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“Israel Is Too Important to Leave to Israelis”

The following is a transcript of Episode 67 of the For Heaven’s Sake Podcast. Note: This is a lightly edited transcript of a conversation, please excuse any errors. 

Donniel: Hi, my name is Donniel Hartman, I’m the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and this is For Heaven’s Sake, a podcast from the Hartman Institute’s iEngage Project. Major support for For Heaven’s Sake comes from the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation. And our theme for today is the open letter to Israel’s friends in North America. And it’s also the 10th yahrzeit since my father passed away.

In each addition of For Heaven’s Sake, Yossi Klein Halevi, senior research fellow at the Institute here in Jerusalem, and myself, will discuss a current issue central to Israel and the Jewish world. And then Elana Stein Hain, the Rosh Beit Midrash of the Institute and senior fellow in North America, explores with us how classical Jewish sources can enrich our understanding of the issue. 

The open letter. Last week, Yossi, you, together with Matti Friedman and Danny Gordis, published an open letter to North American Jews calling for them to join in the protests against the Netanyahu government’s intention to curtail the power of the judiciary, a move that all of you, and this is what motivated you, saw as a mortal threat to Israel’s democracy, you and, and many others.

For the three of you, it’s an unprecedented break, with your own work, cause for many decades you were the principal people, and you still are, who explain and defend and contextualize Israel to North American Jews. A letter such as this is not natural, it’s not your, it wasn’t your voice.

Yossi: I’ve never done anything like it.

Donniel: It’s not, your voices were, some of you even more so, it wasn’t your voice and that’s what made it so extraordinary. The open letter, because it was, it was, it was the three of you, created the desired effect. North American Jewish leaders took notice and the letters stirred wide and also vehement debate. 

I wanna talk about the letter, but I also wanna talk about the concept of the letter and the ideology and thinking it reflected. Should Israelis be inviting Diaspora Jews to intervene in Israel’s internal debates? Are there limits to that intervention? What is inviting them? What are we inviting them to do? Are inviting them to protest? Are we inviting them to get involved? What voice do they have? 

Today as we discussed the letter and its consequences, what was the motive for you taking this step and turning to North American Jewry? Why now? What do you want from them? 

Also, I wanna look at what are some of the responses to the letter that you received? How did you feel about these responses? Do you sympathize with any of the criticisms or arguments that were raised against the letter? Did any of the criticism give you any pause? How should Israeli diaspora partnership be expressed in moments of internal crisis instead of those crises that are generated by external threat?

But as we begin to think about the issue, let’s go to my Abba first. My Abba, I can’t remember when, but certainly before all of us started our careers, he had this line in which he said, Israel is too important to leave to the Israelis

Yossi: I hear him. You could just, I so miss his voice.

Donniel: And it was like, it was, it was so anti, he, he framed it, cause what he was saying, if you look at that sentence, Israel is too important to leave to Israelis. He was trying to, and this was critical, that North American Jews engaging in trying to change Israel or critique Israel had nothing to do with an expression of distance. It was the opposite. Israel’s important and that’s why you can’t leave it to Israeli. And he was the institute’s first iEngage scholar.

Yossi: And Israel is the project of the Jewish people. And he took that literally.

Donniel: Literally. He literally felt that the future of Judaism was gonna be written in Jerusalem.

And it is for that reason that geography was irrelevant to him because Jerusalem didn’t belong to Israel. Jerusalem was the future of Judaism and we all are invested in shaping and being involved in it and a major part of his career, there were no podcasts then and Facebook and social media, but through the spoken word and through his books was to try to explain and make Zionism relevant and important, not in the sense that you would be pro-Israel. That issue, he couldn’t even think about a Jew being non-pro-Israel. 

It wasn’t about being pro-Israel. It was about recognizing that Israel was central to the future of Jewish life.

Yossi: It was about being pro-active Israel.

