Daily Israel Report

Jewish Leaders In US Call For 'Pluralism' In Israel

Jewish group calls on Diaspora Jews to help stop nuclear Iran threat, present findings saying world Jews want Jewish-democratic Israel.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/16/2014, 9:30 PM

Dennis Ross (file)
Dennis Ross (file)
Reuters

Leaders of America's Jewish communities met with Israeli leaders last Tuesday and Wednesday in Long Island, New York, to discuss Israel's future from the perspective of Disapora Jews.

At the event, held by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), former Ambassador and JPPI co-chairman Dennis Ross argued that instability in the Middle East has created more common interests between Israel and the US, despite recent falling outs between the two countries.

Ross, a key architect of the failed 1993 Oslo peace process under then-President Bill Clinton, added that Jews in America had an important role in fighting the threat of a nuclear Iran.

Former Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, co-chair of JPPI, spoke at the event as well, arguing for a "religious pluralism" of Judaism in Israel. "Diaspora Jews are committed to Israel, and they should feel accepted no matter what stream of Judaism they practice,” claimed Eizenstat.

At the event, the discussion focused on Israel's status as Jewish and democratic state.

A committee headed by law professor Ruth Gavison was requested last October by Justice Minister Tzippi Livni to investigate the "proper balance" of Israel's Jewish and democratic nature. The committee turned to the JPPI to survey attitudes among Jews in the Disapora regarding the question of Israel's nature.

Findings from seminars held in 40 international Jewish communities were presented at the event, with a majority of respondents supporting the Jewish symbols of Israel such as the national anthem “Hatikva” and the Israeli flag, even as they stressed the preservation of full rights for Arab citizens of Israel.

Arguing for the relevance of the discussion of Israel's character among Jews in America, JPPI President Avinoam Bar Yosef stated "a government that sees Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people must share the Diaspora’s decisions on issues they hold dear, including the Jewish character of a democratic state."