Our foundation is extremely proud that the Ruderman Fellows Program, our initiative to educate members of Israel’s Knesset on the American Jewish community, has led to the creation of a new caucus announced this week in the Knesset on the connection between Israel and the American Jewish community. A recent poll we commissioned shows that the Israeli public agrees that Israeli leaders should consider the views of the Diaspora when making policy. Click here to see the front-page Jerusalem Post story that ran this week.
— Jay Ruderman
New Knesset Caucus to Address Widening Gap between Israel and American Jews
Jerusalem, January 23, 2012 – A poll sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation has found that 70.8% of Israelis surveyed think that it is important that legislators consider the Diaspora when deliberating on legislation like “Who is a Jew,” which sought to more narrowly define who in the Diaspora is Jewish and thereby qualifies for Israeli citizenship. The new poll data makes even more timely an effort to heighten both the knowledge and sensitivity of Israel’s Members of Knesset about the American Jewish community.
A new Israel-American Jewish Knesset Caucus will be inaugurated on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, which will be focused on deepening the understanding and relevance of the relationship with the American Jewish community. The Caucus will raise awareness among MKs, Knesset committees and lobbies concerning agendas and priorities of Israel and the American Jewish community. The Ruderman poll, conducted by Teleseker (TNS) on January 19th, found that 78.2% of Israelis polled believe that the establishment of the Knesset Caucus is an important initiative.
The vast majority (87.5%) of Israelis surveyed also believe that the American Jewish community is important to the future and security of the State of Israel.
MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima Party), Caucus Chairperson, launched the Caucus to ensure that this crucial relationship stays strong. “I came back from the Ruderman Fellows Program in the US last year with the understanding that Israelis in danger of losing one of its most critical strategic allies,” said MK Tirosh. “As times change, and the US Jewish population becomes less engaged and less attached toIsrael, the bedrock of traditional US support of Israel becomes less of a certainty too.” MK Tirosh was one of six MKs to participate in the first Ruderman Fellows Program in 2011, which was designed to educate MKs about the American Jewish community.
“Again and again, we see that the Jewish people are split into two camps – Israel and the Diaspora – that do not understand each other,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “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.”