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ISRAEL AND OTHER
INTERNATIONAL CONCERNS

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Resolution on the 50TH Anniversary of the State of Israel

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs joins the entire world Jewish community in celebration of the 50th Anniversary year of the establishment of the State of Israel. For a half century, the Jewish people have realized their dream of living in a sovereign Jewish homeland.
With heartfelt joy we salute the people of Israel and all those who have participated in transforming our people's ancient dream into a modern political reality and establishing an independent Jewish state based on the prophetic vision of creating a "light unto the nations."

We note with pride Israel's record as a modern democracy and the commitment expressed in its Declaration of Independence to freedom, justice and peace, and to the pursuit of the social, political, religious and cultural rights of all of its citizens.
We believe one of the best ways to celebrate Israel's 50th is to visit Israel and to participate in the special 1998 CJF General Assembly in Jerusalem and in the many other special programs, tours and conferences planned by our constituent community relations councils and national organizations.

We urge the entire American Jewish community to join with the people of Israel in celebrating the Jubilee Year of the State of Israel, united in our hopes and desire for a strong and secure independent Jewish State at peace with its neighbors.


Resolution on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) supports the initiative to establish a permanent and effective International Criminal Court (ICC), and urges the United States to take a lead role in this effort. The proposed ICC, scheduled to be the subject of a major diplomatic conference in Rome in 1998, would be empowered to prosecute individuals accused of serious violations of international law, particularly genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The JCPA views the establishment of this permanent judicial forum with appropriate safeguards to avoid politicizing the process-- building upon the ad hoc tribunals set up in recent years to address violations in Bosnia and Rwanda -- as an important step forward in securing international human rights. The ICC also would provide a mechanism for enforcing the Genocide Convention, a treaty the JCPA has long supported.

Jewish tradition teaches that none may remain indifferent to human suffering. The JCPA's support for the ICC reflects our community's fundamental commitment to the protection of human rights and dignity for all peoples.

Resolution on Ethiopian Educational Integration in Israel

Background:

The American Jewish community has long rejoiced in the miracle of the return of Ethiopian Jews to their homeland after centuries of separation. The Israeli government, with the partnership of the Diaspora communities, has made extraordinary efforts towards this community's successful absorption into Israeli society. However, this integration effort is not yet complete, particularly in the field of education. The gap between Ethiopian and other Israeli students is growing. Already there are indications of a growing disaffection within the Ethiopian community. Should these trends continue, Israel may have to face more serious social and economic problems within the Ethiopian community in Israel.

The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), in cooperation with other American Jewish organizations, has played a leading role in organizing a coalition for Ethiopian educational integration, both in Israel and the United States, to examine this problem and to develop an effective response. This new coalition has examined various programs that have been successful in raising the educational achievements of Ethiopian children and youths. These consultations have resulted in the formulation of a comprehensive ten-city plan.

Over the past few months, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Anti-Defamation League, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and other leading national and local American Jewish organizations have shared the ten-city plan with high-level Israeli government officials. These officials have expressed their support for the work of the Coalition of Ethiopian Educational Integration. Unfortunately, to date, efforts by the Israeli government have not met the educational needs of Ethiopian Jewish children.

Action Recommendations: In light of the critical situation facing Ethiopian students in Israel, JCPA urges its member agencies to:

  • urge the Government of Israel to support the Ten-City Plan, allocate and distribute the necessary funds to address this situation, and implement the recommendations of the coalition. Together, the Israeli government and the coalition must develop a system of review and accountability.
  • educate members of the community about this issue, through speakers, background materials, and meetings with Ethiopian Jewish activists in Israel, in order to enhance advocacy efforts with Israeli officials.
  • consider ways in which they can play a direct role, including through local initiatives, to advance the Ethiopian absorption effort.

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