Academics
1 . Front Page

Current Israeli Attitudes Toward American Jews Contexts, Problems and Recommendations by Yaron Ezrahi The Hebrew University of Jerusalem The Israel Democracy Institute Jerusalem February 1999 With an Introduction by David Clayman, American Jewish Congress A paper prepared for the Center

2 . Introduction (By David Clayman)

By David Clayman Jews are supposedly just like other people, only more so. If that is the case, then the Israel American Jewish relationship may not be unique. A recent article in the New York Times described the problems American

3 . I. Current Israeli Attitudes Towards American Jews

The relations between Israeli and American Jews are based on the premise of a common peoplehood and the realities of profoundly distinct social, political and cultural configurations. The sources of common peoplehood include shared religion and common cultural and historical

4 . II. Key Differences

The patterns of Israeli Jewish American relations have been affected by three unique conditions in modern Jewish history. The first concerns Israel, which is, of course, the only modern Jewish community organized as a polity, as a nation state. The

5 . III. Implications

The differences between the configurations of religion, culture, society and politics in Israel and in the Jewish American Diaspora have far reaching implications for the development of the relations between communities. In each of these respective contexts of Jewish life,

6 . Israel

For Israelis, “Israel” is, of course, a rich, varied category of experience. Seen from within, however, it is always in some sense the purer ideal of Israel, edited and often brutally reduced and diluted by “Israel” as a living experience.

7 . Jews, Arabs and Jewish History

The Israeli chapter that opened in modern Jewish history some half a century ago provided Diaspora Jews with the possibility of a vicarious connection with the corporate, collective expression of Jewish peoplehood. From this perspective, the place of the Arabs

8 . America

The ethos of many American Jews, like that of other immigrant citizens of America, has been the ethos of America as the land of freedom and unlimited possibilities. In Israel, the legacy of early collectivism, and especially Socialist Zionism, has

9 . Conclusions and Recommendations

The least that can be said in concluding this brief discussion is that the parameters of the interactions and transactions between Jewish American and Israeli leaders have been undergoing inexorable changes. The analysis of a few instances of systematic misunderstanding

10 . About the Author

Yaron Ezrahi is a Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and the author of Rubber Bullets, Power and Conscience in Modern Israel. The author wishes to acknowledge consultation