Recent antisemitic events should serve as a wakeup call for Israel - opinion

Antisemitic events include the Colleyville hostage-taking, Whoopi Goldberg's comments on the Holocaust and Amnesty International's report.

 The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2 (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS JASSO)
The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS JASSO)

Colleyville, Whoopi Goldberg, Amnesty International. These are just some of the names and headlines that have been circulating around the world and the hot topics of conversation in the Jewish community. Whether the nature of these incidents, verbal or otherwise, was antisemitic and what the ramifications will be for the Jewish community as a whole and Israel, in particular, has been the discussion held around many a Shabbat table in the last few weeks.

So often, these kinds of conversations wind up circling back to rising antisemitism in the diaspora and the diaspora Jewish community’s response, how they should fight back or even, at least within Israel, asking what Jews are still doing living outside of Israel. It’s time that we, in Israel, start to change our perspective.

Once upon a time, when Israel was still a newly born state, fighting every day for its survival, Israelis viewed Diaspora Jews as their saving grace. They looked to them for support, lobbying, assistance with government relations and money. Israel relied on them to help in their struggle and continued existence, and diaspora Jewry readily accepted that role. But somewhere along the way, there was a shift. Israel is no longer the brand new “little engine that could.” Instead, Israel became the Start-up Nation, a nation of strength, a nation of fighters and tech and innovation. And slowly, Israel stopped relying on Diaspora Jewry and started taking their support for granted. Sadly, in addition to the change on Israel’s side, change was also seen on the Diaspora side. No longer was support for Israel unquestionable. Jews around the world have become more critical and questioning – especially among the younger generations. Now, diaspora Jewry is facing a rise in antisemitism – something that until now, young Jews 

have yet to contend with and face. In many cases, this antisemitism stems directly from anti-Zionist and anti-Israel sentiments and diaspora Jews are automatically the target for those attacks.

This rise in antisemitism and ignorance surrounding its nature has already woken up diaspora Jewry, we in Israel must wake up now. We need to take responsibility for our brothers and sisters around the world, just as they once took responsibility for us. We need to find ways to build a bridge and connect with them. We need to encourage the strengthening of Jewish and Israel education in diaspora communities so that the younger generation remembers what their ancestors fought for all those years ago and be ready to take up the fight themselves.

 AN ARMORED law enforcement vehicle is on the scene near Congregation Beth El in Colleyville, Texas, on January 15, as a gunman held hostages inside. (credit: Shelby Tauber/Reuters) AN ARMORED law enforcement vehicle is on the scene near Congregation Beth El in Colleyville, Texas, on January 15, as a gunman held hostages inside. (credit: Shelby Tauber/Reuters)

Recently, we have not shown as much care as we should towards our fellow Jews. The Knesset committee for aliyah and diaspora affairs has not yet been convened in more than half a year since the new government has been sworn in. At the end of 2021, we rashly closed our borders to everyone, including our families, with no exception.

Our brothers around the world are facing discrimination and hatred, and that won’t stop any time soon. More than that, in many cases it’s on our behalf. We, in Israel, need to stop being indifferent, start paying attention and take responsibility. We expect world Jewry to have our backs when we need help, it’s high time we show them that we have their backs in return.

The author is the founder of Israeli Politics Simplified – a Facebook page dedicated to simplifying and informing Anglos about politics in Israel.