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A Good Relationship Gone Bad

Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.

There was a time when American Jews not only put their pennies in their pushkas to help the struggling Jewish homeland. They put their lives on the line. I’m talking about Lou Lenert and Leon Frankel, Gideon Lichtmann and George Lichter, Harold Livingston and Al Schwimmer and Bob Vickman, American Jews who thought it wasn’t enough that they helped defeat the Nazis, they needed to join their brothers in Israel so that the Jewish people would have a place to go when the next Nazis came to power. They left behind businesses and girlfriends and created the Israeli Air Force, without which I and six million other Israeli Jews would not be living in our own country, but spread out all over the world waiting, like the Jews of France, and the Jews of Great Britain, and the Jews of Belgium, for the next horrible Islamic atrocity to hit them and their families.

Without these American Jews, there would be no Israel.

But like the children of the heroes of the “Saving Private Ryan” generation who think patriotism is wrongheaded, this generation of American Jews don’t really feel all that connected to Israel. I can’t tell you how many times very nice, educated, caring American Jewish women have told me that even though President Obama wasn’t great for Israel, he was a wonderful president for them as Americans. “You don’t live here,” they tell me. “We have other priorities.”

I remember when former President Obama was bowing to Saudi Arabia, interfering in Israel’s election of Prime Minister with his cash and his handpicked “specialists” sent over to make sure Israelis voted in the Left, those same people who brought us the Oslo nightmare and the shameful and wrong-headed disengagement from Gaza, the same people who almost got my family blown up in the Park Hotel on Seder night. But Israelis, like Americans, aren’t listening to electioneering slogans anymore.

Hence, President Trump.

We elected Netanyahu, and we were thrilled when he went to America to convince Congress about the existential threat to our people of allowing Iran a nuclear capability, and incensed that our American Jewish brothers thought he should have stayed home.

These same people did their best to vote in Hillary Clinton, despite clear evidence of the anti-Israel bias of her party, and her endorsement by the very, very anti-Israel Obama.

And now, here we are. The Jews of America are incensed. The good ones, who come here on vacation and support all manner of Israeli charities, and the bad ones who have never been here once and who allow strangers to give their kids all expenses paid vacations on Birthright in order to do us the favor of allowing their children to experience first-hand what we in Israel have died for: a Jewish homeland with an army and an air force and a flourishing economy, and lovely parks and pretty homes, after thousands of years of persecution, murder, and homelessness. Still, I’m glad they come to see, rather than spending their vacation in Cancun or joining the JStreet anti-Semites.

For those who are filled with fury, I say this: I agree with you about how disgusting it is that the haredim have wormed their way into power so that they can distort Jewish laws and control Jewish holy sites, making life miserable for the rest of us, including Orthodox Jewish women like myself.

But I am even more sorry that you have raised your children not to care about being Jewish, or about the Jewish State of Israel. If you had raised them differently – or been raised differently yourselves – then a million American Conservative and Reform Jews making Aliyah would have completely changed the entire political system in this country, and the haredim would be out of luck.

But as for now, it is we who are out of luck.

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56 comments on “A Good Relationship Gone Bad”

  1. harry berger

    after reading some of Diana posts i am very concerned about her hoping this is just a passing phase otherwise she is in big trouble for starters she should get a life then introduce reality into it slowly and maybe someone can gently whisper in her ear that the Israel/Jew hating obama nightmare is over

  2. Diana

    To Glenda,
    You didn’t vote for Obama because of his name? Now that’s what I call critical thinking!! You’re too shallow for me to even respond to1

    • Emily Panzer DeRosa

      You keep ignoring the most important fact: Trump is pro-Israel !!!

  3. Tiby Lapkin

    Your analysis of the good and bad Jews is absolutely valid! However the “bad Jews” have no idea that they are anything but liberal, progressive Jews. They are tolerant and accepting event of Muslim terrorists; they are ferociously intolerant of observant Jews! I challenge them to no avail. These left-wing Zionists as they consider themselves have morphed into J St. How will they ever understand?