Donniel: Now, and because of that, you had to be proactive. You had to be proactive cause you were, just like you put on tefillin, you had to engage in Israel. And he also felt that world Jewry, and here we’re gonna shift, you were calling on people to protest to be involved.

My father believed that World Jewry had a perspective about Israel that Israelis couldn’t have. That’s also part of the story of Israel’s too important to leave to the Israelis. It’s too important because there’s something that you understand. And as an oleh who came to Israel, he saw all the pluralism and the certain open-mindedness and perspective about religion and modernity that he learned in America.

And he said, North American Jews have to be involved because their Judaism has to make aliyah. So there was this open conversation that he was trying to bring about.

Yossi: That’s beautiful. 

Donniel: in which there were no boundaries, cause there was no question of loyalty. It was, hello, this is the future of the Jewish people. 

Yossi: He also, he didn’t have patience for small categories. 

Donniel: That’s right. What do you mean? Like, I, I know like when you, he didn’t have, he didn’t have patience for a lot of things.

Yossi: Like, you don’t have the right, you don’t, you don’t live here. You’re not, for him, the Jewish people was transnational and as you say, Israel belonged not only to all Jews who were alive today, to all Jews who were ever alive and will ever be born. And this is the center point.

Donniel: He didn’t have the patience for the politics of the Israeli discourse that exists today. The politics of who’s allowed to talk? When is the last time you said something positive? Like, I could see him just like, you know,

Yossi: Donniel, I think he would’ve looked at this letter that the three of us wrote and said, yeah, yeah, so? What’s the chiddush here? What’s new here? Yeah, of course.

Donniel: Yeah. It really does reflect another time about how much the politics of conversation is a theme, but that’s our theme today because your letter activated the politics of conversation.

But let’s start by remembering my Abba, who, for whom this political discourse was of no interest cause the only thing he cared about was substance. He cared about meaning. He cared about, was Israel important? Was Israel powerful? Was Israel exciting and vibrant? And anybody who could bring that, come on in. 

Yossi: And you know, one last word there, Donniel, about gratitude.

When I walk through the gates in the morning, or more likely late afternoon, to the Hartman Institute, I often think of him and I think of how we’re living in him, in his vision, and how grateful I feel, for having given me a home, having given me a spiritual context to live out my Israeliness, my Jewishness, and I just loved him and really miss him.

Donniel: He loved you too. Like, we actually feel normal here. But that’s what makes your letter, you know, cause if you would write that letter to me, you know, I loved your letter and I felt moved by it. All the politics of the discourse just were secondary. So, let’s go to that. So start by maybe with what motivated you? 

And I recommend, if that’s okay for today, since Danny and Matti aren’t here. And I know that they’re different, a little bit, you can share, but we don’t have to speak in one voice and cause I,

Yossi: Yeah, I’ll speak for myself.

Donniel: Because I don’t wanna misrepresent the nuances and then that’s not fair to them.

Yossi: Look, I’ll speak about my own motive. You know, until you asked the question, I never thought about what the motive was. It was so intuitive. I’m in pain. I’m in pain about Israel. Whenever I’m in pain about Israel, I reach out to Jews in North America because that’s, those are the people who’ve been reading me all these years.

They’re my family and I just didn’t think about it. I, it, it was, you know, a kol koreh, it was, a wonderful Hebrew expression, a cry. Crying out. And I didn’t think about a specific audience and I didn’t have an operative plan asking American Jews, this is what I, I, I didn’t have a plan. 

I wanted to share with them what I’m going through, to invite them into my pain, my struggle. And

Donniel: But Yossi, you never, you didn’t do this in the past. So I accept, I think it’s really interesting, like very often when you write, you first write for yourself. You’re giving voice to something deep in your soul. And that you didn’t have a program, is a worthwhile thing. 

And again, it’s a different act, how you programatize something is a separate agenda. And it’s not necessarily the initial agenda, because unless there is a cry, the cry is also supposed to get, it’s like a shofar, it’s supposed to wake people up.

