Arutz 7 – OTS President at Sderot Conference Panel on US-Israel Relations

President of Ohr Torah Stone: Many American Jews find it difficult to identify with Israel because of distorted media reports

“The damage caused by the State’s indifference, the inability and lack of desire of the State of Israel to condemn the acts of the vocal minority and accommodate the needs of Diaspora Jewry in all its forms may cause the fraying of the important connection between them and the State of Israel.”

Jonathan Gottlieb | 26 October, 2022

Speaking at a panel at the recent Sderot Conference for Education and Society, Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone spoke out against how discrimination between Jews in Israel is having a directly negative effect on Israel’s relationship with the Diaspora. The panel, called, “Israel and Her Older Sister” invited panelists to speak to the growing separation between Israel and the United States and in particular address the question of whether or not America’s support of Israel is unconditional.

Founded in 2003 by Maj. Gen. (Res.) Uzi Dayan, and after 18 years at Sapir College, the Sderot Conference was transferred this year to Kaye Academic College and was attended by more than 1700 people, including heads of the parties running for the 25th Knesset, ministers, deputy ministers and dozens of members of the Knesset.

Among the speakers at this year’s conference were the Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, Minister of Education Dr. Yifat Shasha Biton, Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli, former Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Gadi Eisenkot, former Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana, Religious Zionist Party Chair MK Bezalel Smotrich, United Torah Judaism Chair Rabbi Yitzhak Goldknopf, Meretz Chair Zehava Galon, Shas Chair MK Yaakov Mergi, Secretary General of the Teachers’ Union Yaffa Ben David and others.

“There are currently 5.8 million Jews living in the United States – comprising 2.4% of all US citizens. Approximately 1.5 million of these Jews (27%) declare themselves to be of no religion, and many of them find it difficult to identify with what they mistakenly perceive as Israel’s values ​​because of the distorted reports they see in the news. They are shown pictures that show religious and spiritual discrimination by the Orthodox leadership against Diaspora Jewry, against millions of Conservative and Reform Jews,” said the President and Rosh HaYeshiva of the Ohr Torah Stone educational network, Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander.

“We need to understand the effects of what they are seeing,” Rabbi Brander said. “The appalling events of last June, when a Conservative family came especially from the United States to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah and Haredi boys came to disrupt and disturb – they whistled, tore up and burned siddurim, wiping their noses in them… that’s just one example.

“How can it be that the religious establishment in Israel is portrayed as an instigator and inciter against millions of Jews around the world? The actions – or the silence – of our leadership lead to a rift from Judaism and can lead to a definite assimilation,” Rabbi Brander continued. “The damage caused by the State’s indifference, the inability and lack of desire of the State of Israel to condemn the acts of the vocal minority and accommodate the needs of Diaspora Jewry in all its forms may cause the fraying of the important connection between them and the State of Israel. If this continues, it will create a grave situation in the future.”

In her remarks, Carol Nuriel, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League in Israel said: “Our inability to accept criticism of the State of Israel is a destructive characteristic for the Jewish community and for our relationship with the community in the USA. We need to know how to accommodate and bring together the American Jews. We must allow them to be critical while also keeping them supportive of Israel through a dialogue.

“There is a 49% increase in anti-Semitic incidents,” she said. “The handling of the issue is up to the countries where the incidents occur, but the State of Israel has a responsibility for how to respond to these issues. We must work together on issues of education for American Jews.”

Read the original article in Hebrew on the Arutz 7 website

 

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