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Frustration With Israel Is Growing Here At Home

The hard fact is that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans.

Wed, 01/06/2016 - 09:53
Editor and Publisher
Gary Rosenblatt
Gary Rosenblatt

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.

I share these worries about a weakening of our identification with Israel. The hard fact is that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans, including many Jews, who want to see greater efforts to resolve the Palestinian conflict and who put the onus for the impasse on Jerusalem. It is not only President Obama who feels that way. The fastest growing segments of American society — women, young people, blacks and Latinos — are less supportive of Israel than the previous generation, according to polls.

A young professional with extensive experience in countering the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel at colleges tells me, “It’s just not cool to be Jewish on campus today,” especially if that means identifying with Israel at a time when the Mideast’s only democratic state is cast as a pariah, accused of apartheid. Liberal students quick to respond to   discrimination against blacks and other minorities somehow fail to identify with the only Mideast society that proudly supports rather than punishes gays and lesbians. That leaves little room for progressive Jewish students who back Israel’s right to exist. While some of their elders scorn them for criticizing Israel’s policies regarding Palestinians and the occupation of the West Bank, their classmates shun them for identifying with Israel at all.

Federation executives worry privately that when the generation of major funders who vividly remember Israel’s struggle for statehood and the anguish of the 1967 and 1973 wars passes from the scene, raising substantial dollars for the Jewish state will be that much harder.

“It’s very complicated” making Israel’s case, the execs say, and they’re right. In part that’s because Israelis are no longer seen as our poor cousins, asking for a handout. Indeed, their economy is booming, even though the huge gap between the “haves” and “have nots” is worrisome, especially given the ongoing and rapid growth of the Israeli Arab and charedi communities, lowest on the income scale.

In part it’s because Israel’s Chief Rabbinate seeks to set religious standards ever higher rather than show compassion for the hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking Israeli citizens who would seek conversion. The situation is creating a substantial threat to Israeli cohesiveness and damages the longstanding image of Israel as a compassionate society that mirrors our own Western values and Jewish ideals.

Of course these perceptions of Israel today are not the full picture. They do not credit a vibrant Israeli democracy functioning in a region that has become increasingly chaotic, lawless, violent and threatening since the woefully misnamed Arab Spring. These critical views do not account for: courageous young men and women who serve their remarkable IDF with skill and commitment; a society whose Arab and Israeli citizens, overall, coexist day to day with civility and respect; and a nation whose accomplishments in the areas of technology, medicine, science and water are the envy of the rest of the world.

But while many of us take pride in Israel as a Start-Up Nation, we cannot ignore that it is also known at home for its Lock-Up Leadership — soon to have a former prime minister joining a former president behind bars as a result of differing forms of corruption at the highest levels of government.

Israel is not a perfect society, and those of us who seek to make its case err when we try to portray the Arab-Israeli conflict in black-and-white terms. The more we recognize and acknowledge the complexity of the clash, and the fact that Israelis themselves are divided on how to resolve it, the more credibility we will have in putting forth Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

Whether or not it is fair, the strong perception today is that the Israeli government is moving further right, and intransigent, at a time when the rest of the world is fed up with the Israel-Palestinian impasse, seeing no hope for a resolution in the foreseeable future. (And bear in mind that there are no term limits in Israel, and no political figure left of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen as capable of besting him at the polls.)

Jewish leaders here are expressing deep, if so far private, frustration over the lack of action on Jerusalem’s part to improve its image, if not its strategic position.

One national leader told me he’d like to fly to Israel, with a group of his top colleagues, to try to convince Netanyahu in dramatic fashion of the need for “a plan, any plan” to break the impasse.

But that is not likely to happen, and, of course, the views of American Jewish leaders have long been known to the prime minister. Netanyahu and his government will continue to make decisions based on their own narrow and immediate political interests, and we can only hope they will coincide with national interests as well.

Our job remains to show support for Israel, if not all its policies, and to emphasize its remarkable achievements and importance in a chaotic, hostile region. But our job is getting harder with each passing day.

Gary@jewishweek.org

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What has happened to Gary rosenblatt? In the last couple of years he has gone to the left. NEVER heard him sound like this before. a great turn off- last thing we need is another left wing reporter who usually complains about something concerning Israel or it's government. What happened?

Mr. Rosenblatt's excellent article today, ignores the fact that the palestinians will not recognize Israel's right to exit.

How then is Israel able to negotiatenegotiate ?

