To those whose boards are (re) considering dropping the Israeli Bond drives over the forthcoming High Holidays and taking other measures to disassociate from other forms of support for Israel, I write the following:
I grow increasingly disturbed by the notion of us American Jews taking our toys and staying home, no longer lending our support to Israel or bringing what leverage we may have to bear on our government to stand by her.
It seems to me that the Reform movement must share some of the blame for where we have come to today. Given our (pardon the expression) ham-handed support for those political movements and politicians we thought had our ideological interests in mind and by not constantly, for the past forty years, beaten a drum to the secular elements within Israeli society to reform Israel’s political system and to be more aware of the rip-offs they have been victimized by, given the inclusion of the Orthodox parties in the ruling coalitions, we now find ourselves threatened with a de facto excommunication from the Israeli Jewish scene. With pain and no small anxiety, many of our generation are now threatening what the next generation to follow us has already done. They’ve just pulled the plug and walked away.
My hope is that we shall not back off and quit our support, but will 1) redouble our efforts to assure Israel of the best American Congressional support she can have 2) demand of our movement a wiser, more focused, more realistic approach to the realm of Israeli politics. We cannot have this without a concerted outreach to the secularist, Israeli electorate. We need to remind this majority entity through myriad newspaper articles and every other media outlet possible of what they are losing by ignoring the Ultra-Orthodox and their political agenda. We need to awaken their ire just as ours has been. We need to send delegations to join forces, even if, at the beginning, these efforts seem futile. I urge this because to do otherwise is to cut our noses to spite our faces.
I am not willing to throw Israel over because of the religious bigotry of the Chief rabbinate and their Knesset flunkies. They have gone steps-too-far and the Israeli populace needs to know this and to respond by rejecting their attempts to create fissures in K’lal Yisrael. This is not the time to throw Israel over. It is time to rethink our efforts and energies and to advocate, constructively, both for ourselves and for the State of Israel.