Annual Assessments

2019 Annual Assessment

Global Trends and Policy Recommendations
Integrated Anti-Semitism Index: Europe and the US
Special Chapters: Jewish Creativity and Cultural Outputs


Shmuel Rosner


Avinoam Bar-Yosef, Dan Feferman, Shlomo Fischer Avi Gil, Inbal Hakman, Michael Herzog, Dov Maimon, Gitit Paz-Levi, Steven Popper, Uzi Rebhun, John Ruskay, Noah Slepkov, Adar Schiber, Rami Tal, Shalom Salomon Wald


Barry Geltman

2019 Annual Assessment

The gauge has moved in a somewhat negative direction this year
The dynamics of the relations between Jewish communities did not change much this year compared to previous years. Long-term trends that had been identified in the past can still be seen throughout the Jewish world and in Israel. First, the trend that that continued to register this past year – the governments of the United States and Israel are in the hands of political streams that represent values of conservativism, nationalism, and tradition. In Israel, most of the Jewish public supports this leadership, while in the US most of the Jewish public opposes it. This polarization undermines the connection to Israel of Diaspora Jews, who tend to hold more liberal attitudes, particularly the younger generation. Some of these Jews feel that Israel is not loyal to values that are important to them. Their claims focus on Israel’s attitude toward the Palestinians, the status of Israeli Arabs, gender equality, questions touching on religion and state, suspicions of government corruption, and more. The internal-political polarization in the United States, alongside the dominance of the political right wing in Israel, which was demonstrated once again in this year’s elections, make it harder to develop a sense of solidarity with Israel among these groups.

Furthermore, we should mention several additional developments of this past year that have affected relations between the Jewish communities: 1. The impact of anti-Semitic phenomena (for more on this, see the integrated Anti-Semitism Index below); 2. Political trends in the United States, primarily developments regarding the evolving attitudes within the Democratic Party – supported by most American Jews – toward Israel; 3. Perceptions among some Diaspora Jews regarding the passing of Israel’s “Nation State” law and its significance; 4. The Israeli elections and the policy emerging in their wake.

These developments have had a certain effect on the dynamics of inter-community relations. However, it is not always easy to determine whether the influence is positive (enhancing the relationship) or negative (weakening the relationship). The following table briefly describes the trends and developments in the past year that contributed to enhancing or weakening relations between Jewish communities around the world – with an emphasis on Israel-Diaspora relations. It is understood that the nature and intensity of relations between Israel and Jews in other countries, particularly the United States, also has implications for other dimensions relating to the status of the Jewish people, such as geopolitics, or identity and identification, mentioned in other sections.

Development Dynamic that enhances the relations Dynamic that weakens the relations
Right wing governments in Israel and the US The governments are not in a conflict that forces Jews to “choose a side” (as was the case during the previous administration) Makes it difficult for most American Jews who oppose the right. Emphasizes the gap between political attitudes among Israeli Jews and American Jews
Rising anti-Semitism Generates solidarity among all Jews Leads to reciprocal claims regarding policies that “encourage” anti-Semitism
Other global trends (for more information, see the section on Geopolitics) Lack of stability increases the need for a connection to a community that is very stable (Israel) Possibility of confrontation between Israel’s interests and local Jewish interests
Status quo of relationship of religion and state in Israel Data presented this year show greater identification with liberal Judaism among Jews in Israel Issues that permanently create gaps have not yet been resolved (Western Wall, conversion, marriage), and others have joined these (reduced power of the courts to rule on these matters)
Nation-State Law Emphasizes anchoring Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people Controversy between the majority in Israel and the majority of Diaspora Jewry regarding the law’s effect on the status of non-Jews in Israel