Yossi: But I’ll tell you what I, what I wasn’t looking for was for American Jews to come and save Israel from itself. It was something deeper. It was telling American Jews, this is an issue for Klal Yisrael, for the whole Jewish people. It’s not my private struggle as an Israeli citizen. The future of Israeli democracy, of the, the most basic moral character of the state, I’m not the only custodian of that issue.

And so first of all, I was inviting American Jews in to feel this with me, to be with me in this struggle without even thinking about the next step, at least not initially, about what does that mean to be with me? I’m in the streets with you every Saturday night. Am I inviting them into the streets? My first impulse was just to invite them into my pain.

Donniel: So in many ways it, if going back to my father, if Israel’s important, we have to talk. And it was to say to them, you have lived with Israel. You’ve cared about Israel, you’re thinking about Israel. This wasn’t, I need to activate you so that you don’t become disengaged. Nothing to do. It almost presupposes the centrality of Israel. 

And you know, it’s, “et achai ani mivakesh.” I’m like, I wanna speak to my brothers and sisters. I wanna speak to my family. Something different is happening right now.

Yossi: Yes. Something different. This is

Donniel: This is not the same.

Yossi: This is a self-inflicted wound that can’t be explained away by context. I spent 40 years of my career here explaining the context of Israel’s problems. This for me is not explainable within a context. This is, this is entirely a self-inflicted wound.

Donniel: Right, you know, we’ve spoken about this in the past. A big part of yours and the various communicators of Israel is to try to explain the nuance, the complexity of Israel, like, what you think you see from 6 to 10,000 miles awaym it’s not what this story is, something else is going on here.

And by knowing or feeling its complexity, you silence the criticism. I want to come back to that in a moment later on but this, this is not left-wing a right wing, and more importantly, this is not complicated, this, as you use the word, tthis is just too much too far. So did people understand that?

Yossi: Well, the overwhelming reaction from mainstream American Jews was gratitude. First of all, you’re taking us seriously, thank you. You’ve bothered addressing us. You’ve, you’ve noticed that we’re here and we’re concerned too, and we’re very confused. First of all, among many respondents, there was gratitude. 

Then you had the pushback and the pushback fell along predictable political lines. You had the right, people on, not all, but many on the right saying, you of all people, the three of you have credibility as being Israel’s defenders in the media, in the Jewish community. At a moment when we are facing unprecedented assault from our enemies, you’re joining the lynch mob.

And my response to that is, if this plan goes through, anything that I say is going to be irrelevant. The reality itself is going to indict us. And just one example and this is something that Alan Dershowitz has said. Now, Dershowitz has been Israel’s most stalwart defendant and even Netanyahu’s defendant, and he said that, if this goes through, he will not be able to defend us in international legal arenas because Israel’s Supreme Court won’t have the credibility anymore. 

And the way that he put it is that international legal forums intervene in the internal affairs of countries that are not considered democracies. Israel has been largely immune from that intervention. 

Donniel: So these are the reasons. I understand, that, that that’s the context we’ve spoken a lot about. About why this is. I know. Could you tell me a criticism that gave you pause, that made you say, ah, maybe I should have done this differently? Or that there’s something that they’re saying that I need to take into account?

Yossi: The criticisms that were most meaningful for me were those that came from the center, which is my political camp. And the criticisms there were that we as centrists are supposed to be looking at opposing positions, understanding what is the essential argument in each camp that we need to take into account and then come up with some kind of compromise. And that has been my default position as an Israeli all these years, but not now. Not on this, not on this issue.

Donniel: So, but I asked you, I asked you a tougher question. I’m gonna ask it again, and it’s okay if you say no. So these criticisms didn’t give you pause. They were wrong. Is there any criticism that you said, hmm, I hear.

