By Jay Ruderman
The State of Israel has been through quite a difficult two and a half months – but at the same time, so have the Jewish communities all around the world.
The US Jewry followed the situation in Israel with a great amount of concern, while its representatives worked with all their might in Washington, in a bid to defend Israel’s interests and desires in front of the American administration.
Despite the different outlooks of the United States’ leaders over the years, the relationship between Israel and its greatest friend in the world remained vital to its future and to securing its existence.
Through military aid of $3 billion a year, alongside diplomatic support, America was and still is the strongest power in the world which chooses to stand by Israel in moments when most of the world chooses to draw away from it and condemn it.
The Jewish community in the United States has realized a long time ago that the most effective way of helping Israel is by ensuring that the American administration stands firmly behind it. Through relationships built with all of the administration’s ranks, and with Congress members, the US Jewry has the ability to mobilize itself very quickly in order to remind the American administration about the importance of Israel’s security.
This is exactly what has been happening here in the past few weeks: Although the Jewish community is filled with different views and different organizations, which sometimes have contradicting outlooks, it united for a huge show of support for Israel, which was organized by the US Jewry’s leadership and attracted senior community members from all over the country within several days.
It united in order to listen to the American administration leaders declaring their ongoing commitment to Israel’s security in Washington.
Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, recently addressed 600 Jewish leaders from leading organizations in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as well as fifty North American Jewish Federations and community relations councils. She began by stating, “Am Yisrael Chai” (the people of Israel live), and said that “this is a time of worry for all who care about Israel. But, here’s one thing you never have to worry about: America’s support for the State of Israel.” She received a huge round of applause from the audience.
Protection of Jewish institutions and anti-Israel comments are part of the daily routine of Diaspora Jews. And in spite of that, more than 100 mass rallies of support for Israel were held only in the US in the past 10 weeks. US Jews are aware of everything happening in Israel, and are not indifferent to the situation.
In addition to financial aid at times of emergency through the different federations and organizations (not by remote control, as Jewish organizations sent many delegations to Israel on a regular basis during the war), the US Jewry has been working to secure the required support for a Congress resolution condemning Hamas and to approve hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for additional batteries for the Iron Dome system.
Intensive activity among US politicians
The unshakable support for Israel is not the result of a void, but is thanks to a very organized and skilled community, which has built relationships with all the most influential elements through political support. This is expressed, among other things, in helping fund American politicians’ campaigns and engaging in Israel PR, so that they understand the threats and dangers it is facing when are still at the beginning of their political career.
Even when there seem to be tensions between Israel and the American administration, the close relations the Jewish community has developed with all the ranks of the administration help ease those tensions. The Jewish community is Israel’s support network in the US.
So the Israeli public must realize that without the US Jewry, America’s support for Israel is not guaranteed. Without the US Jewry’s support, which Israelis find so obvious, Israel could be facing a situation of a real existential danger today.
A strong connection between Israel and the US Jewry is the key to maintaining the State of Israel’s interests and securing its existence and its future. This is a unique mutual guarantee which is expressed on routine days, but stands out particularly at a time of war.
Jay Ruderman is the President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. He is happy to connect and engage on Twitter.