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Russian Jews urge Netanyahu to ignore U.S. Jews’ call for ceding land

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(JTA) – One hundred Russian Jewish notables urged Benjamin Netanyahu to ignore recent pleas by American Jews calling on the Israeli prime minister to cede land for peace.

In an open letter from Russia published Tuesday, the Russian Jews wrote that their message was a reaction to the April 3 letter initiated by the dovish Israel Policy Forum by 100 American Jews, including philanthropists Charles Bronfman, Danny Abraham, Lester Crown and Stanley Gold, and former U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Dov Zakheim. 

Among the signers of the Russian letter were the president of the Russian Jewish Congress, Yuri Kanner, and businessman Mikhail Fridman, one of the organization’s founders. Others included Pinchas Goldschmidt, a chief rabbi of Moscow and president of the Conference of European Rabbis.

“We, the Russian Jews, are committed to the secure and stable future of Israel no less than our American coreligionists,” the response letter from Moscow read.

“It is therefore that we believe that the decisions of the Head of the Government of Israel on critical issues should be taken for the sake of people of Israel only, based exclusively on Israel’s assessment of the situation. Decisions on national security issues must not be made under external pressure, regardless of its origins: world public opinion, U.S. leaders or even influential American Jews.”

In the wake of President Obama’s visit to Israel last month, the American Jews in their letter asked Netanyahu to take steps to represent Israel’s “readiness to make painful territorial sacrifices for the sake of peace.” They said they wrote the letter “as Americans deeply committed to Israel’s security.”

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