A shift in perception on how America’s political parties support Israel may be afoot, a Ruderman Family Foundation study has revealed.
The study was presented Tuesday at the annual symposium of the foundation’s Program for American Jewish Studies at University of Haifa.
According to the survey, although American Jews find 71% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats pro-Israel, the tide seems to be turning with 39% of respondents believing Republicans are becoming supportive of Israel and 54% believing the Democratic party is becoming less supportive of the Jewish state.
In light of the most recent US election, which pointed to an ever-growing divide between Democratic and Republican Jews, the symposium discussed the findings and the state of relations between American Jews and Israel.
The discussion featured key figures well-versed in matters pertaining to US Jewry and Israeli relations, including: Minister of Diaspora Affairs Nachman Shai (Labor); Former Minister of Justice and a main figure behind the Taglit-Birthright program Yossi Beilin; renowned legal scholar Prof. Menachem Mautner; former MK Tehila Friedman; University of Haifa Rector Prof. Gur Alroey; Head of the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa Dr. David Barak-Gorodetsky; and other senior officials. The seminar was moderated by Michal Reshef, foreign affairs correspondent at KAN Public Broadcasting Channel.
“The increasing political polarization in the US Jewish community also shapes contemporary challenges in the Israel-American Jewry relationship," said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. "Our research, education, and advocacy efforts in the realm of fostering greater closeness and mutual understanding between Israelis and Jewish Americans enables the world's two largest centers of Jewish life to transcend the slogans and ultimately build a more authentic relationship."
Dr. Barak-Gorodetsky said, “At the Ruderman Program American Jewish Studies program at the University of Haifa, we study in depth the complex realities of the American Jewish community and believe developing and improving Israel’s relationship with American Jewry is a critical part of the academic world today.”
The program offers students and graduates the historical background behind that relationship as well as an accurate modern-day understanding of the realities on the ground in order to ensure their knowledge translates into improving the future of these two communities moving forward.
The program’s main objective is to explore how to maintain the critical relationship between Israel and American Jews for the benefit of Jewish people and the state of Israel.
For more than two decades, the Ruderman Family Foundation has undertaken multifaceted efforts to solidify Israel’s relationship with American Jewry. The Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies is the first and only master’s program of its kind in Israel and promotes ongoing academic research in Israel on the topics of Jewish-American life, American society, and the lasting and vital bond between American Jews, the State of Israel, and Israeli society.