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Reaction to Kadima win

by: Ben Morris - Last updated: 2006-03-29

Ehud Olmert

Ehud Olmert

As Ehud Olmert's Kadima party wins the Israeli general election, the UK Jewish community reaction has been fairly optimistic with an emphasis on supporting the ongoing resolution to the Middle East conflict.

In a statement, the Board of Deputies said: "The Board of Deputies of British Jews congratulates all of the returned Members of the Knesset on their election.  Democracy and vibrant political debate in Israel is something of which all Israelis should be deservedly proud.  We send our warmest regards to the new Government and Prime Minister and hope that this election heralds a new chapter in the quest for security and peace for all inhabitants of the region."

While The Movement for Reform Judaism said: "This is clearly a vote for peace based upon a two State solution, although the planned unilateral borders are unrealistic. We hope that the new government will persevere with withdrawals and find a way to move forward with negotiations with the Palestinians."

The Reform organisation also announced its concern over how orthodox Judaism is set to be represented in the new government and that politicians should pay attention to Reform and conservative Jews.

It added: "We find the likely inclusion of Shas and/or Torah Judaism in the governing coalition deeply disturbing. It indicates the probable continuation of the siphoning off of government money into the ultra-orthodox sector coupled with the maintenance of Orthodox hegemony over Reform and Conservative Jews. We hope that the new government will pay proper attention to the fact that the largest Jewish membership organisation outside of Israel is the Union for Reform Judaism in North America which we hope will not be cast aside in the process of creating a coalition."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered his reaction to the election victory of Kadima. "What we hope very much is that there emerges a government in Israel that is prepared to, and able to, take forward a process of peace and reconciliation. I offer the prime minister my congratulations and hope very much that he can form a government that can make progress."