Gary Rosenblatt is saying to Israelis: “We don’t like you, and because we don’t like you, YOU have to change." Maybe the ones that have to "change" are those American Jews who, like Gary, don't like the Israel of today. Bottom line: Many American Jews have become a net-minus as far as support for Israel is concerned.

Gary,
Your projecting your opinion on "the fact" that the government of israel is at odds with many Jews does not make it true. I am shocked that in the interest of persuading people to believe this, you would fall to the lie that any policies about converts relates to Israel alienating non orthodox Jews. Everyone who looks at the situation knows that not recognizing converts is not synonymous with not recognizing other Jews from those movements.
Furthermore, to blame a right wing government for not moving forward with any sort of "peace process" is to ignore the fact that ALL Israeli governments failed to solve this impossible problem.
To say that the average American does not sympothize with Israelis that are going through daily what France went through twice, does not reflect on the government but on the warped opinion that some terrorism is acceptable.
If your opinion leads you to think that Netanyahu is wrong, that does not give you the right to blame everything on him.

The endless drumbeat of hypercritical/anti-Semitic and self-flagellating criticism that beats daily and hourly against the Jew/Israel is one of the keys to this fretful and egregious toxic-syrup-pour--if Iceland were to get this treatment, century after century and editorial after editorial, it would burn in the self-satisfied conflagration of barely suppressed media pundit loathing. Israel is a toothpick of a nation, and still it reaps endless grandiose contumely, in contradistinction to what it deserves, compared to any nation, including the holier than thou villainy of those writing at a safe remove from constant attack via knife, car ramming, hatchet or ludicrous teen would-be 'martyrs.' Rather unacceptable to see this so often in a supposed organ of Jewish origin and opinion.

Gary, what are you going to say if by some chance the Labor Party forms the next government and Issac Herzog takes the same actions as his predecessor Benny Netanyahu has? The problem is not with the Israelis but with the leadership of the Jewish-American Community who has failed miserably in the field of Jewish education. That is the real reason why Jewish youth in America have turned away from Israel. Gary, get yourself a big mirror and look into it and you will find your answers.

The answer is a simple, if not popular, one word idea: Aliyah. My family and I did it 5 years ago. We live at Kibbutz Hannaton, a progressive, religiously pluralistic and egalitarian community where all streams of Judaism flourish under one roof.

We who live here are affected directly by the Orthodox Rabbinate. Yet, we live quite freely, and the Reform and Conservative movements here have won some significant High Court of Justice rulings.

We've made good strides; what we need now are numbers.

Tragically, the "A" word (aliyah) is never uttered by American Jewish leaders. It is not mentioned in this article. It has been dropped from the liberal Jewish lexicon. Yet, it is these same liberal Jews who complain the most over the religious monopoly of the Orthodox Rabbinate. While there is much to complain about, there is also much that can be done.

An "Aliyah Movement for Liberal Judaism" is what Israel, and the Jewish people, need. Those who take part would be showing real courage of conviction, dedicating their lives to changing Israel, opening it to non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. We can start with 10,000 over a two-year period and increase it from there so that after a decade we'll have, say, 50,000 liberal American Jewish olim who will bring their Jeffersonian democratic values with their activist experience and inject Israeli society with this idealism toward making substantive changes.

Of course, just mentioning aliyah will send some people into apoplexy. I am aware of that. Nonetheless, if real long-term change is to come to Israel, it will take a commitment of body and soul that, unfortunately, most in the American Jewish community are unwilling to consider. That is the real tragedy.

Yitzhak, Thanks for your post. Maybe one day we'll make the move.

Ron

First, non-Orthodox American Jews are not viewed as second class Jews by the State of Israel. The ultra-Orthodox may, but they are a distinct minority.

Secondly, most Israelis do want to resolve the Palestinian conflict. We are just trying to find a partner to join us.

Third, the Israeli government is not moving further to the right, the entire country is. And the reason is security and intransigence.

Fourth, while we may be losing some friends in Europe, we are making friends in Asia and with Moslem and Arab governments.The American left is out of touch with our reality

Most important, we are a sovereign nation. We live in an ultra-chaotic part off the world. And the vast majority of Israelis love our country, but we tend to argue about everything. SO we will read an article like this and tell other readers that it is part of an alternative universe.

It is absurd to tell us that we need to change because we make some American Jews self-conscious about their being Jewish. We respect your needs, but we live in a very dangerous place. Why not speak more loudly the the American media about its defective journalism regarding Israel.

