The recent Pew poll on American Jewish identity documented a declining attachment to Israel– and stirred handwringing at a Zionist panel at Yeshiva University last week, chiefly from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach who called the Pew findings “devastating, catastrophic” (as Alex Kane reported here).
And it is stirring fears in Israel as well. Here is Shmuel Rosner writing in the Times about the poll. Note that Rosner (left, from his website) is honest about the importance of the “powerful” Israel lobby for Israel’s ability to do whatever it wants.
The American Jewish community has always given Israelis the feeling that they have powerful family abroad, that they are not alone. And naturally Israelis fear the possibility of disengagement between these two communities. Yet the realities of the increasing interfaith marriage reported by Pew might lead to exactly that: an eventual decline in the American Jewish community’s affinity for Israel.
The Jews that tend to marry non-Jews in greater numbers are more inclined to feel less “connected” to Israel, according to the report. Since Pew found that this sector is growing, the fear of an eventual decline in American attachment for Israel is understandable.
Since Pew found that younger Jews feel less “connected” to Israel, the fear of an eventual decline in American attachment for Israel is understandable.
In a discussion last week in a Knesset committee meeting, the director general of the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, Dvir Kahane, said that dealing with American Jewry is an issue as “strategic” as Israel’s dealings Iran, asserting that the changing character of America’s Jews poses as grave a challenge for Israel as Iran’s attempt to acquire nuclear weapons.
Shmuley Boteach said the American intermarriage numbers in the Pew survey (58 percent of Jews marry out) are so “frightening” that he had to put together a forum on them in a hurry.
According to Wikipedia, Rosner is married to another Israeli, who is surely Jewish, and they have four children. My question is why the Times regularly runs this right winger’s opinion on these subjects, and has not published John Mearsheimer, the American political scientist who did more than anyone to put the Israel lobby on the political map. The Times regularly ran Mearsheimer’s opinions until he came out against the Iraq war.