Israeli Jews and American Jews are getting a divorce– everyone now acknowledges that. “Let’s talk,” was the theme of the recent Jewish Federations conference in Tel Aviv, and I just listened to the welcoming speech by Danna Azrieli, the ceo of a leading Israeli real estate company who moved from Canada to Israel 18 years ago.
Azrieli’s speech is remarkable because her understanding of Israeli life and culture is so entirely Jewish that she never mentions Palestinians. “I grew up in a Jewish community bubble,” she says; and though she acknowledges deep divisions between North American and Israeli Jews over values, she focuses on religious differences. Her enthusiasm about Israeli diversity and culture is an enthusiasm about Jewish diversity and Jewish culture– “our country,” where Jews celebrate the Jewish new year on top of one of her buildings, and traffic stops on Jewish holidays.
Azrieli briefly mentions settlements and the (explicitly racist) nation-state law as sources of friction, but she never mentions the occupation– which young American Jews say is their beef with the “Jewish establishment”.