Reform leader, Arab-Israeli lawmaker say ‘difficult, honest’ conversation is necessary

Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — The leader of the Reform movement and a leading Arab Israeli lawmaker said in a joint statement that Arabs and Jews had a shared future that required “honest and difficult” conversations.

The statement by Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, the third largest Knesset faction, and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, came at the end of a conference in New York Sunday organized by the Ha’aretz daily and the New Israel Fund, and just two days after Jacobs had expressed disappointment in Odeh for scrapping at the last minute a meeting with Jewish leaders.

“The only future is a shared future,” the statement issued by publicists for both men said. “We both understand the importance of honest, deep, difficult and necessary conversations. We were glad to meet today at the Haaretz conference to agree to work together for a better future.”

Jacobs had on Friday expressed “deep disappointment” in Odeh’s refusal to enter a meeting with U.S. Jewish leaders because it was taking place in space shared by the Jewish Agency.

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