The movement to de-legitimize Israel – that was concentrated for years in the US Universities – has expanded lately to the elementary and secondary public schools in the US. This is a fight that Jews in the Diaspora and only they can and must fight: the future of their children is at stake. Any help the Knesset members and the Israeli public could provide – including lowering the tone of the political discourse and divisions within Israel and, specially, avoiding trying to drag and entangle the Jewish communities in the Diaspora and even foreign (!!) governments, financial and other institutions in the Western world into the internal discussions held in Israel – will be very welcome.
Neither Israel nor any of the modern democracies use the ancient Greek model of direct democracy. It is fine for sectors of the Israeli public to assemble from time to time in the streets and voice their approval or disapproval of some steps taken or to be taken by the elected government. But actual decisions are not made in the streets but in the Parliament, the Knesset. This is why there are general elections in Israel, where everyone votes who the next government will be – and not only those demonstrating at a particular moment in the streets.
Parties make mistakes, take unwise positions or decisions, and end up losing the elections, or are unwilling to create working and stable coalitions with other parties with whom they share many values. For example, what are the “profound” philosophical, political and economic differences that led the National Unity party (12 seats) to dismiss a coalition with the winner of the last elections, the Likud party (32 seats), which gave the latter no choice but to form a coalition with the Religious Zionism party instead (also 12 seats), who has less ideological and political affinity with the Likud than the National Unity party? This is not the end of the world. They can analyze what went wrong and try to fare better or form different coalitions in the next elections. This is the way modern Democracies work.
Voters in Israel cast their vote last November. Israelis voted, and now they have to solve the problems within themselves. Jews in the Diaspora have a wide range of opinions – left, right and center, secular and religious. Unless Israelis will propose to give the right to vote to the Knesset to the Diaspora Jews – do not ask them to publicly intervene in matters that divide the Israelis. Do not invite nor encourage demonstrations of Jews in cities around the world against the Israeli government: they are interpreted and used by others to de-legitimize Israel as a whole. And the latter is the image that will remain indelible in the general public in the US and Europe. Ask them only to support Israel as a whole, in those matters that constitute the shared values of Israel and the Jewish people in the Diaspora, independently of what government is in place at a given moment in time.
Jaime Kardontchik, PhD (Physics)
Silicon Valley, California