We posed a provocative question: Should Israel Speak for the Jewish People? SHI-North America President Yehuda Kurtzer laid out his conditions for when and how Israel should do so.
We gave the right of first response to two prominent rabbis and a Jewish community leader , and they gave us their response to Yehuda’s statement.
Now it’s your turn, and your responses have been fascinating. Below are excerpts from several recent responses to our question. You can find more on the comment sections below each of the original articles, as well as on Facebook . Feel free to add your responses in either of those locations, or directly to us via email .
Alan Stein of Natick, Mass., and Netanya, Israel, a member of CAMERA ‘s Letter Writing Advisory Board and other Jewish communal organizations:
Rabbi Marder has it right. Just as the President speaks for the American people, whether or not various individuals agree with him or her, so the President and Prime Minister of Israel speak for the Jewish people. If enough people disagree, they can vote them out of office. If enough Jews outside Israel disagree, they can make aliyah and vote them out of office.
Marian Blanton of San Rafael, California:
It depends upon motives of the speaker. None of the iEngage rabbis writing responsa covered that most provocative question, "If I am not for myself, than who? If I am only for myself, then what?" Hillel’s ancient conundrum continues into this present moment. Diaspora Jews will be motivated to continue support of Israel only if they are persuaded that Israel’s government acts upon basic principles of tikkun olam and of caring for The Other within its own borders. Diaspora Jews are conflicted because they do not find evidence in the present moment to support those basic principles of Jewish law.
Irving Cramer of Venice, California, Founding Executive Director of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger :
In the very early days, if not the actual beginning, Jews have held wildly different views of what a Jewish State should look like, and what it should be. Some had an unrelenting desire and right to lands beyond the original 1948 borders. So in that instance our people did not speak with one voice and common cause.
Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks only for those who believe as he does. Yet again there is not one voice representing all of us. And many seriously reject that voice on countless issues both domestic and international.