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 It seems fairly obvious to me that American Jewry should stay out of Israeli politics and that Israeli politicians should stay out of the affairs of American Jewry. However, our politicians somehow feel impelled to visit America as often as they can and to act or pontificate on all sorts of matters over which they have little knowledge or deep understanding.

We should agree in advance that most Israelis, including our public and political leaders, have little understanding of the American mindset and of the true mechanisms that govern American Jewish life, no matter what level of Torah observance the target audience may be.
It is also foolhardy and dangerous for American Jewish leaders, again of all stripes, factions and levels of Torah observance, to mix in to Israeli political, economic and diplomatic policies and affairs. Our Minister of Education would have served the interests of Israel and of an already fractured American Jewish community by simply staying home and tending to the important ministry that he heads.
Instead, he blundered into a theological dispute for which there is no solution and for which there are no compromises. Our Chief Rabbi compounded the original blunder by somehow feeling impelled to issue a statement regarding the visit of the Minister of Education to a non-Orthodox school.
This in turn has embroiled everyone in a useless debate from which none of the protagonist's can escape unscathed. The struggle between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox in the United States is not the same struggle as the problem of state and religion and of an official rabbinate that exists here in Israel.
The Israeli politician who cannot stay home should nevertheless not say or do things that only serve to heighten tensions and exacerbate the already existing divisions in American Jewish life.
The Israeli left, led by the Haaretz newspaper and other savants, politicians and media experts, mounts a continual campaign exhorting American Jewry to interfere in domestic Israeli politics and to “save Israel from itself.” And there are sufficient American Jewish leaders who really believe that they somehow know better than the Israeli electorate or those of us who actually live and work here, what is best for us.
The arrogance of academia, both in America and Israel, is well known and has become so tiresome that, in the main, it is discounted as having impact or import. However the arrogance of the left or the right here in Israel to constantly appeal for support of their positions from American Jewry is to me quite bewildering.
The average American Jew and the average American Jewish leader is far removed from understanding and appreciating the complexities, dangers and challenges of every-day living in modern-day Israel. As such, it would be a wise course for all concerned not to meddle in each other's business.
Brazenly appealing to the Jewish diaspora to somehow solve the problems that face the Jewish state is a fundamentally flawed and absurd idea. The people who dwell in Zion are responsible for dealing with the problems that exist in Zion. It is foolhardy to believe that either Borough Park or Harvard have the answers to the daily existential issues that confront us here in the Jewish state.
Part of the problem is that Israel has not weaned itself away from American money. This is true of our government and certainly of our educational, charitable and Torah institutions. Current day Israel is not the impoverished, poor and economically destitute country of the 1950s. There is a lot of money floating around in Israel today. Yet the average Israeli is not trained to think that somehow it is his or her obligation to support the institutions that he or she favors. One rarely sees or hears of any wealthy Israeli tycoons endowing projects or institutions here in Israel.
The religious community in Israel is constantly inundated with requests for money and it responds but in a relatively small way. Most of the great Torah institutions here in Israel have been built with foreign money, from generous and well-meaning Jews of the Diaspora.
By always looking outside for help and support, both financial and moral, Israel and its population invite the meddling of outsiders in internal affairs. Usually this leads to problems, unnecessary disputes and divisions and a deepening feeling of insecurity. It could be that we are wholly dependent on the United States for F 35 fighter-bombers. But there is no reason that we cannot build kindergartens and soup kitchens on our own.
Our mentality of dependence must change…and then everyone in the Jewish world will learn how to keep their proper distance and deal with their own problems in their own fashion.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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