Five MKs from across the political spectrum arrived in the US on Sunday for a
week of meetings with American Jewish community leaders in New York and Boston,
as a poll shows that 95 percent of Israelis believe that US Jews’ support of
Israel is important.
Both the MK delegation and the poll are funded by
the Ruderman Family Foundation, whose Ruderman Fellowship aims to educate
Israeli politicians about US Jewry and sponsored the foundation of the Israel-
American Jewish Knesset Caucus.
MKs Ofir Akunis (Likud), Ilan Gilon
(Meretz), Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beiteinu), Ghaleb Majadle (Labor) and Lia
Shemtov (Israel Beiteinu) will meet with Senators Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts)
and Chuck Schumer (DNew York), as well as heads of major Jewish organizations,
and hold public events in New York and Boston.
According to the Teleseker
poll, which was commissioned last week by the Ruderman Family Foundation, nearly
all Israelis perceive American Jewish support of Israel as important. Half think
American Jews care or care greatly about Israel’s treatment of women, 57.8%
about treatment of Israeli Arabs and 38.8% about last summer’s social
According to New York University’s Prof. Steven
M. Cohen, a researcher for the Ruderman Family Foundation, most American
Jews care about social justice issues, and the gap between this reality and
Israelis’ perception is a reflection of their priorities.
think that American Jews care about the issues that Israelis care about. To some
extent, that’s true,” Cohen explained. However, he added, it is important “to
make Israelis, especially political leaders, aware of the extent to which
American Jews care about social justice issues, alongside their concern for
Israeli security matters.”
Jay Ruderman, the president of the Ruderman
Family Foundation, said the fellowship is meant to encourage this conversation
and expose Israeli politicians to the American Jewish community’s
Ruderman expressed hope that the weeklong trip will increase
the MKs’ sensitivity to and understanding of US Jewry and its implications for
Israel’s security and future.