Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid met with American Jewish leaders in New York on Monday as part of a United States trip intended to repair ties amid a divisive debate on judicial reform back home.
The meeting was hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America at UJA-Federation of New York’s headquarters in Manhattan and included senior heads of prominent mainstream Jewish groups in North America including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations.
Lapid has been a vocal opponent of the judicial reform legislation proposed by the coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu, who succeeded Lapid as prime minister of Israel late last year. He has encouraged the mass demonstrations and a general strike that paralyzed the country and resulted in Netanyahu suspending the legislative push until the parliamentary summer session opens on April 30.
Many leaders of the North American Jewish community have also waded into Israel’s internal debate, expressing their own concerns.
Lapid spoke to the Jewish leaders in New York about the importance of the two countries’ shared democratic values. The Israeli-U.S. partnership is more important than ever, he emphasized.
He urged the senior officials not to give up on the Jewish state, saying that governments come and go but the country is here to stay.
Jewish Federations of North America Chair Julie Platt said, “We have expressed our strongest possible encouragement that every party must do its utmost to seek and find compromise” on the judicial reforms.
Lapid also met separately with Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.).