Some Jews oppose land bill

Some U.S. Jewish groups are protesting a Knesset bill that would permit the Israel Lands Authority to uphold a policy that favors Jewish landowners in Israel.

Ameinu, the American affiliate of the World Labor Zionist movement, sent a letter of protest Tuesday to the Kadima Party’s Ze’ev Elkin, one of the co-sponsors of a measure that would permit the authority to continue its practice of leasing land belonging to the Jewish National Fund to Jews only.

The Union for Reform Judaism is also preparing a letter opposing the measure.

“I think it’s unfortunate. I think it’s a mistake. I hope it doesn’t pass,” said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the union. “It’s not appropriate for the government of the State of Israel, which must serve all of its citizens, to take actions that discriminate against its non-Jewish minority, specifically its Arab minority.”

Ronald Lauder, president of the Jewish National Fund of America, defended the move, saying he was “gratified” that the Israeli government “recognized that the land purchased by the Jewish people for the Jewish people should remain in the hands of its rightful owners.”

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