PRIME MINISTER EHUD OLMERT OPENS BIENNIAL CONVENTION OF THE ORTHODOX UNION IN JERUSALEM WITH KEYNOTE ADDRESS -- "The Statement You Make in Your Loyalty to Israel is More Important Than Any Disagreements We May Have";"We Must Confront Not Only the Physical Threat From [Iran] But Also the Moral Threat"; "We Must Listen to Jews From the Diaspora Not Only When We Need You In A Crisis, But When We Are Discussing Critical Issues."
This evening, the 108th Anniversary Biennial Convention of the Orthodox Union opened in Jerusalem. The opening session, at which Stephen J. Savitsky was installed for a second term as the organization’s president, was addressed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as well as other distinguished leaders.
In his address, Prime Minister Olmert began by recognizing the strong commitment of the Orthodox Union community to Israel as demonstrated through regular visits and a high rate of aliyah.
Olmert went on to relate to the fact that many in the Orthodox community were at odds with the government in recent years over the disengagement and realignment plans by stating: "The statement you make in your loyalty to Israel is more important than any disagreements we may have."
Olmert then addressed the threat from Iran by stating: "We must not only confront the physical threat...but also the moral threat - we cannot be quiet when a nation threatens the elimination of the Jews."
Finally, Olmert strongly expressed his belief that there must be forums for Israeli and Diaspora Jews to have "open discussions" about critical issues "which affect the Jewish character of Israel."
Other distinguished speakers at the opening session included: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Mayor of Jerusalem Uri Lopoliansky, and Jewish Agency chairman Zev Bielski.
Convention sessions (Thursday) will address critical issues including: role of Diaspora Jewry regarding Israel; rifts in religious Zionism; Israel's security challenge, and more.
On Thursday, convention delegates will discuss and debate a range of critical issues including:
Military and religious perspectives on Israel’s current security challenges; rifts within the Religious Zionist community; the proper role for Diaspora Jewry in Israel’s decision making; the debate over enacting a constitution for Israel, and more. Delegates will also be addressed Thursday by Hon. Benyamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party.