The annual assessment of the Institute of Jewish People’s Policy on the situation of the Jewish people reveals that the past year has been dismal and has brought about a multidimensional erosion in its resilience. One of the significant catalysts for this erosion is the bad relations between the State of Israel and most of the Jews in the United States. “On an encounter with the Jewish community, but he must also devote significant political attention to this issue.
A survey of American Jews published three months ago reveals a growing erosion in support for Israel among American Jews and an even greater erosion among young Jews. Additional surveys, including those showing that quite a few Jews consider Israel an apartheid state, illustrate that American Jews are moving away from the State of Israel. Which includes the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.
The majority of Jews in the United States, about 75 percent, belong to the left-progressive wing of American politics. Israel has become more right-wing and traditional, so it is not surprising that the two issues at the heart of the controversy between Israel and most Jews in the United States are Israeli control over Judea and Samaria and religious and state relations in Israel.
It is clear that the issue that weighs more heavily on these relations is Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians. While among American Jews the two-state solution is the minimum required by Israel, and some of them already support a binational state, Israel has no political progress against the Palestinians at all. While for Israel this is a core issue of national security, and a real threat to existence, for American Jews it is another issue of human rights that must be resolved. The impact on them and their lives in this regard is small.
On the other hand, on the other issue, religious-state relations in Israel, the current government has an opportunity for a breakthrough. The main criticism of American Jews, most of whom belong to non-Orthodox sects, concerns the unwillingness of the religious establishment in Israel and the State of Israel to recognize them. They vetoed any change on these issues. In order to preserve his government, Netanyahu actually gave up on American Jews and sought to mobilize support for Israel’s affairs among the evangelicals. The current government is different, and this is a historic opportunity.
The unique composition of the government, and the willingness of most of its partners to promote reforms that have been stuck for years, makes it possible to promote change in religion-state relations as well. Such a change does not have to be dramatic. It is enough to resolve the issue of prayer at the Western Wall, to promote reforms in religious services, and to leave the court’s recognition of Reform conversion, in order to convey to American Jews who count them, see them and are willing to consider their beliefs and worldviews.
Those of the Jews of the United States who are still interested in Israel and what is happening there have high hopes for the new government. Their hope is that after years of contempt and disregard on the part of the Israeli government, they will gain more understanding or at least a listening ear. Heavy responsibility Restoring relations with the Jewish community in the United States is critical. There is a first-rate Israeli interest in this, but also a value interest in improving Jewish cohesion and the brotherhood between the two largest Jewish communities in the world.
The author is the Vice President of the Institute of Jewish People’s Policy and a Lecturer in Law at the Peres Academic Center.