Rather than try to explain our position myself, I refer you to an article which appeared on November 28 in Arutz Sheva:


The OU Steps Forward

by Dr. Yitzhak Klein
November 28, 2006

The Orthodox Union is one of the biggest American Jewish organizations, with hundreds of affiliated communities and many tens of thousands of affiliated individuals. Most of us know the OU through its kosher certifications; and what is known about it says volumes about the organization.

Here in Israel, kashrut supervision is the subject of dispute: person A doesn't trust person B's supervision, and person B returns the favor. Sometimes, one wonders if they aren't all correct. But everybody trusts the OU. Solidity and reliability are the organization's hallmark. Its reputation is the product of a century of professionalism and good judgment, marked by two characteristics: avoidance of needless controversy and unremitting adherence to standards.

This reputation for solidity and sobriety is a tremendous resource. When the OU speaks for American Jews, presidents and congressmen listen. When it speaks for Israel in Washington, the leaders take its views into account, even if they disagree. The OU is one of the organizations whose members tend to feel deeply about Israel, and particularly its isolated and vilified national-religious community. This is not surprising. Many of us are former OU members; many are the children and grandchildren of OU members.

The OU came in for a lot of unthinking criticism recently when it invited Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to speak to its national convention and awarded him an ovation afterward. Olmert told the delegates, many of whom read the Hebrew press regularly on the Internet, that Israel's security has never been stronger, that its diplomatic position has never been stronger and that its economy has never been stronger. At a panel the next day, an Israeli journalist opined that "[Olmert] would never have tried to say that to an Israeli audience." Those present chuckled. A major Jewish American organization has to extend to the prime minister the courtesy of inviting him to their conference in Jerusalem, even if he chooses to use the occasion to make an ass of himself.

Particularly if that organization wants to weigh in on Israeli domestic debates and make its voice count in Jerusalem as it does in Washington.

The OU adopted two groundbreaking resolutions last Saturday night in Jerusalem. One included a lengthy discussion of Judea and Samaria, and concluded by resolving, "The Orthodox Union may, in exceptional circumstances, take public positions contrary to those of the Government of Israel."

In fact, the resolution did this already. It criticized legal persecution of people on the basis of their political opposition to the government and declared the events at Amona this year "inconsistent with the traditions and values of the Jewish state." And it stated that "while we strive for security and peace, we are skeptical of any policy that relinquishes part of Eretz Yisrael without obtaining both."

The language of the resolution was restrained. If all it meant was that the OU had come to Jerusalem to let off a little steam and go back home, it would be no big deal. The resolution takes on a wholly different significance, however, if the OU in some sense has come here to stay - to make its considerable weight felt, consistently - politely, but determinedly - in Israeli domestic debates. It can't do that if it indulges in childish gestures like thumbing its nose at the prime minister. Given the choice between uninviting Olmert and making its voice count, the OU, characteristically, chose to make its voice count.

And the OU intends to stay. Another resolution authorized the OU to take part in debates over Israel's constitution, to ensure that any constitution sufficiently safeguards Israel's status as a Jewish state and, specifically, reforms both the method of appointing judges and the extent of the courts' authority. The first represents a Jewish concern; the second, a democratic one. The resolution calls on the OU to "support those individuals and organizations seeking to ensure that any constitution adopted by the State of Israel includes these principles." If the OU intends to become involved in Israel's constitutional debates, it will, without doubt, intervene to oppose another Amona or a foreign policy that gives away land for nothing.

These resolutions were passed by a large majority. The first was opposed by a minority of principled and thoughtful people with distinguished records of service to American Jewry, to Israel and to Israel's Jews. These people believe, with no little logic, that for American Jewry to quarrel in public over Israeli policy is to destroy their ability to help Israel in Washington, and that it is not for American Jews to tell Israelis how to conduct their foreign policy.

Until now, the leadership of the OU has behaved with circumspection, restraining itself from acting without a mandate on controversial issues, so as to preserve the organization's essential unity. Now, they have a mandate to act differently, supported by a large majority. The conduct of the OU is a model of how to shift position without estranging a minority that disagrees. There is a lot here for Israelis to learn.

The OU has stepped forward. From now on, it intends to take positions and to make its views known to Israelis and, particularly, to Israel's government. In everything having to do with exercising political weight, it has skills and judgment that we in Israel can afford to learn from. Welcome aboard, ladies and gentlemen from America. Make sure your seat belts are fastened.

You might also want to l,ook at these two articles:






David Olivestone



David Olivestone

Director of Communications and Marketing

Orthodox Union

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 This is not the first time the OU has gone to great lengths to certify somthing treif as kosher: notthefirsttime