… This is a new element in the historic relationship between Israel and the largest Jewish Diaspora: Contempt is now mutual. It flows both ways. […]
The most recent catalyzer was undoubtedly Netanyahu’s decision to succumb to the ultra-Orthodox demand to cancel the Kotel deal, which took years to achieve and involved painful compromise on the American side as well. Although American Jewish leaders are well acquainted with Israel’s political system and with the Haredi parties’ immense powers of extortion, they did not anticipate Netanyahu’s swift and utter surrender. Bibi holds us in such low regard, one American Jewish leader told me this week, he didn’t even bother pretending that he was fighting for the deal he had brokered himself.
The decision to unilaterally revoke the Kotel deal was a tipping point. A dam of pent up frustration broke. The fact that Israel allows political leaders and official rabbis to defame and besmirch non-Orthodox American Jews in primitive and abhorrent terms – the latest was the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, who described Reform Jews as worse than Holocaust deniers – without anyone taking them to task is no longer considered an aberration.