'Relationship with American Jews is strategic'

Foreign Affairs and Defense Chair: 'Connection between American Jewry and State of Israel strategic-to-existential asset; turbo strategic.'

Mordechai Sones ,

US-Israel relationship
US-Israel relationship

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's Subcommittee on Foreign Relations and Public Relations, chaired by MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), held a discussion on trends in American Jewry and their impact on relations with Israel.

"The connection between American Jewry and the State of Israel is a strategic-to-existential asset; strategic turbo. The weakening of this asset is a real threat to the State of Israel," said Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Avi Dichter. "Who is in charge of managing this area in the government? Who is being included?"

Hagai Elitzur of the Diaspora Ministry responded to the question and said, "We have three building blocks: 1) Jewish identity, without which there is no connection to Israel; 2) Strong communities; 3) Leadership."

Sagi Aharon, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "We are raising the problems facing the leaders up to the top. We do not make decisions. We also refer to those who are not connected to a community, but see themselves as Jews. There are hard feelings among the Conservative and Reform communities, to the point of a crisis of confidence. It is important to conduct a dialogue even if it is not easy. We see them as partners. At the same time, they are told that there are aspects that the state will not be able to meet, political aspects that affect legislation. They tell us: 'The problem is not us, but you are losing the children and grandchildren who no longer have an emotional connection to the state. This is the challenge we have to work on."

Ron Brimer of the Strategic Affairs Ministry noted, "We are only dealing with the aspect of the BDS struggle, and there is a process of radicalization on the left fringes of the Jewish community, who have become partners with BDS. The total majority of the communities go into the category of the legitimate, but there are groups on the margins that are not legitimate, which actively advance the boycott and constitute a fig leaf for all the other boycotters."

The chairman of the subcommittee, MK Robert Ilatov, said during the meeting, "We need to analyze the entire process that is taking place in the community. We have not seen a government view on the entire process that is happening in the United States ... You have to understand what's going on in the macro and not take care of thirty students here and a hundred there. Do we know how to identify communities?"

Denis Ross, chairman of the Jewish People's Policy Planning Institute, said in the debate, "Three-quarters of the Jews are identified with the Democrats and the liberal values ​​that the party represents. Until recently, we managed to convey the message that Israel is not a subject for Republicans and Democrats but is an issue for all of America. In the bipolar environment that has been created it is very important to maintain good relations with the great portion of American Jewry which is identified with liberal values ​​by emphasizing the democratic and liberal aspects of Israel. Unfortunately, the visibility of the big pride parade that took place this week in Tel Aviv is low in the United States, but the issue of the Western Wall and the haredi struggle have high visibility. There are many young Jews who want to be in contact with Israel. You have to take out the nice stories and give them tools. If they see what I see here, there will be a natural connection."

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) wondered, "What happens when a Jew comes from the United States and it turns out that he is not recognized by the rabbinate, what does it do to everyone around him?"

Alon Friedman of the Hillel organization noted, "A Jew is not someone whose grandfather was a Jew but someone whose grandson would be a Jew. Jewish life on campuses is linked to American agendas, the State of Israel has become a unifying factor because of the conflict with the Palestinians, and because of the attitude towards and non-recognition of Conservative and Reform communities. It drops the ground out from under us. And it will always hurt a Jewish supporter of Israel that he supports a country that does not accept him and supports values ​​that he does not believe in. Therefore, it is important to emphasize Israel's liberal values."

The committee demanded that government ministries produce strategic plans and action plans within a month.