American Jews Israel

The next time someone tells you not to criticize Israel…

Instructive tidbit from today’s Haaretz:

Poll: More than half of Israelis support Diaspora Jews’ right to criticize Israel

By Amiram Barkat

More than half of Israeli Jews support the right of Diaspora Jews to criticize Israel on particular issues, according to a recent survey by the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

The survey found that a quarter of Israeli Jews think it is fine for Diaspora Jews to criticize Israel no matter what, while 35 percent said such criticism was acceptable, but only to a certain extent.

World Union president Rabbi Uri Regev said he was surprised to discover the extent to which Israelis are open to Diaspora Jews’ involvement in issues viewed as Israeli. He said the survey shows that a high percentage of Israeli Jews believe in global Jewish participation under the formula suggested by the Reform movement.

The World Union’s 33rd international convention, which was held in Jerusalem, ended Monday with the presentation of the honorary title of Maggid to Israeli author Amos Oz.

The award was created to recognize prominent members of the arts whose work embodies the core Jewish values of the World Union, the international umbrella organization of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements.

Meanwhile, the World Union survey found that 60 percent of the representative sample of 501 Israeli Jews said they had an ongoing connection with Diaspora Jews and that 73 percent said Israel should take the views of Diaspora Jews into account, to varying degrees, when deciding religion-state issues such as conversion and the Law of Return.

A vast majority of respondents – 82 percent – said Israel should invest resources in Jewish education abroad, and 47 percent said Israel must help Jews in distress no matter what. Some 45 percent said that Israel should help Jews in distress in general terms, but that the particular circumstances of each case must be taken into consideration.

The assistance works both ways, however: Some 86 percent of the respondents said Jews around the world should continue to contribute to Israel. That position flies in the face of a suggestion by Meretz-Yachad chairman MK Yossi Beilin that Israel should stop collecting money abroad because it is an independent country that does not need donations.

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