A Critical Moment for Engagement with Israel

A Critical Moment for Engagement with Israel

Today, we mark one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and with your generous support, our community continues to care for those in need in the region. To learn more about our ongoing efforts, visit Federation’s Ukraine updates page and read last week’s reflection. Thank you for making a tremendous impact.  

We are living in the midst of significant change between American Jewry and Israel. The current political crisis in Israel is leading many to reconsider the future relationship between Israel and American Jewry – the two primary centers of global Jewish life. For the first time, many mainstream Israeli organizations are publicly calling on American Jewish leaders to significantly engage in internal Israeli politics and push back against proposed changes by the government. At the same time, there are an increasing number of American Jewish organizations publicly articulating significant concerns with Israeli government policies and the implications to global Jewry 

Not long after the most recent Israeli elections, I shared with you that Federation is committed to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people through two aspirations – deepening ties between American Jews and Israel and engaging in Israel’s development and definition as a Jewish and democratic state. These aspirations are critical as Israel is not only a state for its citizens but also the homeland of the global Jewish people. While we don’t have a vote in Israel’s political outcomes, we do have an important voice and much at stake.  

The recognition of this duality is particularly critical at this moment of crisis and change. With every connection we pursue – including travel, local engagement opportunities, convening thought leaders, and investing in Israel’s future – Federation seeks to build a more democratic, inclusive, and vibrant society that reflects the true diversity of both Israelis and global Jewry. 

Our investments in Israel, totaling over $4.7M, including $800,000 in new grants to 21 organizations, reflect our core belief that Israel is both a state for its citizens and a homeland for all Jews. We are committed to using our collective, global voice and our ongoing funding and engagement with Israel and Israelis to support and strengthen Israeli society and the global Jewish people. In turn, we are proud to help our community members deepen their own relationships with Israel and Israelis and break down barriers that threaten to drive us apart.  

As we continue to navigate the evolving relationship between American Jews and Israel in myriad ways during Israel’s milestone 75th year of independence, the core ideas of ongoing connection and commitment to engage must serve as central guiding principles. When we choose to participate in this vital effort, we can continue to advance discourse, engage in complex conversations about Israel, and deepen our connection with Israel and Israelis.  

I look forward to discovering what the future holds, together.  

Shabbat Shalom,