Yossi: Look, I did hear this criticism from the center. I took it more seriously and I had to ask myself one last time, are you missing something here? And my gut response is, we are being assaulted. And the people we’re dealing with, the government we’re dealing with here, has no intention of compromise. The only compromise that they’re going to offer is going to be cosmetic, and they will, they’ll offer some cosmetic compromise. 

And so first we need to take a stand and we need to push back and we need to create a balance of pressure. And then from that place,

Donniel: I hear you. So the reality is, I wanna put a challenge, a criticism that I heard about the letter. It was a criticism which said, so what do you want us to do? Now in many ways you set that aside at the beginning when you said, you know, I didn’t have a plan, I’m just talking. My job is to talk to my family, to talk to my family about the status of my family. 

But some said, listen, that American Jews have a voice and should, the translation, and it’s not that that’s a criticism of the letter, but it’s a question. Here, I read the letter, right? For those who wanna reject the letter that you’re betraying and that you’re coming in and the enemy, okay, leave those aside.

For those on the radical left, who are gonna get all angry at you for criticizing and saying, ah, you’re the ones who quieted us. You know, where were you yesterday?

Yossi: Oh, they’re saying something else. They’re saying, you know, Israel isn’t a democracy to begin with.

Donniel: So let’s leave that aside. At the end of the day, the purpose of this letter, even if it wasn’t your motive, someone who reads it, asks themselves, what should I do? Let, let’s try to figure out together.

Yossi: Yes, that, that was the second motive. Once the letter became more conscious, then yes, then I want American Jews to raise their voices.

Donniel: What would you like them to do?

Yossi: So first of all, I would like to see American Jews ask their leaders, the leaders who have the ear of this government, are you raising this issue? Are you letting them know how acutely anxious we are and the negative effects that, the fallout that’s going to happen here if this plan goes through? So first of all, I want you, my representatives, to the Israeli government, and American Jewish leaders are a kind of intermediary, let them know. Behind closed doors. Make sure that you don’t get finessed. and that the meetings are not polite, that the meetings are tough because this is a moment that requires taking the gloves off. 

So on that level, I want to see American Jews asking their leaders to speak in a different way to this government because this is not a normative Israeli government. Something has changed here.

Donniel: Got it. It’s two. Anything else? Do you have another idea?

Yossi: I would love to see,

Donniel: because that, by the way, didn’t need the letter. That could have been a letter to, a private letter.

Yossi: No. You know, I, look, I think that the nature of a public letter is to trigger a conversation and to create an atmosphere.

Donniel: Okay. 

Yossi: And so it’s, so, it’s, it’s the, the intangible.

Donniel: I accept that, yes, I accept that, but beyond the meetings, you know, and like, what else is there?

Yossi: Look, I, I want to see, in the same way that we’re seeing Israelis around the world demonstrating not just against this government, but in solidarity with Israeli democracy, in solidarity with the people in the streets here, I want to see American Jews demonstrating in solidarity with Israeli democracy.

Now, the reason that I’m emphasizing the positive as well as the negative here, is that I think this is an opportunity, this is a teaching moment for American Jews, first of all to reaffirm for themselves what is the Israel that they fell in love with? What is the Israel that matters to them?

You know, cause a big part of our, of the demonstrations as we go and we see them, there is the anti-government dimension to it, but it really is an embracing of the Israel that we want. It’s saying these are the things, so often we take for, we take for granted, and here people are standing up and saying, no, I love my Supreme Court.

Yossi: Thousands of Israeli flags, thousands of Israeli flags that individuals bring to the demonstrations. I see people wrapping themselves like a talit in the Israeli flag because they’re so worried about the future of Israel. 

Donniel: So, again, I wanna just put this and then let’s take a break and then Elana will join into the conversation and bring her perspective. 

I think there needs to be a way for North American Jewry to find a new voice. I think so much of the last 20 years, or maybe even more, but at least the last 20 years, a large part of Jewish life has been training North American Jews not to talk, not to talk. You don’t know enough. You’re not there. Your life’s not on the line. Like there’s a whole list, like there’s a whole list of reasons why you should be silent.

And silence became a safer place. You’re distanced, you’re far away. What do you know? Who are you? You know, it’s like you haven’t served in the army. It’s like even the new immigrants. You’re not one of us. You’re far away. You don’t know. Have you ever had a rock or been in a terrorist attack? Do you understand the complexity of, of the Palestinian? 

We have a huge Torah, I’ll call it the Torah of silence. The Torah of, shh. You don’t understand. And I think part of what this letter is about is saying, I’m not denying that dimension of my teaching, but there are moments where silence, as I said, it’s not complicated.

The problem is whether people, themselves have gotten so used to, right, that the only ones who know how to talk out are the anti-Zionists. And we’ve said beforehand, when anti-Zionism owns the category of moral discourse and aspiration about Israel, then the Zionist camp is destroyed and demolished.

Let’s just put that on the table. Let’s take, again, our short break and then Elana will join us.

Hi Elana, how are you?

Elana: Hi friends. Doing well. How are you?

Donniel: I’m okay. How does, let me start with a meta question before you get into, if there’s Torah you wanna share. When you read this letter, how did it, because we’re, we’re making Yossi, it’s Yossi and my Abba are the theme today, but let’s make Yossi, he deserves it. It was a big letter. How did this letter hit you?

Elana: It’s interesting, when I read it, I actually, you know, the quote that you had from your father, of blessed memory, of don’t leave Israel to Israelis. When I read the letter, I said, oh, they’re asking American Jews not to abandon Israel. Not to leave Israel. Meaning, Yossi, it’s interesting to hear you say that actually, your first feeling was just vulnerability and you wanted to share your vulnerability.

Because when I read it, I said to myself, oh, you’re basically saying please stay engaged, don’t leave. It’s a dire consequence. So like that’s how it fell on my ears and I think, well, did you wanna say something about that, Yossi?

Yossi: No, I think you got it. It really was a plea. I, I think you’ve just made it even sharper for me. It was a plea to American Jews to get more deeply engaged. When Israel, when Israel is in crisis, you know, we’re used to appealing to American Jews when Israel is in crisis externally. This is different as you, as you say, Donniel. We’re in different grounds here, but it’s the same impulse. Israel is in mortal danger. American Jews, be with us.

Elana: But I think, I think that if we’re going to start figuring out how American Zionists can be involved in solidarity moral discourse, there are a lot of ethical questions like, what happens if this passes? And I’m not saying what happens when this passes. I’m saying what happens if this passes? So was your solidarity on condition that you could get it not to pass? Like what’s the point of no return? 

And I think there are a lot of questions like that and I, I think we should think about this and talk about this a little bit because critiques that I heard, Yossi, were, why aren’t you asking for us for help on the situation of Judea and Samaria, or occupation? How come you’re not asking for help there?

Meaning, I think there’s a lot, we’re opening something that I think is very important and there’s a lot to talk about here. There are many questions that it opens and I also felt that when I read the letter, cause I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Yossi, Matti, Danny, you just opened something very, you opened a very big door and we need to figure out where that door leads and it’s not automatic, it doesn’t have to flow on its own, but it has to be talked about. It has to be discussed, the ethics of it. So yeah, that’s where I’m sitting. And I, I thought it was very brief. I, I really appreciated it, to be honest.

Yossi: Well, thank you.

Elana: Yeah. Thank you. 

Here’s the Torah that I wanna share. Okay. So I’m telling everybody to go out and buy a particular book. I am reading Reuven Kiperwasser, he’s a rabbinic scholar. Reuven Kiperwasser’s book called Going West. 

And the book essentially is looking at rabbinic tale after rabbinic tale of Bablyonian Jews who come to the land of Israel and Palestinian Jews, Jews who lived in the land of Israel at that time, going to Babylonia and the treatment they receive there. And it’s like soul food for right now. It’s like literally food for the soul, in terms of competing centers of Jews, how do they treat each other? Who’s an outsider, who’s an insider? 

