Draw Closer, Not Away
I’m not a natural caregiver. Diving headfirst into disharmony is not instinctive to me.
I’m a good father and a good husband because I work really hard at it, and I take great fulfillment from meeting that challenge.
I think of my relationship with Israel in much the same way. The miraculous existence of the modern Jewish State after two thousand years of exile is profound to global Jewry and commands my support. That overarching and elemental commitment supersedes my approval or disapproval for any given government or policy.
Make no mistake: I have grave concerns with several dangerous initiatives proposed by Israel’s current slim majority; you can see my arguments here.
But, we have only one Israel. And it is imperative that even in times of dissent – perhaps especially in times of dissent – that we reconfirm our allegiance to Israel’s sovereignty. Not just to the parts of Israel we easily agree with, but to the State of Israel.
For example, I find it precarious to read suggestions that Israel Bond holders cash in their certificates as protest against Israel’s ultra-nationalist Finance Minister and donate those proceeds to pro-“Democratic Israel” causes.
Far beyond the actual net capital Israel Bonds inject into Israel’s balance sheet annually (significantly less than the $1bil gross in new bonds sold last year), the Israel Bonds program has signaled confidence in the future viability of the State since the program’s inception in 1951. Certainly, Jews around the world have proudly bought Israel Bonds for decades. But so have state and local governments (Ohio just purchased an additional $20M last month) and even Warren Buffett. What kind of message would it send to these investors if those who know Israel best withdraw their financial support to the State?
I am not suggesting that anyone stand down from criticizing this, or any, government of Israel. Just please pause to consider whether you are speaking out against this group of leaders or against the State. Because there is a real difference, and anyone reading this column is vastly more prepared to comprehend that nuance than others who will simply view our actions.
Rather, take a constructive approach. Draw closer. Prop up the institutions in Israel that reflect your viewpoint, but without compromising the integrity of the State.
It’s easy to give care during harmonious times. It’s critical to do so during the challenging ones.