In 2003, when things were bad here, I listened to three American Jews waiting to board a flight to Israel. They spoke of their great risk in coming and one said he would not even tell his mother that he was making his three day trip here. They spoke loudly in the boarding gate area where there were many Christians on a pilgrimage visit and many Israelis returning home. I would rather stand tall as in Israeli in my country than cower as Jews have done for centuries.

We live here and while we empathize with the discomfort we may cause, we hold our heads high and are damn proud of our country. Gary Rosenblatt may be uncomfortable about some of our actions, and we prefer to take actions that allow our country's survival.

In my local mall I encounter more Moslems than most Americans do in a year. And I, and most people I know, do not view them with animosity, but as fellow shoppers.

Meh. In a decade or two the "great majority of American Jews" will be Orthodox. So, if the choice is to impose a suicidal two state "solution" on Israel to satisfy unaffiliated, non-committed, "pluralistic and liberal" Jews who will soon disappear or to move forward with the only rational course of action -- annexation of Judea and Samaria -- the latter seems the prudent course of action.

This is not new. When I was a college student 25 years ago there was a strong anti israel attitude among students and professors.

The only thing that has changed is the internet. In addition the president's open hostility to israel has given cover to liberal academics to now openly attack israel.

Once the president leaves office and hopefully a more pro israel president gets elected, I suspect some of this hostility will die down.

Are American liberal Jews this dumb?? You are just like the American Jews during the Holocaust. Chillen while Jews get slaughtered. You do not want to ruin your easy life here. Dont stick your neck out for your people liberal Jew, and then blame them. DISGUSTING.

I find this article very upsetting. Not because I think it is Israel's fault that "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."

Much of the mainstream Jewish community, including some Orthodox leaders, think that Israel needs to be the country of the "messiah" of the progressive Jewish imagination. Like those who are waiting for the Messiah in the traditional way, these progressive Jews want Israel to be the country of their dreams. They feel entitled to force israel to make the changes they endorse. Their love for Israel is conditional; not like the love of a parent to a child but like that of a friend "conditional on good behavior".

Until we address this issue, I fear things are getting worse. One example is the NY Jewish Week/Tel Aviv University program, "Can the Jewish Narrative be Revived" with Roger Cohen in conversation with Ari Shavit. The subtitle is "A conversation between two leading journalists on the complex and changing US-Israel relationship." I would add to that description, two journalists who take liberty with the facts and who make their living as Jews who criticize Israel, a very lucrative livelihood.

I have a website that I use to post articles and upcoming events that I helped to organize. For the first time I had to disable comments because of "Israel is a threat to world peace and should have its nuclear weapons removed".

The "left wing" Jews complain that they are silenced. My experience is the opposite, especially on our campuses.

Personally, I am very frightened but not surprised. Jews continue to confirm the thesis in Dr. Ken Levin's book, "The Oslo Syndrome, Delusions of a People Under Siege" which explains our self-destructive behavior. We must stand up to BDS with one clear voice as my Rabbi stated this Shabbat.

Israel was not founded by religious Jews. The political pioneers that built Israel, the ben Gurions, the Golda Meirs, the Jabotinskis, they were secular leftist liberal Zionists.

THOSE are the people that need to be returned to lead Israel. Not the religious groups that have hijacked Israeli politics.

Israel was supposed to have been a LIBERAL Democracy, not a religious theocracy. I am a non-religious, liberal Jew, and more and more I find my morals to be in a conflict with the Israeli right-wing leadership. I am no less Zionist than they are. But I much more like the early Israeli pioneers than they are.

Increasingly, over the past several years, as I have become less comfortable with the trend within the Israeli government (if not necessarily the entirety of Israeli society) to disparage the non-Orthodox, to belittle those who do not toe the "Greater Israel" line, to marginalize non-Jewish Israelis, and to view as threatening the diversity of Jewish religious practice (not just Reform but also diversity within traditional Judaism), I have become less comfortable as well providing financial support for Israeli organizations. In that sense, I am among those mentioned in Gary Rosenblatt's column as making it more difficult for those whose work involves raising money for Israel from those in the US. The column did little, if anything, to reinforce my position -- but the majority of the submitted comments did! You cannot ask me to support Israel (whatever "support" means to you) and then become personally offensive when I note Israel's significant blemishes. Nor can you respond: "Why don't you criticize the other guys?" I do -- but I have to point out that the "the other guys" (if I may be permitted that shorthand) don't cite my religious and ancestral affinity with them in seeking my support and in implying my responsibility to provide it.

Mr. Rosenblatt
This is not about our leadership. This is about us. The Israeli people.
Stop patronizing us. Stop telling us that you know better which kind of leadership we should vote for.
Unlike you, we do not have the luxury of being liberal when it is our duty to ensure our and our childrens safety.
So if that's why we will lose your support, so be it.
We'll manage without you.
What is certain is that we will not commit Collective suicide to gain your and your next generation's sympathy.

Another anti-Israel article by a a liberal, self-hating Jewish writer in the name of a liberal, self-hating publication infused with a morally patronizing tone and viewpoint that the poor Palestinians are the world's helpless morally superior victims and us Zionists are the evil representatives of a jack-booted, militaristic state sponsoring terrorism against them. Dai, maspiek already! Self-delusion, self-hatred and stupidity this article has it all. Rosenblatt and The Jewish Week you've plumbed new depths!

"A Plan, Any Plan to break the impasse" - is available - Read it Here:
"Allah Is a Zionist", by Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi
http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/28575/allah-is-a-zionist/

The MAIN reason the Israeli government does not work on implementing this plan is because Israeli leadership see religion as a sort of folklore, and does not understand that the Arab masses take religion seriously. Arab politicians are mainly secular also, but they DO understand how important religion is to the masses, and therefore make every effort to keep the masses ignorant. Arab masses are mainly ignorant of the Qur'an, and their knowledge of their religion is entirely made up of what they are told. This was stated by Muslim [Egyptian and Turkish] Academics on various occasions.

Without loud, crystal clear public condemnation of the 49 year illegal occupation and the severe, ongoing injustices that Israel perpetrates on the Palestinian people, any Jewish organization that might want to convince people that Israel is anything but right-wing and racist will not get too far.

Reading the comments, I'm puzzled. Few mention Israel's 48-year occupation. None mention the settlements or the right-wing Bennett-Netanyahu-Danon government which bans books and antagonizes the world.

How long can Israel occupy the Palestinians? How many years will they not have citizenship or equal rights?

Friends don't let friends drive drunk. If the Israeli government refuses to negotiate with moderate Abu Mazen, if it continues to expropriate Palestinian land and build more settlements, then we must say enough. Only pressure will force the Israeli government to make concessions for peace.

I implore older members of the Jewish community to see Israel not as an embattled David in the Arab world but as a Goliath ruling over the Palestinians for decades.

I can no longer support the Israeli government, because of its right wing reactionary policies, that counter any hope of a peace.

funny thing: how many of these frustrated types know anything about islam and how it's islam that prevents peace - period. The Jews can dance on the head of a pin and islam will start want them dead. how many of the readers here know anything about islam? where did you learn it? get consensus? check out the other sides? Got a qur'an? explore the doctrines of duality and abrogation? try those two for starters. until islam reforms (follow Dr. Zuhdi Zasser's group: "Muslim Reform Movement" - I support that group and Zuhdi) there will never be any peace with the Jews or Israel. Any other thinking is being willfully blind and in denial. Your choice, people.

are you addressing: 1 fund raising down? 2 support down for their positions? or 3 open identification with israel down among college students?
if 1-- times are changing, economy is a lot different... and need in US for funding jewish causes is increasing...
if 2 -- not sure it is... although it might be that democratic party's goal of making peace in middle east might be putting blame on the democracy and not on the one's refusing to make peace -- this will pass once as israel becomes more aligned with egypt, russia and far east and european funded NGOs are exposed for what they are...
if 3 -- true, so need to either deal in logic and point out that israel is only place safe for women, gays, non-caucasions, christians, jews, non-muslims, and many muslims (see the shiite-sunni religious war...) and that the PA (which is in its 10th year of a 3 year term) and Hamas are not the answer -- but truly educating their youth re peace and not killing and dying is not the answer

can't let the bad guys wear you down!

