I cannot imagine Torah learning at the level it is in America if not for Torah learning at the level it is in Eretz Yisrael, and I cannot imagine Torah learning at the level it is in Eretz Yisrael without a Jewish government, no matter how imperfect, controlling the land of Israel and protecting its population.
I am talking facts, not politics.
And so Ahavas Torah and Ahavas Yisrael create for me two priorities: support of Torah learning at the highest level and defending the security of Jews, which means for the most part defending Jewish control of Eretz Yisrael.
I want to live by example, and I am incredibly fortunate to be the president of an excellent yeshiva, Bais Yosef Novardok, and the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the foremost American communal voice in support of Israel, the U.S.-Israel relationship, and international issues that affect world Jewry.
I may be the first person to hold this specific combination of assignments. But it is, to me, a totally natural and consistent combination. I wish more secular Jews who love their people would support the great yeshivas. And I wish, frankly, that more bnei Torah would understand their responsibility to add their voices and their power to defend the Jewish government in Eretz Yisrael.
Richard B. Stone, a longtime Jewish activist, is chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. This essay is adapted from his remarks on accepting an honorary degree from Touro College at the graduation ceremonies of The Lander Colleges earlier this month.