U.S Orthodox rabbis urge Israel to crack down on human trafficking
Organization calls for intensified action by Israel's religious, gov't, and law-enforcement leadership.
A prominent organization of U.S. Orthodox rabbis has called on Israeli authorities to step up their fight against trafficking in women, urging "action to put an end to this shameful practice by whatever legal means necessary."
The statement of the Rabbinical Council of America, the rabbinic authority of the Orthodox Union and a partner organization of Israel's Chief Rabbinate, cited Knesset statistics reporting that "some 3000-5000 women in Israel are currently enslaved, in violation of Israeli law, as prostitutes as a result of human trafficking."
The RCA stated that it was taking the position, in part, because "Judaism affirms the right of each individual to a life of personal freedom, dignity and a duty of national holiness, particularly regarding sexual conduct" and because "our Torah stresses no less than 36 times the overarching importance of treating the stranger with compassion and kindness."
The group also noted that Israel's Declaration of Independence emphasized that the state "will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel."
It called on Israel's religious leadership as well as government and law enforcement "to take further action to put an end to this shameful practice by whatever legal means necessary, thereby sending a message to the world that Israel will protect the oppressed and act as a beacon of light to all nations."