July 18, 2018
It is that utter lack of interest in what actually interests the citizens of Israel that has to change.
Israel is composed of Orthodox Jews who (aside from a few statistically meaningless exceptions) are opposed to any change to the long-standing status quo and the mass of secular Israelis who, while not opposed to the egalitarian prayer space, just couldn’t care less about the Kotel.
On our way to dinner earlier this week, my wife and I bumped into a group of soldiers. We were about to simply walk by when one of them stopped us to tell us he was a good friend of our son. American, a recent graduate of a leading American university, he’d made aliyah, joined the army, and is serving in Duvdevan, a special operations force.
We chatted with three or four of them, some American and some not, for a few moments, said good-bye and made our way to the restaurant. They were, I then remarked to my wife, the best of the best. Lovely, personable, clearly smart; and the Americans among them had made a brave and inspiring choice to do what Moses said the tribes of Reuben and Gad needed to do if they wanted to be part of our people – live wherever you want (though in this case, at least a couple had made aliyah), but join us in protecting ourselves and making life here possible.
The next morning, I awoke to an email from a close friend whose daughter is very involved in If Not Now, the organization of Jewish American millennials that is trying to “change the conversation” – while noting on its website that it takes no stand on Jewish statehood, and that it was created during the war of the summer of 2014 to “end the war on Palestine” (apparently unaware that there was also a war on Israel at the time). The email contained a link to an article in New York magazine (which suggests that INN is indeed getting some traction), which covered If Not Now, the fight it has picked with Birthright and its attitudes to the Jewish establishment.