Who gets attacked all over the world for being Jewish? The orthodox get attacked all over Europe and in the US not the liberal so called jews. Wait until Issil or Boko or AL Shannon etc get a Nuke and blackmail the world. In NY Columbia, Syracuse, NY have lots of Liberal Jewish students who support anti Israel rallies but show no support for Jewish causes. Our younger generation has been brainwashed by the Liberal media and crazy college prof who hate Israel. Being a Jew is not about fitting in because we never will. Everyone hates Jews always have and nothing has changed. The Occupy Wall St crowd was very Anti Semitic. BLACK LIVES ANTI Semitic. Neo Nazi Anti Semitic etc. They all hate us and that will not change anytime soon. ISRAEL WILL SURVIVE YOU CAN COUNT ON IT. NEVER AGAIN WILL JEWS BE PUSHED AROUND FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY. ISRAEL IS ALL OURS AND BELONGS TO EVERY JEW.

The younger generation of non-observant Jews is moving away from Israel because they are moving away from Judaism. They are moving away from Judaism because Torah makes demands on people and liberalism as it is practiced today as become hostile to any kind of authority, particularly religious authority. The result of self-indulgence is that there an ever falling birthrate among the liberal Jewish population and most likely they will cease to be a meaningful force within a generation or two. Israel's political climate is irrelevant to all this. The support will be coming from the rapidly browning orthodox population.

Israelis have good reasons not to respect a number of somewhat dishonest, supposedly progressive American Jewish leaders whose public interventions can be extremely damaging. See, for example, http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/promoting-de-legitimisers-of-israel-or-the-new-adventures-of-rabbi-jacobs-in-hypocritical-progressive-land/

I basically subscribe to the previous replies but what caught my eye was the inclusion of women as a fast growing segment. I know that Amazon is a juggernaut but what is happening to the men are they no longer in production or has the US done the reverse of China and weeding them out at birth?

It looks like some of the next generation of American Jews are looking for their 'safe space', but the truth is there is no safe space for Jews, never has been, never will be. Israel is closest thing that we have. Those who are discouraged from supporting the Jewish state because "it is not cool to be Jewish on campus" will not be Jews in the future, they will be Americans with some Jewish blood in them.
Israel and Judaism cannot set its course according to Pew polling. The wisdom of ages tells us that '"it is hard to be a Jew". Jews have always survived based on quality, not quantity. Maybe US Jewish leaders need to take a strong stand supporting the state and people of Israel and not cater to the weaker links in the American Jewry. Standing strong works better than forever compromising your principles. I know this works as we have created our own next generation of proud Zionists 20 and 30 year olds (and we are not an orthodox family).

Well-said, honey.

It seems that the various alphabet organizations want to be in denial that a non-Torah oriented approach is not working. They have spent decades and generations trying to impose this, whether it is keeping Orthodox Jews out of having a voice or trying to minimize their impact. Now they don't even want Torah observant Jews to administer life cycles that require Orthodox involvement and seem to resent that frum communities found their own funders without non-orthodox acting as a gatekeeper. All they seem to care about is their perception of power and importance. If non-Orthodox ceases to exist, they will have their fancy offices in upper Manhattan, but they will be speaking for no one and the non-Jewish world will know it too.

I loved this article!
NB: "the strong perception today is that the Israeli government is moving further right, and [becoming more] intransigent..."

The problem is not with Israel. Israel has not changed - it is the diaspora Jewry that has become assimilated and more and more distant from Judaism. They are defining their own religion that barely resembles Judaism and they think that they count and are authentic. Israel needs to stand its ground in this increasingly hostile world. Diaspora Jewry should join and support Israel before they completely lose their Jewish identity.

Gary - time for you to consider another job. Your implication is that Bibi is at fault. Fine. That's your opinion. But you are an American trying dictate Israeli policy from afar. It is difficult to make peace with the group of thugs that tries to destroy your existence and their government is utterly corrupt. You want to be liberal, fine. You want to be pro Obama, fine. But personally, I hope you step down from your perch because you don't speak for me and other modern orthodox people whose numbers are growing because you and the liberal left will be proven wrong in time... I hope not but likely to be the case.

" But you are an American trying dictate Israeli policy from afar."
REALLY?
NEVER in history has a foreign "leader" done an end-run around the US President, State Department and Pentagon with an audacious unauthorized speech before Congress, that threatened US National Security and was designed to help BB's re-election and to interfere in US policy. Don't make me choose between my country and Israel. This cynical act has done far more to divide American Jews and endanger Israel than a good journalist who speaks the truth that troubles deniers like you.

