It has been many years since a president as sympathetic to Israel as Donald Trump has inhabited the White House. Trump is not held hostage by political correctness, and is able to tell the difference between good and evil. Unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama, Trump does not adhere to the belief that Israel is the source of the Middle East conflict.
The U.S. embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem, the support for Israel at the United Nations and the firm stance against the Iranian threat are just a sampling of the support and concern the Trump administration has shown for the State of Israel. This support and assistance will be even more necessary at a time when Russia and Iran are entrenching themselves in Syria, right on our northern border.
Trump’s support for Israel is not about getting the Jewish vote. Most secular, Reform and Conservative Jews in the United States are loyal Democrats. In the 2016 election, they supported Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who was expected to continue the policies of Obama, a man hostile to Israel for its supposed victimization of the Palestinians. You can no longer accuse these Jews of dual loyalty: They have relinquished their allegiance to Israel. In contrast, Orthodox Jews did vote for Trump, clearly understanding that his election was in the interests of the Jewish state.
One can safely assume that Trump is very disappointed by the hostile treatment he has received from many U.S. Jews over his pro-Israel actions. The Jewish left in America, as well as in Israel, is unable to recognize the good in someone who thinks differently from them. The petty politics of left-wing liberal Jews are serving to unravel historic Jewish solidarity.
Sukkot is a holiday centered on brotherhood and unity. Jews, rich and poor alike, leave their regular homes for a temporary hut, the sukkah, bringing together the four species, which represent diverse entities of human existence. During Simchat Torah, Israeli Jews celebrate the second hakafot in a show of solidarity with Diaspora Jews, who celebrate the holiday for two days.
These holidays serve to intensify collective Jewish memory from that long journey through the Sinai Desert in ancient times to the present.
Seventy years ago, a new layer of Jewish existence was added with the establishment of the Jewish nation-state. Throughout the Diaspora, Jews felt exhilaration, pride, a sense of history and a reconnection to our homeland after thousands of years of exile. These wonderful feelings increased after the 1967 Six-Day War, which brought us back our capital and biblical heartlands. For a while, the tumultuous arguments between the religious and the secular, Zionists and anti-Zionists, Israelis and Diaspora Jews were forgotten.
But now it seems that the sense of solidarity between Israel and the large Jewish Diaspora in the United States is tearing at the seams and perhaps on the path to disappearing altogether.
At a time when we celebrate brotherhood, it is important that American Jews understand that the good of Israel should be a priority for them, too. If Trump is good for Israel, then he is good for American Jews. It is important that this insight be clearly expressed.
Dr. Haim Shine is a faculty member of Israel’s Academic Center of Law and Science, and a member of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors.