Bennett defends Israeli policies from Lauder attack

In Lauder’s article, he accused the Israeli government of making decisions that could threaten future support for the Jewish state from liberal Diaspora Jews and world leaders.

By
August 16, 2018 20:02
3 minute read.
Ronald Lauder (L) and Naftali Bennett (R).

Ronald Lauder (L) and Naftali Bennett (R).. (photo credit: SIVAN FARAG/MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett took to the opinion page of The New York Times Thursday to respond to a fierce attack from World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder on Israeli policies in the same newspaper earlier this week.

In Lauder’s article, he accused the Israeli government of making decisions that could threaten future support for the Jewish state from liberal Diaspora Jews and world leaders. He singled out the Jewish Nation-State Law, the surrogacy law, and the recent questioning of a Conservative rabbi who performed weddings that were not sanctioned by the state.

In Lauder’s article, he accused the Israeli government of making decisions that could threaten future support for the Jewish state from liberal Diaspora Jews and world leaders. He singled out the Jewish Nation-State Law, the surrogacy law, and the recent questioning of a Conservative rabbi who performed weddings that were not sanctioned by the state.

Lauder wrote that if the present trends continued, young Jews might not support Israel if they see it as discriminating against non-Orthodox Jews, non-Jewish minorities and gays. He warned that they might not want to fight against the BDS movement or support Israel in Washington.

“While I normally would happily respect the views of Jews all over the world – as different or as similar as they may be to my own – on this claim I cannot remain silent,” Bennett responded. “Keeping Israel as the Jewish nation-state does not threaten the future of the Jewish people; it safeguards it. Protecting Jewish traditions, just as they safeguarded our people through two millenniums [sic] of exile, is the only way to be sure that Israel can continue to be a strong and vibrant democracy in a very difficult region.”


Bennett wrote that while Lauder’s concerns about Israel’s future and its treatment of minorities are unwarranted, the World Jewish Congress leader should be worried about the future of the liberal North American Jewry he claimed to speak for when he wrote his article.

“The threat to the future of the Jewish people, what really keeps me up at night, is the mass assimilation of American Jews,” Bennett wrote. “This is not happening among the Orthodox communities. Research clearly shows the statistical decline among the non-Orthodox, unaffiliated Jews. Year after year, census after census, generation after generation, they disappear. This is what threatens the Jewish people. They are deserting their Jewish roots, but not because of political frustration or a lack of love for a country thousands of miles away.”

Responding to Lauder’s charge that “Israel’s government appears to be tarnishing the sacred value of equality,” Bennett wrote that as minister of education and a previous minister of the economy, he could attest to Israel’s efforts to ensure equality in education, academia and employment for Israel’s Arab communities. He said the Education Ministry had succeeded in increasing the percentage of Arab students graduating from high school to just a few points below the national average, and that Israel has seen an increase in employment among Arab women.

“What many of the Nation State Law’s critics fail to recognize is that its passage comes only after decades of successive rulings by Israel’s judiciary that have ignored the aspirations of those who seek to preserve the Jewish nature of our state,” Bennett wrote. “Our Supreme Court has based its rulings in numerous cases – on issues such as immigration and the extension of Israeli citizenship to Palestinians – on the existing Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, much to the dismay and despair of many in Israel and abroad who saw these rulings as a direct attack on Israel’s Jewish character. The Nation State Law seeks to balance the scales and ensure that these concerns are considered.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Benjamin Netanyahu
May 26, 2019
Mossad team that infiltrated Iran to receive Israel Security Prize

By EZRA TAYLOR