Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

Are Jewishness and Israeliness Separable?

Obviously, Jewish and Israeli are not identical.  There are many Jews who live outside of Israel – more than those who do, and there are more than 1 million non-Jewish Israeli citizens.  But how separable are the categories of Jewish and Israeli, and what happens when the two identities are totally estranged from each other?

Doron Rosenblum, writing in todays Ha’aretz newspaper provides evidence of the damage done, especially for Israeli Jews, when Israeliness and Jewishness are separated.  Claiming the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has forgotten what it means to be Israeli; Rosenblum assails the PM for thinking as a Jew, but not as an Israeli.

Rosenblum’s argument is a tendentious, if artful, overstatement.  Parts certainly ring true, but so does the fact that Rosenbloom pulls a reverse Netanyahu — separating Israeli from Jewish in the opposite direction.


At the end of the piece, Rosneblum observes:

Even his past in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and the way he (Netanyahu) uses various images of “carrying the stretcher” have always sounded somewhat affected and fake when they come from him, like the kind of fond memories of an American Jewish participant on the Taglit-Birthright Israel program.

But hat is merely an external expression of something much deeper. It is not that someone has for gotten “what it is to be a Jew” – it is Netanyahu who has forgotten what it is to be an Israeli, and it is doubtful if he ever really knew.


Rosenblum’s words reflect that the author’s “Israeli-ness” cannot integrate the genuineness of the experience of a PM who was raised largely in the US — talk about a shtetl (Medieval Jewish ghetto) mentality! Ultimately, the piece demonstrates both the real challenge which the author (unwittingly) points out — the dis-integration of Jewishness and Israeliness — and the fact that the problem exists on both the right and the left.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Haime52

    Someone may have to clearly explain it me this gentile. It seems to me that, as is self-evident, Judaism s a religion, where as Israel is now a manmade construct with many facets in it’s citizenry. Being Jewish by descent is one thing, as I may be Native American, English and German, but identify as American. Being Israeli, only denontes citizenship of Israel, not Jewishness, as there are other ethicities represented in Israel, who enjoy citizenship(one would hope). To want all citizens to “not separate Jewishness from Israeliness”, is to suggest that all peoples with citizenship should be Jewish. Without coersion or force expellation, how would that be achieved?

    Maybe it comes from not being Jewish, but I have a hard time understanding why many, if not most, Jews have a hard times separating the two. I feel a certain kinship with Jews as fellow Sabbath keepers, but often anm in sharp disagreement with Israeli policies. Many times I have seen this called anti-semitism and I do not unuderstand, why. I have no animosity toward Jews but simply cannot support all the policies of the state.

  • thomas sabo sale


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Peter W.

    The problem is terminology. The Hebrew people did not disappear. Their descendants, and those who have chosen to join them, are called “Jews” in English. In other languages, such as Greek, the word for “Jew” is ??????? which is pronounced evrayos, which is Hebrew. Israel is the state of the Hebrew people, and “Jews” are people whose ethnic heritage is Hebrew. Also, the Hebrews have their religion which is called Judaism.

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