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On the one hand, there is a process of detachment from Israel, often expressed as indifference and apathy.But the majority of American Jews, about 70 percent, remains emotionally attached to Israel.
Israelis spoke limited English and had few links to the world economy, so relationships between American and Israeli Jews were largely nonexistent. According to the latest Pew survey, 40 percent of American Jews have visited Israel and 40 percent of Israeli Jews have visited the United States. I would also note that for much of the state’s history, the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities were at best ambivalent about Israel and often frankly hostile.
Democracies are a tricky business, and in Israel, with its many political parties and coalition governments, it’s trickier than in other places.
Israel’s government cannot claim to represent all Israelis.
This is not a divide between Israelis and diaspora Jews. An increasing number of American Jews finds Israel’s policies distasteful and troubling.
That often gets misinterpreted on both sides of the conversation as a distancing of the peoples. Jews have great discomfort with Israeli leaders who do not seem to take into account the effects of their policies on diaspora Jewry, including policies on Jewish identity, social justice and religion.