WASHINGTON (JTA) — In initial statements, Jewish groups congratulated Egyptians on ousting Hosni Mubarak and expressed hope for continued peace with Israel.
"The demonstrations by the people of Egypt against the regime’s authoritarianism and repression, and their demands for greater freedom, political accountability and transparency, have been inspiring to all who cherish democracy and liberty," the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement Friday after Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had relinquished his powers to the army. "The people of Egypt must now channel their passion for change into the more difficult task of building the foundations for a true open, inclusive and stable democracy."
The statement noted uncertainty about "the new role of the military is and how they will govern" as well as "serious questions about what role the Muslim Brotherhood will play in the transition and beyond, and how this will impact Egypt’s policies, and its relations with the West and the State of Israel."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center said it "congratulates and commends the Egyptian people’s courageous and non-violent transformation of their country." It continued: "We hope that future developments will help institutionalize individual and political freedoms and that the new Egyptian government will continue to maintain the legacy of peaceful coexistence with all its neighbors, including the state of Israel."
The Union for Reform Judaism quoted the Babylonian Talmud (Breachaot 55a): "A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted."
"We hope and pray that the transition in Egypt will be one of calm and peace and that the next leader of Egypt will be chosen through open and democratic elections," said the statement from URJ President Rabbi Eric Yoffie. "We further pray that the next government will continue Egypt’s leadership in the area of regional security and work to protect both Egypt’s and the world’s interest in continuing peace with Israel."