Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi / Flash 90
Kashrut supervisors

The leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union, or OU), congratulated Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid in a statement issued Monday, June 14, upon their election and approval by the Knesset as the new leaders of the government of the State of Israel.

In its statement, the global Jewish organization underlined the importance of the new government’s responsibility to retain the “essential Jewish character of the State” and offered several examples of how that might be accomplished, including “public Shabbat observance . . . and conversion standards.”

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The Orthodox Union has been deeply involved in setting up and maintaining kashrut standards and certification in numerous establishments in the United Arab Emirates since the signing of the Abraham Accords peace document that established for the first time ever a peace accord between the UAE and Bahrain, as well as with Morocco and Sudan.

“We extend our congratulations to incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on their becoming leaders of the government of the State of Israel,” the OU statement began.

“Their mandate to protect and secure the world’s only Jewish state is a tremendous and challenging responsibility. Their leadership will also be essential in demonstrating their commitment to all sectors of Israel’s population and to the preservation of the essential Jewish character of the State as it has been since its founding, including public Shabbat observance, Kashrut, and conversion standards,” the OU said.

“We wish them the Almighty’s blessings of wisdom, strength and fortitude as they steer Israel forward and protect her from her enemies. We look forward to working with them as the Orthodox Union has, since Israel’s founding, with successive Prime Ministers and ruling coalitions.

“We also offer a heartfelt thank you to Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-tenured prime minister,” the OU continued.

“For the past 12 years, and during his previous time as premier from 1996 to 1999, Mr. Netanyahu led Israel with courage and dedication both through tremendously perilous times and awe-inspiring moments, including reaching historic accords with former enemies across the region.

“Finally, we call upon the leaders of other democratic nations not only to congratulate Israel, but to recognize the Jewish state’s value as the only democracy in the region,” the OU added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.