With Garry Rosenblatt we get the same-old-same-old.
Most Israelis are secular. For most, the cultural connection is far stronger than the religious -- or if you prefer -- the theological connection. That should make Garry a happy man.
Unfortunately, we can't give Gary all he wants and for a very obvious reason. Israel's enemies pose an existential threat such as is faced by few other nations. The strong position of the Israeli rabbinate does deserve serious attention. But when your house is on fire is no time to call a meeting in the basement to discuss who lit the match.

The writer seems to be confused between support for the country, Israel, and the the government of the moment. Support for the country and its people should be unconditional. If you don't like the current leadership and its direction, become a citizen and change it from the inside, rather than 'kibitz' from America and let someone else bare the consequences of your brilliant ideas. It is all right to critique and even make suggestions from abroad but your support should not depend on whether your suggestions are accepted or not.
I suspect that the weakening support among the young generation stems from the constant bombardment of anti Israel and anti Jewish propaganda that includes masses of lies and historical revisionism, coupled with weak and uncommitted education, which encourages to 'go along to get along' rather than fight for your principles. The only way to counter this is strong education that is based on moral clarity. This education starts at home and continues through schools, youth movements and trips to Israel to see and experience the truth rather than hear about it from unreliable sources.

Young people are being corrupted by the left wing media and leftists who have gained control of the educational system at all levels. They no longer can think clearly. It is clearly the Palestinians and the Arab countries who are at issue. Their only solution is to do away with a Jewish state. America ought to stop funding the PA until and unless they cease their teaching of hate in the schools, mosques, and media, and teach that Israel as a Jewish state is legitimate and here to stay.

Thank you James Glenn, you said it better than I could, and to this liberal and his article if he stop leaning to the left, his job will be much easier!

Support of Israel is a spiritual endeavor. If one is not Orthodox, he or she is free to worship there but is not free to exercise theological clout. One must essentially observed Orthodox ritual at weddings and funerals. A non-Orthodox Jewish clergyman has more religious power in the U.S. than he or she does in Israel. That is the source of the tension and American Jews are not being honest about it. Israel is complex. Perhaps 10% of its population is Orthodox. While most Israelis are not Orthodox, they see the Orthodox as legitimate, though they do not like them very much. They simply do not care about non-Orthodox's views or feelings of not having religious legitimacy or power in Israel.

Being Jewish is always going to be hard and our image is always going to be challenged. I believe that the more knowledgable we are about Judaism and Israel, the more self-confident about our purpose in life we will be and the better able to withstand unfair criticism and prejudice we'll be. I have found that people respect honesty and authenticity about our beliefs. The struggles of being Jewish and pro-Israel on campus arise because many are not very knowledgeable which makes debating impossible. Add to that burden, many Jewish students lean to the Left-wing, which is generally squishy about religion and hostile to the Jewish state. I see the divergent directions of Israel and Jewish Americans as mostly an American problem. Of course Israel is not perfect, but I assume young Israelis on campus do not have an identity problem. They know who they are. Young Jewish students in America have a big problem. They are essentially outsiders in their own country which is a terrible place to be. That is why Jewish students in America have to know Israel and Judaism. Traveling to Israel will be a huge help. That will lead to self-confidence and earn respect from the 98% of students who are not Jewish.

Those so called Jews who want Torah to change will have to wait a very long time! Not happening.

1) I feel bad that Gary feels the 'job' of supporting Israel is getting harder every day. First of all, supporting Israel is NOT a job - it is a responsibility. Second, supporting Israel is not getting harder for REAL pro-Israel Jews - we understand that there are differences, but they do not matter in the long run. What is getting harder is understanding American Jews who think they know more about what is good for Israel than Israeli Jews - Chutzpah to the max!

2) To be fair - it should also be noted that there is growing frustration in Israel with the American Jewish Community. With so many Americans still supporting Obama, being in favor of the Iran fiasco, supporting J Street, the Israeli frustration is warranted.

Glad you finally saw the light, Gary. Better late than never!

Take a look at the Pew Report- the next generation of American Jews are going to be Orthodox. And frankly we don't care about this heretical, anti-Torah nonsense. So in fact, I would say, Israel is on the right side of the future of American Jewry. Too bad that they have made some missteps recently...

There is constant reference to Israel as the only democracy in the region or as our strongest ally or how liberal they are toward gays compared to their neighbors, yet all of this is irrelevant and only serves to cloud the real issues: The treatment and displacement of Arabs within Israel and its territories.

Israel is great but if some of the money now stays here at home, helping to save the dying JCCs and the Jewish Day Schools and the synagogues, that would not be a bad thing.