A Good Relationship Gone Bad

T. Belman. How can American Jews who voted overwhelmingly for Obama, twice, and Hillary Clinton, expect to have a seat at the table in Israel when religion or peace is on the menu.

Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli
Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a
century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall, or PM
Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate—backtracking on the agreement
over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective
memory, if not total denial.

There was a time when American Jews not only put their pennies in their pushkas
to help the struggling Jewish homeland. They put their lives on the line. I’m
talking about Lou Lenert and Leon Frankel, Gideon Lichtmann and George Lichter,
Harold Livingston and Al Schwimmer and Bob Vickman, American Jews who thought it
wasn’t enough that they helped defeat the Nazis, they needed to join their
brothers in Israel so that the Jewish people would have a place to go when the
next Nazis came to power. They left behind businesses and girlfriends and
created the Israeli Air Force, without which I and six million other Israeli
Jews would not be living in our own country, but spread out all over the world
waiting, like the Jews of France, and the Jews of Great Britain, and the Jews of
Belgium, for the next horrible Muslim atrocity to hit them and their families.

Without these American Jews, there would be no Israel.

But like the children of the heroes of the Saving Private Ryan generation who
think patriotism is wrongheaded, this generation of American Jews don’t really
feel all that connected to Israel. I can’t tell you how many times very nice,
educated, caring American Jewish women have told me that even though President
Obama wasn’t great for Israel, he was a wonderful president for them as
Americans. “You don’t live here,” they tell me. “We have other priorities.”

I remember when former President Obama was bowing to Saudi Arabia, interfering
in Israel’s election of Prime Minister with his cash and his handpicked
“specialists” sent over to make sure Israelis voted in the Left– those same
people who brought us the Oslo nightmare, and the shameful and wrong-headed
disengagement from Gaza, the same people who almost got my family blown up in
the Park Hotel seder night. But Israelis, like Americans, aren’t listening to
electioneering slogans anymore. Hence, President Trump.

We elected Netanyahu, and we were thrilled when he went to America to convince
Congress about the existential threat to our people of allowing Iran a nuclear
capability, and incensed that our American Jewish brothers thought he should
have stayed home.

These same people did their best to vote in Hillary Clinton, despite clear
evidence of the anti-Israel bias of her party, and her endorsement by the very,
very anti Israel Obama.

And now, here we are. The Jews of America are incensed. The good ones, who
come here on vacation and support all manner of Israeli charities, and the bad
ones who have never been here once and who allow strangers to give their kids
all expenses paid vacations on Birthright in order to do us the favor of
allowing their children to experience first hand what we in Israel have died
for: a Jewish homeland with an army and an airforce and a flourishing economy,
and lovely parks and pretty homes– after thousands of years of persecution,
murder, and homelessness. Still, I’m glad they come to see, rather than
spending their vacation in Ibiza, or joining the JStreet anti-Semites.

For those who are filled with fury, I say this: I agree with you about how
disgusting it is that the haredim have wormed their way into power so that they
can distort Jewish laws and control Jewish holy sites, making life miserable for
the rest of us, including Orthodox Jewish women like myself.

But I am even more sorry that you have raised your children not to care about
being Jewish, or about the Jewish State of Israel.
If you had raised them
differently – or been raised differently yourselves—then a million American
Conservative and Reform Jews making Aliyah would have completely changed the
entire political system in this country, and the haredim would be out of luck.
But as for now, it is we who are out of luck.

July 6, 2017 | 9 Comments » | 630 views

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. “… what we in Israel have died
    for: a Jewish homeland with an army and an airforce and a flourishing economy,..”

    You might add, “and a top-notch navy and space program”

    As a Christian, I do not have the identity problems Jews have. My religion is faith-based, of course; and in practical terms, I fellowship with people who accept me as a fellow Christian. We do not have dietary and dress restrictions. Also — this may shock many Jews — we shy away from discussing politics among us; and we are close friends with people of different parties! Can you believe that?

    Judaism has survived for thousands of years, based on the mother’s “Jewishness”; but that system of identity seems to be disappearing. Nowadays, American Jews seem to be perceiving other Jews as “Israelis”, “Americans” and “Humans” i. e. “Democrats” (three distinct nationalities, or even possibly races), and looking at “Jewishness” as a secondary identification. I agree, that the “wall” issue has little to do with this.

    PS. BTW, Ted, the notices are getting into my email inbox; but my phishing filter immediately whisks them away. They must be tainted. 6 July 2017 1218 PDT

  2. Michael S Said:

    PS. BTW, Ted, the notices are getting into my email inbox; but my phishing filter immediately whisks them away. They must be tainted. 6 July 2017 1218 PDT

    Please explain this in m ore detail. What notices are you referring to?

  3. @ Ted Belman: I also have this problem. I have to go to my “junk” mailbox on Apple Mail to retrieve IsraPundit communications. This occurs both when the sender is buzzfeed when the sender is Ted Belman. Also, sometimes the links to articles do not work.

  4. I support the plan to improve the area devoted to non-Orthodox services at the Kotel, but I am a bit suspicious about the huge “crisis” the rejection of the plan has provoked. The non-Orthodox section is not exactly teeming with Conservative and Reform worshipers. The improvement of the section would have very little practical effect on non-Orthodox visitors to the Kotel (it’s not as if many Reform Jews arrive there and say, “Oh crap, it’s time to daven Mincha and there is no Reform minyan in sight”). There is very little actual demand for the space or its improvement, it’s mostly about symbolic posturing of America’s Conservative and Reform establishments. And I am very disappointed by their campaign of disinformation to make the problem look much worse than it is (just look at how many non-Orthodox rabbis writing about the “crisis” hide the fact that the egalitarian section has already existed for years).

  5. Berel Dov Lerner Said:

    I support the plan to improve the area devoted to non-Orthodox services at the Kotel, but I am a bit suspicious about the huge “crisis” the rejection of the plan has provoked. The non-Orthodox section is not exactly teeming with Conservative and Reform worshipers. The improvement of the section would have very little practical effect on non-Orthodox visitors to the Kotel (it’s not as if many Reform Jews arrive there and say, “Oh crap, it’s time to daven Mincha and there is no Reform minyan in sight”). There is very little actual demand for the space or its improvement, it’s mostly about symbolic posturing of America’s Conservative and Reform establishments. And I am very disappointed by their campaign of disinformation to make the problem look much worse than it is (just look at how many non-Orthodox rabbis writing about the “crisis” hide the fact that the egalitarian section has already existed for years).

    Thank you, that’s a perfect summary of the situation.

  6. @ Berel Dov Lerner:
    I think the important question to ask here is what do Britney, Streisand and Madonna want? In fact, it is in the Torah. Jeremiah, I believe. No, sorry. books of Daniel and Spencer Tracy. “Young man, know yoyr lions,”

  7. Noemi, money is cheap compared to life. The US Jews don’t get it. By the same token the ultra-orthodox owe their control of the religious affairs to a British loophole and not democracy!

  8. @ Ted Belman:

    Hi, Ted. These notices:

    “Howdy.

    “You recently followed one of my posts. This means you will receive an email when new comments are posted.

    “To activate, click confirm below. If you believe this is an error, ignore this message and we’ll never bother you again.”

    I don’t understand how “Word Press” works. My usual practice is to treat every message source I’m not familiar with as suspect; so I don’t use “Word Press”. I just log in, using my email and password. Does “Word Press” have anything to do with Israpundit?

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