Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union (OU), spoke on Sunday at the Arutz Sheva Jerusalem Conference in New York City.
Asked about the current tension in Israel between the secular and religious sectors and what he would say to American Jews who want to support the state of Israel, Rabbi Hauer replied, “The tensions are a concern of course. We understand that these have been issues for a long time and issues on which progress has been made. When one side tries to press the other to a position, the misrepresentation of the situation is that the vast majority, almost everyone but the edges don’t want to enforce their lives on the others. There are those that perhaps speak differently and that’s incredibly harmful to the majority. We have to come to an understanding.”
“American Jews need the connection to Israel desperately,” he added. “I marched today up Fifth Avenue like so many others, and for part of the time with the Governor of New York. Marching near me was one of the people I knew from Jewish communal life that you would have thought would be with the protestors. And we saw a majority of Jews from all walks of life and a couple of dozen of very loud protestors.”
Asked about the fact that both the right and left “have a tendency to wash their dirty laundry in English” and are trying to validate their premises by gaining international support, Rabbi Hauer said, “In the current round it had serious consequences that I hope we can recover from.”
“We can have our differences, but on the other hand the exaggerated political conversation that should happen on the other side of the ocean is creating incredible damage. When leaders are saying that Israel is ceasing to become a democracy, that could devastate the American Jews’ connection with Israel. If it were proportionate, I think we would join them but it’s really blown out of proportion and we need the connection to Israel badly and this is doing a lot of damage.”