And I wanna share one tale that he cites from the Jerusalem Talmud, but this is chockful, I’m literally talking to the rabbis out, there buy this book. Okay. It’s from the Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Brachot, chapter two, section eight. The Jerusalem Talmud has weird pagination. The pagination is five C. We’ll talk about that another time, but here’s how it goes. 

So Rabbi Zeira, who’s from Babylonia, when he ascended here, it’s spoken from land of Israel perspective. When he came on aliyah, when he ascended here, he went to let blood, he was tired. That’s what they did. Back in the day, you needed a refresh. He was tired from his journey. Then he wished to buy a pound of beef from the butcher. Something you often do after you let blood actually back in the day, for those who don’t know in order to replenish your iron. I mean, they might not have said it that way, but that’s the way I’m saying it. 

So, Zeira asked this butcher in the land of Israel, he says, how much does a pound cost? Like a pound of flesh, right? That’s what we’re, a pound of meat. And the butcher says, it costs 50 mana, which is money, and a slap on the face. He says, you know, around here what happens is you come to buy meat, we charge you, and then we slap you in the face. That’s, that’s our custom, that’s what we do.

Now, Zeira says, like, well, what? What do you mean? Come on, I, I no slap in the face. I, I’ll give you 60. Don’t slap me in the face. I’m willing to bet that the butcher didn’t slap other people who lived in the land of Israel in the face when they came to buy their meat.

So Zeira says, I’ll pay you 60. And he, he refuses. He says, I, I’ll give you 70. I’ll give you 70. Just don’t slap me in the face. But he refused. I’ll give you 80, I’ll give you 90. Zeira offered a hundred mana. The guy still refused. So Zeira said, okay, you know, do what your custom requires. Just imagine. A rabbi from Bavel, from Babylonia walks into, it’s like the beginning of a bad joke, walks into a butcher shop in the land of his Israel, and he gets smacked in the face. He pays, he gets smacked in the face. So in the evening. 

Donniel: Elana. My father would speak over and again about his experience of aliyah. One of his favorite jokes is he was the chair of the Aliyah Committee of Canada, and he makes aliyah. And the first thing that happens is someone steals his suitcases. Like this was like, literally, here it is. I’m the rabbi. And beforehand when he would come, he’s the, like, what is, this was his, so like your story is literally my father’s biography. Go.

Elana: And it’s so, this is the story. This is why this book is so amazing because Chazal, our sages, were aware of the kind of smallness that people are made to feel when they come to a new place, where they were a big fish somewhere else, and they walk in here and all they are are the other, or just a small fish, right?

But then Zeira finds his people. That evening he goes to the study house. Now he’s a rabbi. He’s not a butcher. He wasn’t going to see a friend when he went to the butcher. He was there as a consumer. But when he goes to the study house, he’s with his people. He said, masters in the study house. How bad is this local custom where you can’t eat a pound of beef before you get slapped in the face? And they hear him and they say, who told you that you have to get slapped in the face? And he says, butcher so-and-so. Now, of course the story ends, butcher so-and-so is dead. That’s a whole conversation. 

My interest here is, I look at this and I say to myself, you know, there are times when the boundary line between different cultures, societies, countries, communities, is so thick that you walk in there to that other place and you get a smack in the face and everybody thinks it’s fine because you’re the joke. You’re not serious. Nobody cares about you. You’re the other. We don’t have a loyalty to you.

But this story is actually doing something different. It’s actually breaking down the us/them dichotomy, and saying, look, there were places where when Zeira crossed the line, he was basically treated poorly and treated like, eh, you don’t belong here. Interloper. You don’t belong here. And when he found his people, his mirror on the other side of the pond, so to speak, though, it’s not a pond, it’s different, but you understand. The fact that he was Babylonian and they were from the land of Israel, wasn’t the issue. That wasn’t the issue. It was, are we in this together?

