May 9, 2023

Martin E. Cobern on Israel’s Future for Diaspora Jews

To the Editors:

Michael Steinhardt makes several excellent points in his article, “Israel Is Doing Fine; We’re the Ones Who Need Help”:

  • Israel at 75 is strong and no longer needs to depend on financial or military aid from the diaspora.
  • We do need to “imagine a different relationship between the world’s two largest Jewish communities.”
  • “We no longer need to save Israel. We need Israel to help save us.”
  • In these trying times, we in the West could most use Israeli help in the area of “Jewish pride.”

Unfortunately, the current state of affairs in Israel gives American Jews little source of pride. As Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer notes in an article in the same issue, to be a good role model, “Israel must manifest the ‘way of God’ that includes kindness, righteousness, and justice (Jeremiah 9:23).” The current government shows little interest in any of these. Until Israel embraces its Biblical role, it will still be reliant on diaspora Jews – not for funding but for brotherly advice. “Reprove your kin but incur no guilt on their account.” (Leviticus 19:17)

Those of us who care deeply about both the future of Israel and the continued survival of American Jewry have an obligation to speak out and offer our guidance to our relatives who are going dangerously astray. Only then can both communities prosper.

Martin E. Cobern

Cheshire, CT