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2019 Annual Assessment

  • As the next US presidential election campaign approaches, Israel should strive to maintain its current good relations with the Trump administration, without signaling that these relations attest to a full adoption of the President’s value system. This is necessary due to growing political polarization in the US and the need to preserve bipartisan sympathy for Israel, to the extent possible. At the same time, Israel should cultivate ongoing dialogue with those segments of the American Jewish public that express criticism of Israeli policy, so as to ensure the resilience of the Israel-Washington-American-Jewry triangle.
  • As anti-Semitic incidents proliferate, the Israeli government must prepare appropriately for potential immigration, especially from European countries. As noted in earlier Jewish People Policy Institute reports, the main barriers that cause prospective olim to reconsider aliya to Israel have to do with employment, children’s education, and housing. The employment barrier could be addressed by continuing the (unfinished) effort to provide career guidance and degree recognition even before olim have left their countries of origin; training and placement programs could also be created and offered to olim after their arrival in Israel. Because the relevant immigrant populations are, for the most part, highly-educated and economically strong, there can be no doubt that such investment would be profitable and feasible for the Israeli economy.
  • Israel needs to exercise caution in its relations with countries and political parties that exhibit great friendship for Israel but whose leaders are veering away from democratic norms or allowing anti-Semitic elements to thrive. Beyond considerations related to actual Israeli values, one should take into account that strengthening relations with countries perceived as hostile to the liberal-democratic ethos harms Israel’s image in the eyes of broad segments of the US public, some of which could potentially reach positions of power and promote assertive international policies unfavorable to Israel. Israel’s image as a friend of these anti-liberal countries is also causing the younger generation of Jews to distance themselves from Israel, thereby compromising Israel’s future ability to rely on American Jewry in times of need.
  1. See: Sasson, T., Saxe, L., Chertok, F., Shain, M., Hecht, S., & Wright, G. (2015). Millennial children of intermarriage: Touchstones and trajectories. Waltham, MA: Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University; National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students 2014, Barry Kosmin, Ariela Keysar; American Jewry’s Great Untapped Resource: Grandparents, Jack Wertheimer, Mosaic Magazine, 2016.
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