And that’s what I feel when I, I look at this moment and I say to myself, what does it look like for American Jews to get involved? Yeah, they’re gonna be some people who just slap us in the face. Who essentially say, you don’t belong. Oh, we don’t care. We don’t need your help. You, we don’t need what you’re saying.

And Yossi, what you guys were doing is you were saying, no, no, no. You’re our people and we’re your people. If you love the people of Israel and you care about the future of this state, and that’s where you’re coming from, we’re your study house. Come to us. We’ll defend you because we need you to defend us.

That’s an ethic. That’s an ethic that we need to strengthen without turning it into a new polarization between, you know those in Eretz Yisrael who would take the Babylonian, those who wouldn’t, but that’s an ethic.

Donniel: Thank you. Thank you. Also part of the story is, and I think that’s part of what happens when you, it’s so easy to silence somebody, and it’s so easy to play a power game. So you have the power game of the person who moves. But now we have a Jewish community that’s not moving. We’re not making aliyah. We’re, we’re both in our homes. And so, but we can still continue that same power game. We could continue it, you don’t belong, or you could have your little shtick. 

What happens though, if it even goes to the next level? What happens if in reality, to build the Israel we want, we all need to do this together? That we might not even know how to do it yet. I go back to if Israel is too important to leave to Israelis, we need each other’s voices. And then how do we empower North American Jews, and therefore the letter is critical and it’s not just North American against World Jewry.

How is there a partnership, a meaningful partnership? And I wanna tell you, the partnership can’t just be through. And it can’t just be through leadership. It can’t just be some oligarch of some form, like this elite group of people who, those who have wealth or those who are on the committee have a voice.

The Jewish people have to fight for the Israel we want, and your letter is inviting them to them care. Your letter is inviting them to say, you are my partners. And to achieve that level of partnership, that’s where we’re gonna have to go. 

And we could see this, by the way, cause the demonstration has one energy. When there’s a letter signed from somewhere in the world, it adds to it. And a company says, I’m not gonna work on Monday. It’s another, like there is, there is this moment, there’s a wave, but as Elana said, you just have to know, once you get the wave going, don’t think you’re gonna control it. And in many ways, I don’t think we need to. I think we have to understand that this place belongs to the Jewish people and the Jewish people at large have to take responsibility wherever they are. And you have to find your voice. 

Like Yehuda wrote a beautiful Facebook post. He says, I’m gonna demonstrate on social media. He said, it was beautiful. Like maybe that’s a more effective, I don’t, I don’t know, like you have to demonstrate in front of the embassy? I don’t know how to do it, but there has to be a constant, ongoing voice and just like in our demonstration, like we’re going Shabbos after Shabbos, there’s something about creating a bandwidth of conversation, not a one moment peak. It’s not, this is not a peak. If you wanna fight for Israel, it’s not a peak moment. It’s a long haul. 

For Heaven’s Sake is a product of the Shalom Hartman Institute. It was produced by David Zvi Kalman with support from Michal Taylor. It was edited by Gareth Hobbs and Corey Choy at Silver Sound NYC, and our music was provided by so-called. Our production manager is M. Louis Gordon, and our Vice President for Communications and Creative is Maital Friedman.

Major funding for For Heaven’s Sake is provided by the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation of Los Angeles because of our shared commitment to strengthen the connection between Jews in North America and Israel. Israel belongs to all of us.

Transcripts of our show are now available on our website, typically a week after an episode airs. To find them and to learn more about the Shalom Hartman Institute visit us online at We want know what you think about the show, you can rate and review us on iTunes to help more people discover the show. You can also write to us at [email protected].

Subscribe to our show everywhere else podcasts are available. See you in two weeks and thank you for listening. Yossi, Elana, pleasure to be with you.

Yossi: Thank you. Pleasure to be with you.

Elana: Same.

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The End of Policy Substance in Israel Politics