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11 One major positive step in this direction occurred on November 2, 1998, when Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered the Ministry of Religious Affairs to allow Reform and Conservative Jews to sit on the religious councils of Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Arad, and Kiryat Tivon.

Verbal displeasure among liberal American Jews has been accompanied by threats to reduce or cut off their contributions to the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), the channel for funds to the Jewish Agency for Israel. ”3 Instead, it planned to give $500,000 to local Jewish causes and earmarked the other $500,000 directly for Israeli projects that promoted Arab-Jewish understanding and religious pluralism. ” 32 | George E. 4 This action could no longer be dismissed as a unique and unrepresentative act by a community known for its liberal orientation and idiosyncratic tendencies, for the San Francisco federation already in 1987, during a previous American Jewish confrontation with Israel over tightening the rules for conversion, had shown its independence by diverting $100,000 of its funds to its own Israeli programs, sparking condemnation by the United Israel Appeal, the conduit of UJA funds to Israel.

During the height of the Cold War, it worked to counterbalance what could otherwise have been dangerously strong intervention from the Soviet Union. Thus, for example, during the Yom Kippur War of October 1973 the United States played a vital role in military resupply after a week of heavy fighting and serious losses had depleted Israel’s reserves of weapons and ammunition. Moreover, on October 24, 1973, when the Soviets threatened to deploy several airborne divisions to aid the surrounded Egyptian Third Army on the east side of the Suez Canal, the administration of President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger reacted vigorously.

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