    • harry berger

      You are 100% correct liberals refuse to talk discuss and be reasonable. this reminds me of my family. my dad came from Germany…. he was on the last boat of Jews allowed into South Africa in the late 30 s his sister and her professor husband refused to accept/believe that this holocaust was going to happen until it was too late ..they said it will blow over and besides we are German they with 5 kids died in the camps
      these libs think they are exempt
      if you refuse to learn from the past……..

  4. Irmgard Gesund

    To Diana,

    I’d really like to know, Diana: How do you feel about Israel? Presuming that you are Jewish, do you feel any sense of love or pride for this much maligned little country? Do you care whether Israel survives or not?

    Do you believe anti-Semitism is on the rise? Presuming that you are Jewish, would you ever feel Israel could be a haven for you to run to?

    I know you rightfully concern yourself with our US and you have every right to express your strong opinions. But what about Israel? Doesn’t Israel deserve our support, too? I think she does. She bears the pain, the burden, the terror, the ostracism of being “The Jew” for you and me.

    • Diana

      It pains me that you question my devotion to Israel. My love and commitment is unquestionable.
      But what has that to do with my disdain for Donald Trump?
      In what possible way could you see his Presidency advantageous to the well being of Israel? He is a liar, a thief, uneducated and uninformed (doesn’t even know where Gaza is) and unfit to serve as “leader of the free world”.

      • glenda urmacher

        I am replying to your response questioning a viewer’s love of Israel and then you went on to denigrate Donald Trump.
        I am reply to the second part of your response.
        We can thank the Democrats for D. Trump being in the White House.
        Everything you said about him is probably true
        D.Trump is the answer to 8 years of obama.
        The Democrats ( and I was one since I started voting) keep dredging up the bottom of toilets for candidates to run.
        When they ran obama, I decided I could not in good conscience vote for anyone with the middle name of hussien.
        Then they ran a political whore to put in the White House as a follow up to o.
        obama was and is a cancer, and D.Trump is the chemotherapy.
        Look at who voted for him. Rich and poor, black and white; people , good Americans who have felt left out of the system.
        They are disgusted with politics and politicians.
        They take care of their families, and pay taxes to support deadbeats leeching off of the American social system.
        I left the Democratic party and will never return.
        I hated McCain and Palin but held my nose and voted for then rather than o.
        And now I really don’t care about government, I pay my taxes and go on with my life because at this stage of my life, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter.
        The country will survive anyone in he White House.
        It has become a dog and pony show.
        Bring on the circus.

        • Susan Marx

          Trump is certainly better than Obama was or that Hillary would have been

      • Emily Panzer DeRosa

        President Trump is a supporter of Israel. Don’t you want someone in office who will be a defender of all Israel stands for. He is educated he just is not your everyday professional politician. Were you that happy with obama?

        • Diana

          And yes I was happy with Obama — I thought he was a leader to be proud of – brilliant – a man of stature who represented this country with dignity. The survival and well being of Israel is important to me but I also love my country where my children and grandchildren are living their lives.

          • harry berger

            do you actually believe what u say i sincerely believe no one can be so off you use the word of stature and dignity a man who used the most deceptive means the IRS the DOJ NASA FBI to go after those that did not agree with him that is stature and dignity? those methods were used by the nazis maybe hitler was a man of stature and dignity too ?.
            strange that in the Torah it talks about self hating Jews
            please please no kids one of you is enough

          • Diana

            Now I understand — you are obviously one of those “conspiracy theorists” and buy into those nonsensical Obama myths. But you would go on to support a proven liar and thief like Trump in the naive belief that somehow he will be “good for Israel” My country deserves a competent and wise leader not the boorish low life we have now. I’m living in the hope that all the accusations against him will result in his removal from office and that Israel will continue to thrive!
            And Mr. Berger there’s no need to throw insults around in lieu of intelligent discourse.

          • harry berger

            Diana please tell me do you think the iran deal is/was to benefit Israel ?
            do you believe the 400 million usd cash to iran was justified? did you know Iran means land of Aryans ? were Aryans good to Jews?
            do you think obamas saying below was pro American pro Christian pro Jewish ????

            :“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” The quote comes from page 261 of the paperback edition of “The Audacity of Hope.:“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” The quote comes from page 261 of the paperback edition of “The Audacity of Hope.
            and lastly do you think moslems love Jews and want Israel to prosper or even exist?

