Article Library / 2015

2014-2015 Annual Assessment

  • World Jewry has a positive image of Israel with respect to its use of force in asymmetrical conflicts. It is critically important that this image be preserved, both through Israel’s continued adherence to moral conduct during war (irrespective of Jewish Diaspora attitudes), and through effective hasbara (public relations) in Jewish communities. Among other things, Diaspora Jews should be apprised of the dilemmas that arise from the use of force and encouraged to discuss them in Jewish forums.
  • Many Jews had a hard time connecting “Jewish values” to use of force dilemmas, among other reasons, due to their essential absence in Jewish history. The moral use of force was not dealt with for countless generations because Jews did not have the ability to exercise force. Israel should consider the advisability of arranging an organized process to develop a values-based language in regard to the use of force, one that incorporates Jewish values and resonates for the younger generation. Jewish thinkers from around the world should be included in the process.
  • Separate and serious consideration should be given to the question of how Israel’s use of force affects relations between Diaspora Jews and the non-Jewish world. This is especially true where Jews are deeply engaged with their surrounding communities. New challenges are arising, such as the need to explain Israel to non-Jewish family members. In many instances these problems are causing people to “lower their Jewish profile” in order to avoid conflict. They require new reflection on how Israel is presented to the wider circles that are now an integral part of the Jewish community.
  • Israel would do well to listen to Diaspora Jewish criticism of its hasbara efforts. Diaspora Jews who seek – and are sometimes forced – to be involved in explaining Israeli positions to the world, deserve to have their many criticisms heard by Israel. In this context, official Israeli spokespeople should take into account the impressions their statements make on Diaspora Jews.
  • The IDF’s image as a moral army is a vital asset to Israel vis-à-vis the Jewish community, one that should be preserved and further cultivated. It is crucial to refrain from making statements or conveying messages that undermine this image.
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