Why American Jews' Attachment to Israel Has Remained Fairly Stable

(Jerusalem Post) Prof. Uzi Rebhun - As nationwide surveys attest, American Jews' attachment to Israel has remained fairly stable to this day, with the percentage of American Jews who have visited Israel growing significantly. Despite some reservations, Israel is a visible component of American Jews' group identity and political and cultural interest. This strong connection rests on three interconnected foundations. The first is the Holocaust and the limited ability of American Jews to help Jews in danger, demonstrating the importance of an independent Jewish state that has military power and is open to unrestricted Jewish immigration. The second is Israel's centrality as a symbol of ethnic and religious belonging. Israel is an inspiration for a full Jewish life, be it religious or secular, and for the flourishing of Jewish culture and creation - a place where Jewish exiles gather and merge and a source of Jewish pride for its scientific and technological achievements. The third is antisemitism. Although American Jews are firmly planted in the U.S., 90% think there is "a lot" or "some" antisemitism in their country today, and three in four believe the scope of antisemitism has grown in recent years. Under such circumstances, some may view Israel as a shelter. The writer heads the Division of Jewish Demography at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

2023-03-16 00:00:00

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