          • Diana

            The money to Iran was voted for by Congress and Israel also received generous financial support. His
            standing with Muslims” was taken out of context and did not refer to Israel. However we will not agree but we both love Israel — Israel forever!

          • harry berger

            it was not required how he felt about Israel it was reflected in his behavior toward Bibi Netanyahu hitler never mentioned Israel either

          • harry berger

            so very sad that liberal obama Jews are not only in denial but their love for the single most anti semitic (coupled with jimmy carter) amazes me.
            if you really believe obama was good for Israel you have my sympathy as you are really out of touch with reality maybe debbie wasserman shmutz is your local heroine too?

          • The Jewish Republican

            You got that right! Give ’em hell, Harry!!!!

  5. Bernard

    The naive idiot postings by Diana is living proof of the truth of Naomi Regan’s thesis. In addition, the thought that hundreds of thousands of Reform Jews would make aliyah is a fantasy and would never have happened. The intermarriage rate among reform Jews is off the charts indicating their lack of commitment to Judaism let alone to Israel. The vast majority are leftists who supported Hillary. Trump is the best thing that has happened to Israel in decades. For now his greatest accomplishment was keeping Hillary out of the White House. More power to him.

    • harry berger

      you are 110% percent correct . strange that at at a Ford dealership i go to for repairs is a Methodist minister that works there. it is so refreshing to talk to him about Israel in fact he led a tour of 50 of his church members on a tour of Israel they loved it and they love Israel. these soros liberal Jews. Jstreet in particular, in my estimation are no better the Kapos self hating Jews

    • glenda urmacher

      I have a photo of Jews, WOMEN AND MEN praying at The Wall in 1935!
      It is only since The State of Israel has come into existenc,e that those powers that be, needing the religious vote, gave the ultra religious free reins over who, and where men and women can be at The Wall.
      That is not their only rule.
      The ultra religious block in Israel gets ALL the education monies, and secular education in Israel is in the toilet, thanks to them.
      But Yeshivas and other religious schools has grown by leaps and bounds.
      They are a cancer in the Israeli citizens lives, and the government is a spineless entity to continuing to allow this.

      • harry berger

        i am very confused re women not allowed to pray at the wailing wall for many yrs there has been a womens section most shuls seperate men from women
        excluding reform anything goes no yamikas women wearing talit 1 hour conversions Their rabbis marry anyone Jewish or not

      • Bernard

        Yes there is some extremism on the part of the ultra Orthodox and Israel is trying to solve a difficult problem. But, that being said, I would be very troubled to see an Israel devoid of any influence by those who disdain the secularists trying to water down the religion. There has to be a balance.

      • Bernard

        If indeed men and women were praying at the wall in 1935 I assume it’s because there was no Israeli government and everything was under the control of the British Mandate in Palestine.

    • The Jewish Republican

      I just returned from a long awaited return trip to Israel.I was amazed at how the country has grown since my last visit. I was also impressed at just how intense Israelis are toward their homeland, especially in their view of Donald Trump as President. I expected the same liberalism that I encounter here in the states-I come from a heavily democratic controlled state. There are no Republican congress members or senators from my state. This is unfortunately reflected in the liberal consensus of the Jewish community not only in reform congregations, but in a lot of conservative ones as well. The Jewish community here seems to think that Obama was great. Where do they get these ideas? Mostly from liberal clergy who are more often than not tied in with the extreme liberal education system. What I see is that the liberals have got it not only wrong, but are poisoning those that think that they are progressive. My fear is that this sort of liberalism is attaching itself to our children and they are starting to believe what these ‘educators’ are feeding them. We must teach our youth that the rights they so enjoy now were hard fought,not by assimilation, but by assertion. We are nothing unless we have something to identify with. Israel has figured that out. US Jews have opted out.

      • Susan Marx

        We have not opted out. We only want to be respect and accepted as Conservative and Reform Jews

        • The Jewish Republican

          I consider myself conservative and I deeply understand the conservative and reform movements. I can and have accepted both movements. Don’t forget, there is a degree of flexibility built into Judaism. What I don’t understand is how some of us in those movements have lost touch with our roots. I’m pointing out that you should not necessarily believe what is fed to you. There is a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it come to the Jews. Be aware and don’t start believing everything that is handed to you.

