Strengthening Jewish Unity by Strengthening Israeli Democracy
As Israel enters its eighth decade, the delicate balance between the state’s two dominant characteristics – Jewish and democratic – has arguably never been more contested. Recent steps perceived to have upset this balance have had implications not only inside Israel, but also vis-à-vis Israel’s relationship with Diaspora Jewry. The Israeli governments backtrack on the Western Wall/Kotel compromise has alienated many Reform and Conservative Jews the world over. The recently-passed Nation-State Basic Law raised concerns about a growing illiberal Israel putting particular Jewish values over more universal values like equality and democracy. The memory of 1967, to say nothing of 1948, increasingly becomes more abstract. Both Israeli society and Diaspora Jewry have undergone significant changes in the intervening decades.