Poll: Majority thinks MKs should consider Diaspora

Most Israelis believe world Jewry should be considered in lawmaking, poll finds; caucus to address Israel, Diaspora gap.

AIPAC conference 521 (photo credit: Reuters)
AIPAC conference 521
(photo credit: Reuters)
An overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that lawmakers here should take into consideration Diaspora Jewry when creating new legislation, especially when it touches on issues of Jewish identity, a poll has revealed.
The Teleseker poll, carried out last week on behalf of the Israel and Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation, surveyed 509 adults in Israel.
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The poll asked respondents “How important do you believe it is for Israeli lawmakers to consider the views of Jews in the Diaspora when creating legislation such as ‘Who is a Jew?’” In response, 77 percent said it was extremely important and 23% said it was important.
In addition, 87.5% of those questioned said they believe that the American-Jewish community is vital to the future and security of the State of Israel.
The poll was carried out ahead of the inaugural event Wednesday of the Israel- American Jewish Knesset Caucus, which aims to raise awareness among Knesset members, legislative committees and parliamentary lobbies to the importance of the relationship between Israel and international Jewry. The forum will serve as a platform to discuss a wide array of controversial issues affecting the two communities.
The new political forum comes almost a year after the Ruderman Foundation launched a unique program aimed at educating Israeli politicians about the organized Jewish community in the US. Last year, the Ruderman Fellowship Program took six MKs from across the political spectrum to meet with a wide range of influential Jewish leaders in Boston and New York.
“I came back from the Ruderman Fellows Program in the US last year with the understanding that Israel is in danger of losing one of its most critical strategic allies,” commented MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), who will head the new caucus. “As times change, and the US Jewish population becomes less engaged and less attached to Israel, the bedrock of traditional US support of Israel becomes less of a certainty too.”
Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said Monday that he is concerned by the negative impact of some Israeli policy decisions and legislation that have a direct effect on ties with Jews in the Diaspora.
“Again and again, we see that the Jewish people are split into two camps that do not understand each other,” said Ruderman. “The fact that the Knesset members are now willing to examine and address the shifting dynamics in the American Jewish world is a huge step for Israeli political leaders, and it will have a direct impact on the future of Israel and Jewish unity.”