The two opinion articles published in the Jewish World’s December edition illustrate a widening schism over Israel in the U.S. Jewish community. Acknowledging that most Jews consider themselves to be Zionists, we have seen increasing concern among Jews, along with the major Jewish organizations, over the direction the Netanyahu government has taken in its attempts to hobble the Supreme Court of Israel, to establish authoritarian rule. In Israel this year, huge protests took place every Saturday night in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities calling for the protection of democracy. Smaller blocs within these demonstrations have called for an end to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories, a repressive regime that has been in force for 56 years.
Of course, the grotesque Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7, in which more than 840 civilians were killed, over 4,800 were wounded, and 243 Israelis and foreign nationals were kidnapped, has created a new dynamic. Following the carnage in the Gaza envelope, the communities and kibbutzim bordering the Gaza Strip, Israel unleashed its military might on the densely populated enclave, pulverizing neighborhoods and killing thousands of civilians, including children. Israel’s stated goal is to remove Hamas from power in Gaza, but it is unclear how this will be achieved, at what cost and what will be left to sustain the Palestinian residents of Gaza at the end of the military campaign.
In the midst of the current conflict, there also has been an upsurge in pro-Palestinian protests in this country and around the globe, and a steep rise in unconscionable antisemitic and Islamophobic violence. In the months to come, the Jewish World will follow events in Israel and Palestine and encourage readers to participate in a respectful dialogue about this complicated situation.
Since 1912 the AJW has served as an important news resource for the Jewish community. The Jewish World unites the main Jewish communities in St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as those in Duluth, Rochester and smaller cities, and bridges the divides between the various Jewish religious streams.