  6. Pingback: A Good Relationship Gone Bad - Israel News

  7. Drj

    I am a Jewish American and I was ashamed when most Jews voted for Obama.
    Any research showed his friends were mostly antisemites and Jews were used only as tools to achieve his election. One of our major problems is loss of connection of Jewish youth with Israel. This in many cases can be traced to liberal Jewish Rabbis afraid to educate young Jews and congregations about the real treats to Jewish survival.
    They believe it is not politically correct. When the children go to college they are taught by
    Ultra liberal faculty that believe Israel is evil. The Jewish students are too ignorant of our past history and present situations of danger that they become brainwashed. This could have been prevented because it didn’t happen to my children. Unless a concerted educational process begins in our youth I believe the future will not be pretty.

  8. glenda urmacher

    We can all thank the Democrats for running obama for President. His 2 terms have given us Trump.
    obama was the cancer, and Trump is the chemo.
    Live with it or come up with a better candidate in 3 years, or we will have Trump for another 4 like obama.

  9. Emily Panzer DeRosa

    We were so sick of Obama and the left, we mow have Trump as president. All we hear is exactly what they want us to hear. We actually try not to care about big government. The politicians are trained to make us believe they’re working for us. They are working for the status quo. And all the leftists hate President Trump because they were told to do so and they willingly obey. Don’t worry, we are on the side of Israel and most of us are appalled by our government’s position.

  10. The Jewish Republican

    What I find quite disquieting about my fellow American Jews is that they are unabashedly liberal for no reason. Where have you all learned to be this way? Didn’t your grandparents ever tell you how difficult it was for the Jews when they first arrived in America and how they overcame these restraints by working hard in their businesses, becoming doctors, lawyers, accountants,teachers and other professionals? Let’s not forget those of us who are serving the military, the police, the fire departments as well as the rest of the regular non elitists that struggle from day to day to make a living. What happened to the premise that if you work hard enough, you get rewarded enough? Why look to give away our hard earned status to those who are unwilling to fight for, or participate in it? You all sing a song about how terrible Trump is, but, quietly, he is actually trying to do what he promised he set out to do. Yes, I’m not a fan of these twitter posts but I accept that this is perhaps his style of getting things done. I was even willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt when he was first elected. Boy, was that misplaced! Obama caused Trump. Liberals and Liberal Jews who think Obama was a good president are deluded. Trump is at least willing to hear the side of Israel. We haven’t heard that lately.

    To be Jewish and to condemn the new conservatism represented by Trump is unrealistic because you have been educated by teachers that have ignored the lessons of history! If you haven’t noticed, the policies of the past administration that was heavily supported by US Jews, failed miserably and was especially hostile to a Jewish state. We need to wake up here in America and realize that supporting those that hate us is not dissimilar to Germany in 1933.

  11. Diana


    • harry Berger


      • Diana

        What has the history of the Jewish People have to do with the idiotic and boorish Trump??
        I value my Jewish heritage much too much to see any connection.
        And yes I stick with my assessment and when he is hopefully impeached his stupidity his mental illness and his viciousness will be exposed.
        I,too,wish you the best of clarity and mental health.

      • Diana

        And please don’t give me any advice on “self respect” – look to yourself and your naive judgments!

        • Emily Panzer DeRosa

          We were so sick of Obama and the left, we now have Trump as president. All we hear is exactly what they want us to hear. We actually try not to care about big government. The politicians are trained to make us believe they’re working for us. They are working for the status quo. And all the leftists hate President Trump because they were told to do so and they willingly obey. Don’t worry, we are on the side of Israel and most of us are appalled by our government’s position.

          • Emily Panzer DeRosa

            But then again, Diana thinks she knows everything.

          • Diana

            I don’t know “everything” but I sure do know a lot more than some of the posters on this site!

  12. Harry Berger

    i find it somewhat frustrating that Americans were always mentioned re war of independence i agree there were many wonderful volunteers pilots and soldiers trainers . however i feel that South Africans are always left out . ex ww11 South African pilots and fighters made a great contribution . America had 3 million Jews and SA had 170000 Jews . SA pilots were of the first they stole planes bought planes where Israel was not able too. in fact SA Machal ( Military volunteers ) out number i believe in other country. i served 1960-1963 with 34 SA boys and i American in 1967 as well. please understand this is not to compare but i feel very strongly that South Africans need to be acknowledged too

    • Diana

      Hoprfull Trump will be removed from office before he can do any more damage. He is an embarrassment on the world scene and by virtue of his mental instability a menace to our country.

