Diaspora Jewry must get involved in shaping Israel’s future and not allow
themselves to be relegated to being the Jewish state’s cheerleaders abroad,
freshman MK Stav Shaffir told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
there is a confusion in the Jewish community abroad,” she said, “not knowing
whether they should get involved, whether they should influence, whether they
should do something; whether they have the right to do something about Israel,
[since] they are not living here.”
Shaffir, one of the leaders of the
country’s summer 2011 protest movement and a newly elected MK from the Labor
Party, spoke to the Post at the annual Jewish Agency Board of Governors
gathering in Jerusalem, where she took part in a panel of new female MKs who
were debating the challenges and opportunities facing Israel in the coming four
Also participating were MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), MK Shuli
Muallem (Bayit Yehudi) and MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid).
Speaking to an
audience in which many prominent American Jewish leaders were sitting, Shaffir
aimed her message squarely at Diaspora Jewry.
“I want to say something to
you,” she told the audience, “because I think that the Jew in the Diaspora has a
very important role not only in supporting Israel from a distance and saying
that Israel is good no matter what, but supporting the two-state solution and
supporting Israel to find a way to solve the conflict.”
Diaspora should put some pressure on President [Barack] Obama to not only get
the Israelis and the Palestinians to start negotiations,” she said, but to work
toward a comprehensive Middle East peace.
“If we want to think about our
security, and if we want to have this beautiful home in 20 years time,” she
said, Israel has to go back to the negotiating table. Otherwise, “We are heading
towards a binational state.
You can look at it and you can see it or not,
but that is where we are going.”
“If we don’t define our borders quickly,
we will have a binational state. We will lose our Jewish identity, safety. We
need to project 40 years ahead and ensure that Israel has a Jewish
Bucking popular opinion, Shaffir also said that “there is
nothing to be proud of” in having 27 female MKs in the current
“It’s something to be ashamed of,” she said, asserting that half
of Israel’s lawmakers should be female.
Elaborating on her comments
during the panel, the 27-yearold parliamentarian told the Post that, aside from
issues of war and peace, Diaspora Jewry could collaborate with Israeli Jews in
fighting for social justice and a more equal society.
“What I am saying
sounds very ideological and not very pragmatic but, basically, is in the Jewish
spirit and definitely in the Zionist spirit; there is this will for tikkun olam
[the Jewish ideal of repairing the world]. It’s not only about peace and war;
it’s also about social justice.”
“If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
were in David Ben- Gurion’s place in 1948,” Shaffir told the Post, “he wouldn’t
have written” the same declaration of independence that the country’s founders
signed, because he and the Likud Party “strongly disagree with many progressive
aspects” of the document.
“It’s a very progressive declaration that talks
about Zionism, that talks about safety for the Jewish people, about reconnecting
to our home, but at the same time it talks about equal rights, it talks about a
community, about society where people care about each other regardless of
religion, regardless of age, regardless of gender, and it’s very progressive for
Addressing the opening session of the Board of
Governors conference, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said that “it is
increasingly clear that world Jewry depends on Israel and Israel depends on
world Jewry. From left to right, the new Knesset includes many new members who
share this belief. Today, we have many new partners in the Knesset for our
Sharansky also said that Netanyahu, who was scheduled to attend
the Board of Governors forum on Monday morning, “is strongly committed to
supporting the interests of world Jewry.”