In a recent eJewishphilanthrophy article, YCT musmakh Amitai Fraiman, proposes a “reverse Birthright” program, to address the growing chasm between Israel and North American Jewry.
“(US Jews) are people that never send their children to fight for their country … Most of them are having quite convenient lives.” (Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely in a speech on November 22, 2017)
Hotovely’s words are yet another recent example of the lack of understanding and appreciation of American Jewry by Israeli public figures. The real problem, however, is that her sentiment is a reflection of general Israeli public opinion about US Jewry- characterized by ignorance, with a hint of superiority.
Hotovely’s remarks reignited the conversation about the need for a “reverse Birthright” to address the growing chasm between Israel and North American Jewry. Fundamentally, the argument is that more familiarity will breed greater understanding of and sensitivity to the needs of the US Jewish community. Indeed, there are already numerous groups running immersive experiences for Israelis to study the US and its Jewish community. There are even some initiatives in which Israelis who have participated on Birthright as soldiers are invited to spend time with their groups in the US. These are all worthy programs, and their contribution to strengthening the connection between the two Jewish epicenters is invaluable. Continued here