    • Stanley Tee

      Harry, I think you kinda missed the point here.

  13. NuritG

    Maybe…USA Judaism reformists must understand that there is a price to be paid for electing the Obamatoid twice and shilling for Clinton to this day. Some also tried to sabotage the elections of Netanyahu and Trump. Price just went up…

  14. Nurit Greenger

    Maybe…USA Judaism reformists must understand that there is a price to be paid for electing the Obamatoid twice and shilling for Clinton to this day. Some also tried to sabotage the elections of Netanyahu and Trump. Price just went up…

  15. Diana

    Everything was worsened by a large segment of Israelis supporting the mentally unstable Trump! It was selfish and yes, hostile to promote the election of this obviously unfit person’.

    • Hedy

      Definitely an unfit childish person is now president. How truly sad for the US and the world .

      • harry Berger

        when i first liberalism is a disease of the mind i did not believe it but now i am convinced of it Trump will turn out to be one of our best presidents ever

        the happiest of all is pres carter who now is the second worst president obama is now the the worst president

  16. Nurit Greenger
  17. Susan Marx

    A pox on David Ben Gurion who would not form a government without the religious parties. I made an unsuccessful Aliyah in the late 1960s. I am a Conservative Jew who felt homesick on Shabbat and the Holidays in Israel. Had I had a rabbi I could talk to or a society that accepted me. I might never have returned to the States. It’s a Catch 22 situation, Naomi. Until Conservative and Reform Jews are made to feel accepted and welcome practicing liberal Judaism including being married (and divorced) by Conservative and Reform rabbis in Israel you cannot expect us to come.

    • harry berger

      after reading some of Diana posts i am very concerned about her hoping this is just a passing phase otherwise she is in big trouble for starters she should get a life then introduce reality into it slowly and maybe someone can gently whisper in her ear that the Israel/Jew hating obama nightmare is over




  19. Rostislav Gorchakov

    “generation who think patriotism is wrongheaded, this generation of American Jews don’t really feel all that connected to Israel”. Think?! Feel?! Alas, any lefties (Jewish or not) just pretend to think – in fact, they never permit themselves such a great luxury as independent thinking. The process is done for them by holy gurus of the NYT, MSNBC, THINK PROGRESS etc. Their crowd may be “very nice, educated and caring”, nevertheless all these wonderful qualities do not prevent them to “have other priorities”, that is, to repeat all kinds of pseudo-intellectual lies prioritized by the said gurus, from Obama and Chomski to Beilin and the UN wizards… That’s about the only Israel they usually “feel connected” with – well, except, maybe, Facebook, which hardly changes the sad results of refusing to use their own brains.

  20. Martin Charney

    Out of luck Naomi is a weird statement in the bigger picture. I feel backtracking by Bibi is irrelevant because the bigger picture for Jews of the 613 is that there should always be a mecheetza. It’s that simple and for those not. With the 613 Program, advise them NOT to add or subtract from THAT number. As we discussed last at a wedding, let the mixed bunch, diarrspecful to the 613 go behind or on top of the wall. Maybe there they will find equality. At least the Chareidi can count.

  21. Sara Diamond

    Dear Naomi,
    50 yrs ago I spoke to my peers at the Natl. Camp for Reform Judaism, telling them we should have,a huge emigration of Reform Jews. I lived in Jerusalem for a year in 1970..
    After I went back to UCB for my Senior year I continued to speak out for aliyah.
    After graduating from UCB, I didn’t go back to Israel as I.planned. for yrs I felt guilty, I made many trips to Israel. And felt.angry at myself and all the reform Jews who could emigrate to Israel to have a huge impact on Israeli politics. Imagine hundreds of thousands of American Reform Jews living in Israel now , plus liberal Jews from many other countries
    Just as you wrote in your article, we could have made a huge difference and prevented the Hardim from having so much power.

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