Why Jews in Israel and Diaspora Share Fate

Editorial

Unity Amid Divisions: Israelis comfort one another after the bodies of three kidnapped teenagers were found.
getty images
Unity Amid Divisions: Israelis comfort one another after the bodies of three kidnapped teenagers were found.

Published July 11, 2014, issue of August 01, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

This is one of those times when the gulf between we American Jews and our Israeli kin seems wider than the ocean. As sirens blare and rockets whoosh through the sky there, we here can only empathize, support and, for those so inclined, pray. We can hope for a speedy end to the attacks and counterattacks, and for the minimum loss of innocent life and property on all sides, but anything else seems, well, unseemly.

This is one of those times when solidarity trumps all.

It helps explain the conclusions of a new study released by the Israel Democracy Institute, conclusions that might otherwise sound contradictory. In a survey of the adult Jewish population of Israel, the IDI found that 60% of the respondents believe that Jews in Israel are a nation separate from Jews in the Diaspora; 36% disagree. But the survey also found that 62% believe that Jews in Israel and the Diaspora share a common fate.

How can we not share an identity but share a fate?

Perhaps because of times like these.

Sixty-six years after the founding of the state, Israeli Jews have developed their own identity, character and personality, forged in a tough neighborhood and shaped by the enormous variety of cultures millions of immigrants have brought to the country. As Tamar Hermann, who conducted the poll, explained, “the ‘New Jew’ is different than the Diasporic Jew.”

But Hermann also said that a constant majority of Israeli Jews over the years insist that they share a common fate with Jews in the Diaspora, and that connection, complicated though it may be, is growing ever deeper. As Israel matures and strengthens, it is better able to reach out to Jews beyond its borders for more than a handout, to genuinely assist American Jews as they face rapid assimilation and European Jews as they confront increasing anti-Semitism.

So while the gap in lived experience cannot be ignored, the belief that our fates are interwined remains as strong as ever.


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!
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • 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.