‘Israel could lose American Jewry’

The Israeli press is sloppy in all sorts of ways. The headline above comes a Ynet article by Yitzhak Benhorin in Washington. It could be a direct quote from The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg and much of the content of the article could be drawn from recent conversation with Goldberg — the article doesn’t make this clear.

Benhorin bases much of his report on recent posts by Goldberg on the controversial Israeli government campaign appealing to Israelis to return home from the US, but some of the statements attributed to the influential columnist do not seem to be taken from his blog, specifically the following:

Goldberg believes that American Jews are trying to understand Israeli far more than Israelis try to understand them. He states that the average American Jew reads that women in Jerusalem sit on the back of the bus and thinks to himself that he has no connection whatsoever with this country.

He adds that young Israelis from Tel Aviv probably feel the same when they read that the right wing is making alliances with Evangelical Christians.

Goldberg notes that it is obvious that there is a rift, when 80% of American Jews are culturally politically and religion-wise like 25% of Israelis, Jews in Washington can identify with what’s happening in Tel Aviv but not Jerusalem or the settlements.

He adds that there is a large gap between most Jews in the US and most Jews in Israel; Jews in the US are becoming more universal in their outlook while Israeli Jews are becoming more and more tribal in theirs. If the trend continues, he says, American Jews will see Israel as a far off foreign country.

Goldberg also warned of the growing gulf between American Jews and their Israeli counterparts over issues related to democratic values. He said that the things happening in Israel today are like a mystery to the American Jews who scratch their heads and ask themselves what in the world is going on in Israel.

Goldberg also spoke of the recent right-wing legislation, the exclusion of women from the public domain and the harm to freedom of expression. He noted that as American Jews, they were taught that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and that sadly, the recent legislation causes concerns – should Israel lose its democratic values, it will lose American Jewry.

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1 thought on “‘Israel could lose American Jewry’

  1. delia ruhe

    “He adds that there is a large gap between most Jews in the US and most Jews in Israel; Jews in the US are becoming more universal in their outlook while Israeli Jews are becoming more and more tribal in theirs. If the trend continues, he says, American Jews will see Israel as a far off foreign country.”

    Now, there’s a growing gap I can support. Can’t happen fast enough to suit me.

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