Martin Raffel’s “Open letter to Israeli voters” (Sept. 5), which blames Israel for the growing gap between young Jews and Israel and advocates that Israelis change to mollify American Jews, has it backward.
The problem is not with Israel’s efforts to defend its citizens from terrorism, which is sometimes dismissed by today’s American-Jewish leaders and the mass media as less important than attaining the elusive two-state solution that has been repeatedly rejected by Arab
Rather, it’s the young U.S. Jews who are misinformed about Israel either through ignorance or reliance on a hostile media. They need to intensify their knowledge about the daily lives of Israelis and the constant existential threats the country faces.
They need to learn about Israel’s world-wide humanitarian efforts and innovations that benefit everyone.
An honest examination of the dangers from Iran, Iraq, Syria,
Hezbollah, Hamas, and a score of Palestinian terror groups would change the perceptions about Israel.
The other cause of the gap is the religious differences between U.S. Jews and Israel. American Judaism is frequently marked by non- or limited observance of basic Jewish precepts, either with the blessing of their clergy or by just plain indifference. Israel’s Judaism is not American Judaism and the Israeli public has not evinced a desire to follow the U.S. form.
American Jews should respect the differences and not try to impose the U.S. version as the price for supporting Israel.
U.S. Jews must increase their knowledge of Israel and Jewish practices, history, and beliefs in order to make informed decisions.
Happily, the vast majority of American Jews still proudly support Israel. The young generation must do the same.
Hal R. Crane