In 1970, during my first months in Israel, I lived with two fellows who were learning at HUC, the Hebrew Union College.

They very much wanted to live in Israel.

Yet they and their fellow Reform rabbinic students were concerned about their status in the Jewish state.

A prominent Reform rabbi, Ezra Spicehandler, arranged for HUC students to meet and express their concerns to David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, by then an elder statesman, having just retired from the Knesset.

After hearing the concerns of the HUC students, Ben Gurion responded with a message of reality.

BG answered their concerns that if American Reform rabbis want recognition, they should bring 300,000 Reform Jews.

Ben Gurion’s response envisioned the dilemma that non-Othodox Jews cope with in Israel today.

An estimated 20,000 Jews are active in 64 Reform, Conservative and Reconstuctionist synagogues around Israel, ​as compared with 1970, when you could count the amount of non-Orthodox synagogues on your fingertips.

Yet these numbers do not compare in numbers to the estimated two million Orthodox Jews in Israel — of all stripes — who hold at least 40 seats in the current Israeli Knesset, both in religious parties and in parties that do not define themselves as religious.

Today, when an Israeli prime minister considers vital decisions, a constituency of two million outweighs a community of 20,000, regardless of how many ​supporters reside in the Diaspora.

Had Reform Jews brought 300,000 Jews in 1970, their sheer numbers would have catapulted them into a position where they could have shaken the balance of Jewish religious power today.

Decisions are made by leaders who live in the Jewish state, not by those who support Israel from afar.

Ben Gurion’s observations were prophetic.​

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/ben-gurion-feedback-to-the-reform-movement-47-years-ago-was-prophetic/

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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