A new Israel-American Jewish Knesset Caucus was inaugurated on Wednesday, in recognition of the importance of the American Jewish community, and the need for a fixed platform with which to deliberate on the relationship between the two communities.
According to a caucus statement, it will be the “central Knesset address for all issues related to the American Jewish community.”
The inauguration comes on the heels of a recent poll, sponsored by Brandeis University and the Ruderman Family Foundation, that assessed the attitudes of Israeli Jews towards their coreligionists in the US. The results lent overwhelming support to the establishment of the caucus, as close to 90% of Israeli Jews surveyed said that the American Jewish community is crucial to Israel’s security and continued existence. 71% of Israeli Jews polled also believe that the Diaspora should be considered when legislating fundamental laws like ‘Who is a Jew?’.
Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh, the caucus chairperson, was one of six MK’s to participate in the Ruderman Fellows Program in 2011, which seeks to increase knowledge and understanding among Israeli leaders about the American Jewish community.
Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, was quoted as saying that “[t]he fact that the Knesset members are now willing to examine and address the shifting dynamics in the American Jewish world is a huge step for Israeli political leaders, and it will have a direct impact on the future of Israel and Jewish unity.”