Jlife’s roving reporter gets our community to weigh in on current affairs.
Benjamin Netanyahu is already the longest serving prime minister in Israeli history, and he was just sworn in for another term. This election followed several years of non-stop elections, as no political faction was able to create a stable government. The newest government, established by the right-wing bloc, includes several controversial figures including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich, the new Minister of National Security and Minister of Finance, respectively.
These issues have gained widespread press attention in America and across the world. Yet when asked “what do you think about Israel’s new government?”, the majority of my respondents did not have an opinion, including both Israelis and non-Israelis. It’s possible that these responses are more reflective of people who I tend to cross paths with and not the overall view of Jewish people in New Jersey.
But I highly doubt that is the case. Truth be told, I myself do not have a clear answer to my own question. I don’t think anyone can blame me, since I’ve spent the past two years chasing a toddler while simultaneously working. I barely have enough time to follow American politics, let alone Israeli politics. Who has time to form an opinion?
Well, apparently some people do! So what did those well-educated on the matter say? Feelings regarding Netanyahu and his new government were mixed:
“Regardless of how we feel and how some Israelis feel, Israel is a democracy and these people were voted into power. Which means the majority of Israeli voters want them there. Instead of jumping to conclusions about how they might act, I think we should judge them by their actions, especially with a seasoned leader like Netanyahu at the head of the government.” – Noah, Monmouth County
“In other words, those upset need to suck it up. Democracy is democracy.”
– Michael, Middlesex County
Luckily, I was able to get the opinion of an Israeli-American as well:
“Politics is not my favorite thing. However, I always follow the news in Israel. I am not in great favor of the new government because of the members of it. Some of them are right-wing who didn’t serve in the army. Some of them were convicted and were arrested. I feel that the government is not stable and will make extreme changes in education and in the Israel court system, which will affect daily life.” – Nurit, Monmouth County
What role should American Jews play in Israeli politics? On the one hand, Israel is a sovereign country and should do what it thinks is in its best interest, regardless of what its busybody cousins across the ocean think. On the other hand, as American Jews provide financial and political support to Israel, should the Israeli government take the feelings of American Jews into account?
Tell us what YOU think? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jacqueline Roberman-Glyn is a contributing writer to Jlife magazine.