July 9, 2018
In its recently released survey comparing Jewish opinion in the U.S. and Israel, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) once again confirmed the growing gulf between the world’s two largest Jewish communities. In key areas ranging from politics to public prayer, from prime ministers to presidents, from peoplehood to peace processing, large gaps separate American Jews from their Israeli counterparts. Worried stories in the press followed the report’s release, with one essay ominously concluding: “The End of the Jewish People Is Here.”
And yet, the survey also testified to something else: 66 percent of American Jews and 78 percent of Israelis describe each other as “siblings,” “first cousins,” or “extended family.” What is more, they assert a sense of common destiny: roughly three-quarters of American and Israeli Jews see the success of both communities as vital to Jewish survival.
Here, then, is an up-to-date snapshot of the Jewish people: clashing frequently, arguing intensely, but for the most part unwilling to call it quits. In some ways, of course, this is nothing new. But however familiar it may be historically,