Ronald S. Lauder at the 2017 JPost Annual Conference ..
(photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said he has "fear for the future of the nation I love," referring to Israel in an op-ed published Monday in The New York Times.
Lauder wrote Israel faces two threats, which he surmises "endangers its very existence": the demise of the two-state solution and the "two-prong threat" of "capitulation to religious extremists and the growing disaffection of the Jewish diaspora."
He argued, that "13 million people live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And almost half of them are Palestinian. If current trends continue, Israel will face a stark choice: Grant Palestinians full rights and cease being a Jewish state or rescind their rights and cease being a democracy. To avoid these unacceptable outcomes, the only path forward is the two-state solution."
Further, he claimed, senior Palestinian leaders have personally told him they are ready to begin negotiations immediately, but Palestinian "incitement and intransigence" and Israeli calls to annex the West Bank stand in the way of the two-state solution to the peace process.
Turning to the split in religious life, Lauder claimed, "Many [Diaspora Jews] have come to feel, particularly over the last few years, that the nation that they have supported politically, financially and spiritually is turning its back on them."
Israel has become a semi-theocratic nation, Lauder maintained, submitting to pressure from haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sectors.
"By submitting to the pressures exerted by a minority in Israel, the Jewish state is alienating a large segment of the Jewish people," he wrote.
"We are at a crossroads," Lauder concluded. "The choices that Israel makes in the coming years will determine the destiny of our one and only Jewish state — and the continued unity of our cherished people."
Lauder was honored with a wall at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue
earlier Monday and is scheduled to address the 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism later Monday.