Jewish Peoplehood – Between Attachment and Criticism
Published אוק 23, 2012
Three important facts touching on the relationship between Israel and American Jews – the two communities that together comprise some four-fifths of the Jewish world – have recently become clear and are agreed upon by almost all researchers:
1. Young American Jews are not “distancing” from Israel. They still feel “attached” to it.
2. Travel/study Israel programs work: young people who experience Israel feel a strengthened attachment to it.
3. Attachment to Israel does not mean an absence of critical thinking about it, nor does it imply agreement with Israel’s current policies.
Similarly, three important conclusions arise from these facts that should influence the Jewish establishment’s policy making in the years to come:
1. There is no crisis of lack of attachment in relations between Israel and the American Diaspora that requires intervention.
2. All evidence suggests that travel/study Israel programs should be strengthened and expanded.
3. While Israelis and Americans can and should try to agree on more issues, they seem destined to maintain a relationship with each other based on an understanding that, in many areas, they will not agree.
The paper is briefly survey developments relating to points 1 and 2 and look more broadly at point 3, and pose questions that should be addressed by Jewish people policy makers.