click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




Telling Israel What She Should Do
Mom with a View

Telling Israel What She Should Do

Israel is not and should not be independent of Jews throughout the rest of the world.

by

The relationship of the Jews in America with the Jews in the Land of Israel is a deep and complicated one. Since we are all one people, the State of Israel cannot act with complete independence. Their words and deeds have implications for Jews throughout the world. As an example, one -- of many -- concerns about Israel destroying Iran's nuclear capabilities is the dangerous impact it would have on the remaining Jews of Iran.

Likewise the words and actions of the Jewish community in America and Europe affect our brothers and sisters in the Land of Israel.

Secondly, between U.S. government aid (secured by AIPAC and other Jewish political involvement) and private contributions, Israel receives billions of dollars per year from abroad. There are few, if any, non-profit organizations whose donors are wiling to give so much money yet relinquish all say in its allocation or in the strategic planning of the organization.

So however the politicians may pontificate, Israel is not and should not be independent of Jews throughout the rest of the world.

On the other hand, what exactly is that role? What is the appropriate attitude? From lives of comfort and luxury in secluded and excusive enclaves throughout America, is it appropriate to dictate policy to the Israeli government?

"War hath no fury like a non-combatant." C.E. Montague, 1922, Disenchantment.

If the State of Israel is about to enact a law ("Who is a Jew?" perhaps) that could potentially shatter the Jewish community in America or permanently alienate them from their Israeli counterparts, we need to speak up.

But when it comes to war, we need to keep quiet and just pray. If our children are not fighting, if our sons and daughters' lives are not at stake, then who are we to advise others?

This is not a question of correct military strategy which the experts can debate, but of the role of American and European Jewry.

Heavy decisions with serious and long-lasting implications -- to keep or give up land, to negotiate with or ignore the Palestinians, to build a fence or encourage free commerce and so on -- must be made by those whose sons and daughters are dying to defend the land.

You can't sit in an elegant kosher restaurant in Los Angeles or New York and impassionedly send someone else's children to die. Or be outraged by government policies when you haven't made the choice to live in the Land of Israel and intimately share in the struggle.

Every time I hear these debates from my loud-mouthed fellow countrymen I get so angry (my husband drags me out of the room so I don't get our names permanently removed from all social calendars!).

In Israel, terror threats are a daily concern, the tragic death of soldiers is not an irregular occurrence and they are frequently teetering on the brink of war. Fateful elections lie ahead and the right decision isn't easy. But one thing we must accept. Since it is the lives of the Jews of Israel at stake, it is only their representatives that can makes these difficult, complicated and frequently heart-wrenching decisions. Our job is to pray they choose wisely.

Published: February 11, 2006


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 19

(19) Shoshana -Jerusalem, November 27, 2012 5:58 PM

it all depends

Certainly outsiders cannot possibly know more or begin to undertand what is happening here concerning the military because they do not have all the information. But when it comes to religious matters that could affect the survival of the Jewish people, then Israel does have to concider the future of Judaism and not the whims of a particular politition who decides to run on an anti-Jewish platform. For instance, when Israel rubber-stamps any goy as a Jew, this adversly affects world Judaism. And another example, it unfortunately happens that the Israelis will dig up an anceint cemetary to build a road, and leave the bones scattered all over the place. And then we will read about a Jewish cemetary desecrated some place in Europe, and the Israelis are shocked. I always think to myself, what do they expect, after what they did themselves did. So Jews all over the world certainly have a right and also a responsiblity to interfere, and make sure that Judaism is preserved in the State of Israel. And by the way, it was because of our Jewish claim , based on our Bibical rights to the Land, that the original League of Nations decided to give it back to us. P.S. Emunah mentioned that there are people eating in elegant kosher resturants in L.A. and N.Y. Please enjoy your meal but remember that there are famiies here who hardly have money for any food at all. Perhaps you could help them also.

(18) Sam, February 22, 2006 12:00 AM

I don't agree......

First , Israel is absolutely dependable on foreign aid and political support , this - for sure - would legitimize " telling Israel what do do " by those countries which support it....That's not different from Israel's neighbors by the way...

In the 1950s , 60s and 70s , Israel was in the Western camp , while its neighbors were in the Soviet camp , believe it or not , this was a main reason for conflict , for example , once Egypt left the communist camp to the western camp , a peace treaty came ....It was the same for Jurdan....

2 nd , what Israel do politically , has its effect on Jews around the world , so , Jews around the world should keep the right to " tell Israel what to do "....I'm talking about advice , of course....

3 rd , many times , the one who watch from the outside can see more and take better decisions than that who is inside under pressure and emotions....

(17) Larry Bernstein, February 20, 2006 12:00 AM

US Role In Israel-Bravo Bush

It is incomprehensible to me how anyone (but the left wing) could look at George Bush and not see him as Israel's best friend in the White House in the past several administrations. It is the "even handed" policy that led to the debacle at Oslo. It is Bush's unwavering support form Israel that is their greatest sourvce of strength and that wll evendually bring the Palestinians to the bargaining table.

We must beware of the ultra liberal Jews like Howard, who would sell out Israel in the name of an even handed policy. How can you be even handed with people who are sworn to kill you?

It is strange that Jews will bad mouth any Republican, even one who is their best friend

(16) Nicole Shapiro, February 15, 2006 12:00 AM

I could not agree with this author more - unless the lives of our children are at stake , who are we to dictate the decisions they should make...

(15) Anonymous, February 14, 2006 12:00 AM

What Living In Israel Means to Me

I thoroughly agree with this blog entry. Personally, before I made aliya I did feel that the diaspora Jewry was entitled to a very large say in what happens in Israel. When I landed here I realised that the significance of living here is that one binds one's future existence with that of Am Yisrael and Israel and that one's future is no longer intertwined with that of a Christian South Africa, UK or USA. As much as Israel desperately needs prayers and money from abroad, the difference between the commitment of money and that of one's family's very existence must be respected.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub