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Will Jewish Federations Allow Missions to Settlements in Occupied West Bank?

— The board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America reportedly will be asked to decide whether to allow its missions to Israel to visit Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The board will discuss changing its policy during a conference call meeting scheduled for Wednesday, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reported Tuesday evening.

The newspaper cited an email to the trustees from the Jewish Federations president, Jerry Silverman, which said the board will be asked to “authorize the entry of JFNA missions, including federation community missions planned through JFNA, into Israeli-controlled territories beyond the Green Line (e.g., Ariel or Gush Etzion, etc.).”

Silverman noted in the email seen by the Jewish Journal that Interfaith Partners for Peace, a program of the JFNA affiliate Israel Action Network, takes its delegations to Palestinian towns in the West Bank. He said in the email that JFNA believes “authorizing the entry of IAN missions into the PA is in the best interest of the federation system.”

It is not clear whether the vote is strictly to authorize the Israel Action Network trips or all trips to enter the West Bank, according to the Jewish Journal. Either would be precedent-setting, however, since JFNA trips now avoid the West Bank.

The vote raises concerns that participants on trips that travel to the West Bank would be exposed to one side of the story if they visited Jewish settlements in the West Bank while avoiding Palestinian areas, according to the Jewish Journal.

The newspaper said that JFNA did not immediately return requests for information.

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