Equal Treatment for Yosef Kibita and Ugandan Jews in Israel

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We the undersigned write out of grave concern for Israel and the Jewish people, and because of our passionate belief in a democratic State of Israel as a homeland for all Jews.

The recent decision of Israel’s Interior Ministry to deny the request of Yosef Kibita of the Jewish Abayudaya community in Uganda to make Aliyah, and the decision to deny recognition of the Abayudaya as a “recognized” Jewish community, violate Israeli law and Zionist principles.  Under the law, a convert may make Aliyah if he or she is a member of a Jewish community recognized by one of the three principal streams of the Jewish religion and/or by the Jewish Agency for Israel.  In the case of the Abayudaya, they are a recognized community by the Jewish Agency, as well as by Masorti Olami, Masorti Israel and the Conservative Movement.

These actions must not stand as they threaten Israeli democracy and unity of the Jewish people. We therefore call upon the Israeli government to apply the law guided by the core Jewish values of Tzedek (justice), Rachamim (compassion) and Klal Yisrael (unity). 

We urge you to immediately issue a statement of policy affirming the law and these eternal principles.  Moreover, that you provide all bodies of the State of Israel with clear guidance so that individuals of all denominations and from all regions of the world -- including Yosef Kibita and the Abayudaya -- can be welcomed to Israel to visit, to study and to join with fellow Israelis through Aliyah.