TWO JEWISH PEOPLES?

The following is taken from an article by Dr Alon Liel, Director General of Israel’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 2000-01and Ambassador to South Africa from 1992-94,


‘In the global power game, the Jewish diaspora is not an important player. It has no sovereignty, no government, no air force or navy, and no seat at the UN.


However, the situation is different when it comes to the Jewish world and the Jewish state. The diaspora still contains the majority of world Jewry; more Jews still live outside Israel than inside. For many Israelis, especially the older generations, the wellbeing of the diaspora is seen as important, being “part of the family”.


Relations between Israel and the Jewish diaspora, especially in the US, deteriorated under Netanyahu’s leadership. The automatic backing Israel enjoyed on foreign affairs and security issues has almost gone. For the younger diaspora generation who grew up in democratic-pluralistic environments, the ongoing occupation is difficult to absorb.


They feel that Israel can afford a more generous approach to the Palestinians without risking its security. They are also worried about a possible erosion in Israel’s democratic nature. Liberal diaspora Jews sense growing hatred towards Israel in their own environments, some of it directed towards themselves.


They feel that the Israel their parents loved has become too arrogant and aggressive. When they compare what they see in front of their eyes to their family stories, they discover a different country. They believe the Jewish state was not established to master the lives of millions of Palestinians.


This perspective must be courageously transmitted to Israel. This modern diaspora voice carries moral weight. The Israeli public will gradually understand that by creating one binational Jewish-Palestinian state with four million second class citizens, it is also creating two separate Jewish peoples.


This prospect would definitely provoke some deep thinking. The creation of two separate Jewish peoples – a liberal-pluralistic-democratic Jewish world outside Israel and a conservative-nationalistic Jewish world inside, is a nightmare for many Israel.’


Source: Plus 61J Media




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