A bitter war of words erupted between the Board of Deputies and Yachad on Wednesday, after more than 700 people signed a letter of protest to Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he should be doing more to achieve peace.
Yachad’s open letter to the Israeli PM expressed “deep concern that Israel is moving further away from peace and that Israel’s democratic and Jewish values are becoming seriously eroded”.
But in a furious response, Board President Jonathan Arkush laid into the group, saying he “profoundly disagreed” with the letter, which he called “deeply disappointing”.
In a statement, he said: “Yachad has the right to express an opinion and be part of the debate… In this case, we disagree quite profoundly. It is clear that Yachad’s letter is not representative of UK Jewish opinion.”
He added: “I found it deeply disappointing that in their letter, Yachad could find no positive words to say about a country which has achieved so much under such difficult circumstances.”
Lionel Kopelowitz, a past Board president, agreed with Arkush, saying: “This petition is a propaganda document blaming Israel for the lack of peace.”
In response to Arkush’s broadside, Yachad’s Hannah Weisfeld said: “This letter represents only the signatories, including 25 rabbis. It is important that these active, engaged members of the community have a platform to express their concerns.”