Should the Worries of Diaspora Jews Be Part of Israel’s Security Calculus?

July 29 2015

According to a survey by a Jerusalem-based think tank, there is widespread feeling among Diaspora Jews that Israel doesn’t consider them when making decisions about security matters. Specifically, many believe that Israeli military operations lead to more anti-Semitism, and they want the Jewish state to be mindful of that. Contrary to the think tank’s official report, Judith Bergman finds the suggestion absurd:

Israel is not merely “fighting wars” but struggling for its existence. . . . The very idea, therefore, of involving people who have chosen to make their home outside Israel in the decision-making process concerning issues that are already extremely sensitive, complex, and fraught with pitfalls seems bizarre. . . .

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in all parts of the world. . . . Diaspora Jews obviously have to endure the brunt of this. [However, the] logic applied by the participants surveyed for the purpose of the study . . . is flawed. Israel’s actions are not to blame for the rise of anti-Semitism in the world. . . . Nothing Israel ever does will satisfy its critics, as the last couple of years have amply demonstrated. No amount of moral warfare of the highest caliber . . . will ever be good enough for the international organizations and NGOs that have made it their very raison d’être to criticize Israel. . . .

Having a say in how and when Israel fights its defensive wars is a right reserved for any Jew who wants to assume the responsibilities that having such a say entails: living in Israel and sharing in all of its aspects, the ups as well as the downs, the joys as well as the sorrows. Nowhere in the world do rights come without responsibilities. This holds true for Israel as well.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Diaspora, Gaza War, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform