letter claims that the move undermines the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state and the prospects for reaching a two-state solution, while damaging United States-Israel relations.
“We fear that building settlements in E1 would be the final blow to a peaceful solution,” the letter says, while expressing concern that “the current situation in the occupied territories violates Palestinian human rights and undercuts the very values on which Israel was founded — democracy, liberty, justice, and peace.”
The letter appeal was coordinated by Americans for Peace Now, J Street, and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America.
Among the NJ rabbis who signed the letter are Elliott Tepperman, Montclair; Ruth Gais, Summit; Leonard Levin, South Orange; Steven Kushner, Bloomfield; Richard Hammerman, Caldwell; Mark Mallach, Springfield; Darby Leigh, Montclair; and Charles Kroloff, Westfield.