Israel and World Jewry – A Strong Relationship
Since the founding of the State of Israel, there has been a symbiotic relationship between world Jewry and the state. Even before 1948, Zionist leaders from Ze’ev Jabotinsky to Chaim Weizmann traveled the world seeking support among Jews for a Jewish state.
Additionally, Eddie Jacobson, the Jewish longtime friend of Harry Truman, helped convince the president to support Israel in its earliest stages.
Zionist and Israeli leaders have been nurturing the relationship between Israel and world Jewry for many years, and vice versa. The Birthright Israel program is an example of Israel and world Jewry working together to foster support for Israel by bringing young Jews to Israel to plant the seeds for a lifelong connection.
The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas has further cemented this relationship – both by design and unintentionally.
The Jewish Federation movement has initiated a multi-million dollar campaign (Stop the Sirens) to provide relief to the millions of Israeli citizens negatively affected by the war. In addition, the Federation movement continues to offer solidarity missions to provide moral support.
What I find interesting, is the perception in the world that world Jewry and Israel are one and the same, manifested in horrible ways.
Anti-Semitic incidents around the world have spiked in recent weeks because of the conflict in Gaza. Rioters in France did not head to the Israeli embassy; they attacked synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses.
Rabbis have been severely attacked throughout Europe, and even here in the United States. In Great Britain, a supermarket removed kosher food from its shelves to avoid a boycott – not just Israeli products.
In Turkey, a government supported newspaper actually called on that country’s Jews to apologize on behalf of Israel for the continuation of the Gaza conflict.
We are looked at by much of the world as one and the same, the Jewish people and the Jewish state, and this fact will bring pride to some, consternation for others, but it is increasingly becoming fact.
Very little good comes from war, but if a closer relationship between Israel and world Jewry is one of its consequences, there is a small silver lining in this dark cloud.
Every Labor Day, our community supports a booth at WorldFest on the Belvedere. Please come down and visit us!
WorldFest, starting next Friday, is also a showcase of all the different cultures we have here in Louisville, something in which we in the Jewish community should take pride.
Our booth will be dedicated to Israel – providing information that will show a different side of Israel than has been shown in the media recently. The news is filled with conflict – in Gaza, in Iraq and even Missouri.
WorldFest celebrates our differences instead of exacerbating them.
WorldFest is all weekend, every Labor Day weekend, we look forward to seeing you there.