Malcolm Hoenlein, the Vice Chairman Emeritus of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in an expansive interview, told Arutz Sheva-Israel National News about the organization's visit to Israel this year.

He began by discussing the growing pressure on Israel from the US to recognize a Palestinian state. “I should say that the US-Israel relationship remains very strong. The American people still remain committed to Israel. We have to do more to get them to understand the nuances and sometimes the the choices Israel has to make, but I think that there remains a strong commitment. Regarding proposals about a Palestinian state the day after, and considerations and pressures what Israel must do in Rafah, I think these should be dealt with quietly on both sides."

"I told this to President Obama in our first meeting, that the lesson of history is that there shouldn't be public daylight between the countries. America is under both external pressure and domestic political pressures, but in a war situation especially, you can't dictate to a country that has gone through the trauma of what Israel went through on October 7th and minimize the options that are open to it.”

Malcolm describes support for Israel from a surprising quarter: “Israel obviously made a commitment and remains committed to the destruction of Hamas, but I will tell you that every Arab leader I speak to says to me 'decimate them, don't listen to what we say, because we will pay the price.' If Israel is pressured to do things prematurely, Jordan and Egypt will pay first, and the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco, and others will pay next. Israel will pay a price as well, but I think they will pay a greater price.”

“It's a message that we have to communicate, that Hamas is symbolic now in the region. It's Iran's front right now, even though it's not its major investment, but it is taking on symbolic significance. Will terrorism win out in the end? Will international pressure overcome the commitment to standards and values? What would the implications be if the day after they can shoot a rocket, that Sinwar can walk out that they can wave flags and say 'You see? We won!' That cannot happen.”

He focused on one particular phenomenon influencing the US approach: “The images and the public pressure about damage and victims in the media takes a toll. It creates a pressure situation. Even some members of Congress who have been remarkably supportive start expressing some reservations or concerns, even though I think on any bill on Israel you'll still get 90% in favor.”

Malcolm noted that the unity created by the October 7th massacre made its way to the American Jewish community as well: “I think that the unity that emerged after October 7th here in Israel was reflected in America, where from left to right, people rallied and stood with Israel. I think they still continue to stand with Israel. Some of them may express concern about the domestic population in in Gaza, but basically understanding the need not to allow there to be a Hamas victory, understanding that we can't deal with the day after until you deal with the day before, that the needs of Israel have to be met, and you see remarkable numbers of missions of people coming, wealthy people, coming to volunteer, to give money.”

The phenomenon extends beyond just Jews: “There are also many non-Jews - the Evangelical community, for instance stands supportive. Even though people highlight that young people are less supportive, the fact is that they've rallied, they've been extremely generous, they were coming here, as are the leaders of the Jewish community. When you see them working in kitchens, collecting fruit, you see that the physical and spiritual and moral connection to Israel has been strengthened.”

Malcolm highlights one likely effect of that connection: “I will make a prediction for you - immigration will sharply increase after the war, from Europe and from America. I believe Israel should do a crash program of building affordable housing for young couples - they want to come. I think many are looking to Israel as the viable alternative for their future.”

Malcolm relates that he has no need for a special trip to bear witness to the massacre, having been in Israel on October 7th: “I was here for Sukkot with my family. My wife and I stayed afterwards. I got a call to come the next day to Hadassah, because there were some American soldiers serving in the IDF, lone soldiers, and they asked me to come and visit them, which I immediately did. The first three I met, I knew their families They kept saying to me “'f you don't see it, you can't tell it.' I said 'I'm not good at this' but two hours later, I was down south."

"I don't I know whether it was good or not to see it because frankly it haunts you for life. I realized what my grandparents experienced in when they were deported to concentration camps. I've been opposed to comparisons to the Holocaust, but in every generation the enemy is the same.”

He noted an important difference between the Holocaust and the current war: “It's not that we have the state of Israel with the IDF. It’s that endangered communities over the past few decades had somewhere to go and defend themselves. Communities today don't appear prepared or able to defend themselves, but for many communities, large percentages of the budget must be devoted to community defense. It's obligatory. Antisemitism is becoming acceptable, and Israel is looming larger for many people.”

This brings him to an important message to the people of Israel: “Many of those people who loved Israel, cared about Israel, but never thought about living in Israel, today are thinking about it, and young people especially. The future really lies here."

"Our campuses and streets often turn violent and Jews are subjected to physical assault. If you die in the streets of New York through an antisemitic attack, there's no purpose. The people who died here, at least there was a sense of mission, there's a significance to it. It's sad and it's regrettable, and we we don't want to see anybody die, but the message was clear. October 7th reminded people of how central Israel is.”

He referred to the effects the war has had on Israel's negotiations with Arab states: “Many things are on hold. The danger is that if you don't move forward, you move backward, and the Arab states still want the connection to Israel. Many of them are building high-tech cities, and they all have told me that Israel is essential to that goal. I even heard it from the leaders in Saudi Arabia about how critical Israeli technology will be for the goals they hope to achieve there, and I think, ultimately, they know that the connection to Israel is vital to them."

"The question for them is whether they have confidence in the West. They hate Iran, but they're hedging their bets. The Iranian government is hanging by a thread. Even the Iranian people want to see the government change, but they want Israel and America to do the dirty work for them.”

He commented on the Arab states' feelings towards the Palestinians: “Arab leaders tell me that they feel some sympathy for the public, but not for the Hamas regime. They've poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the Palestinians, but the government did not build the infrastructure that could have stabilized the region.”

One country in particular stands out in terms of its investment in the Palestinians: “Qatar is a different case. They have already poured billions into American universities, which correlates directly with rising antisemitism. We have to expose everyone giving money, domestic or foreign, and there have to be real consequences. They have invested $300B in an anti-Israel agenda, which is also an anti-American agenda. Israel may be the first victim, but America will be next.”