ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (second from left) converses with members of the American Jewish Congress’s women’s division at its annual Hanukka luncheon in 1955..
(photo credit: AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY)
Against a background of heightened tensions between Israel and North American Jewry, the liberally-inclined national religious lobbying group Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah organization has launched a new campaign to draw greater awareness to the contribution of Diaspora Jewry to the country.
The campaign, launched in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, includes a three-minute video to be disseminated through social media and a more in-depth position paper published by the organization.
Arguments over progressive Jewish prayer rights at the Western Wall and Jewish conversion have soured relations of late between the government and US Jewry in particular, and NTA has expressed concern that Israel and its leaders are not paying due attention and concern for the relationship.
NTA’s new position paper noted in particular that the State of Israel has relied on political and material assistance from US Jewry since the day it was founded and that the state should recognize this contribution and see Diaspora Jewry as “a full partner in realizing the Zionist vision” and take it into account accordingly.
“The most significant political support for Israel comes from the US and constitutes a diplomatic bulletproof vest,” the position paper observed. US Jewish congressmen serve on the Congressional subcommittee where budget allocations for military aid to Israel are made, Jewish organizations are at the forefront of public diplomacy battles against the BDS campaign and the delegitimization of Israel, and US Jews donate as much as $2 billion a year to Israel through numerous charities and philanthropic organizations, the campaign points out. The establishment of famous Israeli institutions such as Hadassah Hospital and the Technion in Haifa was done through US philanthropy, NTA pointed out, observing that 70% of the senior managers in the much vaunted hi-tech scene of the Start-Up Nation are graduates of the Technion.
It also noted that historically, US Jews spontaneously donated $100 million just ahead of the Six-Day Way in 1967 when Arab armies were mustering and Arab governments were making ominous threats against the Jewish state; donated a massive $700m. during the Yom Kippur War; and has bought $35b. in Israeli government debt.”
“So yes, they live away from home, but that does not mean they’re not part of the family,” the new video said. “Israel was established as a joint project of pioneering immigrants and the Jewish Diaspora. To worry, to influence, to contribute, to build and to fight for the State of Israel is the obligation of everyone and their right. Will we not be stronger if we do this together?” it added.