Wednesday, December 28, 2016


We've written before about the inexplicable silence from our continental organization with regard to, e.g., the introduction of legislation in the Knesset by the Shas Party that, if enacted, would hammer nails into the coffin that is the egalitarian prayer space at  adjacent  to the Kotel. There is just no explaining it. Not even the usual letter to the Prime Minister. Nothing.

Instead we rely on and "endorse" the eloquence of Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, in condemning this legislation:

“This bill makes a mockery of all the efforts made by recent governments to ensure that the Western Wall is a place that unites, rather than divides, the Jewish people. This bill's passage would have grave consequences for the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. Based on the Prime Minister’s strong personal commitment to strengthening the Israel-Diaspora relationship, it is my fervent hope that this damaging bill will be summarily dismissed by a majority of the coalition and of the Knesset.”
Could not JFNA have said exactly the same thing? Given us some sense that the organization's leaders actually know what's going on? Is Sharansky wrong when he wrote of the "grave consequences for the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry" or does Aryeh Deri perceive our organization as the toothless tiger it has become? Instead, our JFNA, days after Sharansky's statement "endorsed" it -- oh, the courage.

Do the organization's leaders, if that is the best way to characterize them any more, somehow believe a strong statement might mean that their visits to the PM's offices might be curtailed? Or that the Prime Minister won't video his presentations to the GA any longer? Were it I, I would be more fearful about JFNA not be taken seriously arising out of its silence on a matter so important.

In the past, as in the 1990s when the "Who Is a Jew" issue showed its ugly head in the Knesset -- with legislation introduced by the same Party -- our organizations not only issued strong statements but mobilized our leadership to visit Knesset leaders to make it clear, face-to-face, that that legislation "will not pass." Today? Today? We can't even mobilize our leaders to say a damn thing let alone visit Knesset leadership, let alone sit with the Prime Minister. BTW, there's a playbook for our institutional confrontation on "Who Is A Jew?" but Jerry apparently can't find it.

We want an organization in which we can take pride, speaking for us. Richard Sandler wants the same thing. 

Why is JFNA where we find it today? You tell me.



Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Bill Safire, are Israeli attitudes toward the diaposra the result of ignorance or apathy? Sadly, they don't know and thay don't care. We aren't in the 90s any more and even if Jerry and gang could shoot straight, it's not clear that their gun could fire anything but blanks. Diaspora leverage ain't what it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it still be worthwhile to see this Ship of Fools find their "gun" and fire it when necessary if only to wake themselves up?

Anonymous said...

Richard, do you really expect an organization without purpose or conviction to have the courage to live up to either? How would that work? New leaders, maybe? Sandler and Silverman have a joint retirement agreement that we don't know about? No this thing will just drag on into further nothingness. But be certain of one thing, these people will continue to spend $53 million or whatever it is year-in and year-out as if they were accomplishing something.