Annual Assessments

2017 Annual Assessment

Annual Assessment 2017

Dr. Shlomo Fischer

Avinoam Bar-Yosef, Chaya Ekstein, Dan Feferman, Matthew Gerson
Avi Gil, Inbal Hakman, Yossi Chen, Michael Herzog, Dov Maimon, Gitit Paz-Levi,
Steven Popper, Uzi Rebhun, Shmuel Rosner, John Ruskay, Noah Slepkov, Shalom Salomon Wald

Barry Geltman
Rami Tal

Download the PDF Version:

2017 Annual Assessment

  1. JPPI recommends Israel be committed to strictly maintaining bi-partisan support in North America. Considering the polarization trend in the United States, Israel is advised to differentiate between developing a good working relationship with the Trump administration and projecting an ideological affinity to it. It is highly recommended that Israel maintain close relations with both major political parties, and make a parallel effort to cultivate ties with liberal elements (minorities, millennials), in the general society and the Jewish community even if they have a critical view of its policies.
  2. The Government of Israel is advised to weigh the implications of its decisions for Jews in the Diaspora and consider their concerns even when it seeks to advance its purely strategic and political interests. This recommendation also relates to advancing ties with foreign right-wing governments who tolerate anti-Semitic elements and even encourage such elements, as they make a distinction between Israel and the Jewish People in the Diaspora.
  3. The beginning of President Trump’s presidency has evinced contradictory evidence concerning his determination to serve as the principal leader in the international arena. It is to Israel’s advantage to encourage those voices within the administration calling for the United States to reassert itself as leader of the free world (with a special emphasis on Iran, Syria and the Israel-Palestinian negotiations.). If America focuses on domestic affairs while neglecting its global leadership role, it could harm Israel, encouraging other international actors to replace the U.S. in leading the peace process and erode the Israel’s deterrent power.
  4. Israel’s movement toward more market-oriented policies while also retaining several aspects of the prior centralized decision-making structure may uniquely position it as an exemplar of how it may be possible to shepherd modernizing change while maintaining social stability. The apparent discontinuity between systems may be converted into a strength. The government is advised to focus on human capital building as its main vehicle for fully effecting transition, especially in all levels of formal education.
  5. Jerusalem constitutes the central bond between the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Israel should find a way to engage Diaspora Jews – including those who fear that Jerusalem is developing in “the wrong direction” – in shaping the future of the city so this powerful bond can be maintained.
  6. Conservative and Reform Jewish groups worldwide should increase their investment in Israel with the aim of increasing the Reform and Conservative presence. The expanded funds should be invested in outreach and infrastructure, including expanding synagogues and community centers, high quality schools, kindergartens, and summer camps.
  7. In recent years, the demographic profile of the Jewish community of North America is shifting in the light of the growing weight of the Orthodox and Haredi communities. The President of Israel, the Speaker of the Knesset and the Chairman of the Jewish Agency should extend their best efforts to encourage the leadership of these groups to engage with the activities of the general organized Jewish community, and at the same time to encourage the major North American Jewish organizations to increase the involvement of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox in general communal life and leadership.
  8. Concerns in the U.S. about Israel’s living up to liberal values (rule of law, liberty, justice, democracy, religious pluralism, human rights, and minority rights), should draw the attention of decision makers as these values are an important component of Israel’s special relationship with the United States.