Even as Israel endures daily “lone wolf” attacks from young Palestinians prepared to die for the cause of spilling Jewish blood, American Jewish leaders confide that generating support for the Jewish state is becoming increasingly difficult these days — even within the Jewish community, and especially among younger people.
In contrast to the widespread emotional identification shown for Parisians and others around the world who have been attacked by Islamic militants, it is hard to find much empathy out there for Israelis seeking to go on with their lives amidst the prospect of violence they face each day.
In a series of private conversations in recent days with a variety of professionals who make their living advocating for Israel and Jewish causes, I was struck by a consistent theme I heard: deep concern about Israel’s future and its relationship with diaspora Jewry. There was a feeling that the political and diplomatic situation is getting worse as Israel is increasingly isolated on the international scene — even spied on by the U.S., we learned last week.
Closer to home, efforts by the last Knesset to liberalize positions on personal religious status — on such issues as conversion, marriage, divorce and women’s prayer at the Kotel — have been reversed by the current coalition in Jerusalem. That is one more signal to the great majority of American Jews, who are not Orthodox, that they are seen as second-class Jews in the eyes of the State of Israel they are urged to support.Continue Reading