Watching as Israel's Election Approaches

How Netanyahu's Reelection Contest Will Affect American Jews

Lunging Right: What should American Jews think about Israel’s new direction?
Getty Images
Lunging Right: What should American Jews think about Israel’s new direction?

By Jay Michaelson

Published January 04, 2013, issue of January 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Having finally come to the end of a grueling election season in the United States, American Jews — certainly this one included — could be forgiven for wanting to take a long break from electoral politics. Yet those of us invested in the Israeli future, with friends and family living in cities recently targeted by Hamas attacks, well know that another important Jewish election looms on the horizon: the Israeli elections, called by Israel’s right/far-right governing coalition, currently ahead in all the polls.

From our perch in America, those of us without Israeli citizenship are relegated to the passive role of spectators and occasional commentators. Yet this election is nonetheless a defining moment, not only for Israel but for the American Jewish community as well.

Why? Because of three new developments — the new Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu political list, the E1 construction plan and the gradual coming-out of the Israeli right-wing narrative regarding the Palestinian issue, together with Palestine’s statehood status ­— have changed the game forAmerican Jews. We now know that the ruling parties in Israel are not interested in a peace agreement with the Palestinians or in a two-state solution to this crisis, and that they believe a long, protracted conflict is inevitable. Thus, we can no longer pretend all of “us” want to make peace. “We” don’t — some of us believe that the best we can hope for is a managed occupation.

Although such a position is eminently reasonable and defensible, the reason that its partisans don’t admit that they hold it is obvious: Europe, the United States and the rest of the civilized world do not agree. They believe that the current situation, in which 2.5 million Palestinians don’t have the right to vote and aren’t citizens of the country that rules over them, is unacceptable. To say it offends democratic values is an understatement. So, for more than 40 years, the public discourse — duplicitous as it may be — has been that there must be a solution to this crisis that involves these 2.5 million people having the same basic democratic rights as everyone else in the Western world.

The truth, however, is turning out to be quite different from the rhetoric.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.