Pluralism and Jewish Solidarity in Polarizing Times
A number of internal polarization processes have surfaced in Israel and the Diaspora
over the past year. They are influenced in different ways by parallel political schisms
taking place in American and Israeli society. In certain areas Israeli and Diaspora Jews
may be heading in different directions, and expectations should be re-examined. The
political system in Israel and the Jewish communal system in the Diaspora are supposed
to facilitate frameworks that can contain a variety of opinions. Traditionally, this has been
accomplished through mutual respect and a sense of unity, and through a commitment
to certain “rules of the game” that allow us to be, at once, “different” and “unified.”
Coexistence through the careful management of the complexities of human reality
— which doesn’t have and doesn’t require full consensus on every issue — offers
expression to the pluralistic spirit of a healthy society.
Are these current polarizing processes so extreme that they threaten our
“togetherness”? Do they create pressures too weighty for our sense of “mutual
responsibility”? How can we mitigate and neutralize this danger threatening the
internal cohesion of the Jewish people and its pluralistic spirit: in Israel, the Diaspora,
and the interwoven connections between the two?
This is the framework for our brainstorming conference this year, which concludes
a series of JPPI discussion seminars on Jewish Values and the Use of Force in Armed
Conflict held throughout the Jewish world.