MK Tehilla Friedman (Blue and White, previously of Yesh Atid) feels that “Diaspora Jewry must have a voice in Israel” and that Israel “must take them into account.” I was initially taken aback that this would be proposed by a woman wearing a head covering, implying that she was Orthodox. A little research into her background identified her as a past leader in the Ne’emanei Torah V’Avodah, which apparently is a very left wing “Orthodox” group which accounts for her initial political association with Yesh Atid.
So much for my astonishment. Now let’s get to the issue. Whose opinion among Diaspora Jewry is she interested in hearing. Never in the past half century with which I’m familiar has Diaspora Jewry been so dispersed and divided. Would she like the opinion of the BDS supporting Jewish Voices for Peace? Would she like the opinion of J-Street or the New Israel Fund whose support for Israel and its elected government is certainly lukewarm at best. Seven years ago the Pew study showed 70% of non-Orthodox intermarry. Is she interested in the Jewish partner or the non-Jewish partner? What about support of all those non-affiliated Jews whose liberalism trumps any connection with Judaism (even if they were born Jewish). For the past four years, we have been privileged to experience arguably the most pro-Israel President since the founding of the State and approximately 80% of Israelis agree. Yet close to that number of non-Orthodox American Jews chose to remove him from office. Are these ‘appreciative’ Jews the ones whose opinions she wants to hear?
Well, maybe it is the Orthodox Diaspora opinion she wants to hear. But these are the people that already march with their feet and their children to support the country and their voices are already heard (and to some extent not appreciated for their complete devotion).
So I must conclude that either Ms. Friedman is naïve or confused. Or she suffers from the same liberal virus that most non-Orthodox American Jews suffer from. Israeli academia is not that much different in their leftist ideologies than the American academia. What she doesn’t understand is that in America, even she, with her pluralistic ideals, is considered a racist. No amount of kowtowing to the left will remove her demonization as a white, Jewish, Israeli. So the smartest decision Israel can make is to follow what the majority of Israelis feel is best for them and politely ignore the divided Diaspora.