Note from Andy: This month, in place of my regular column, I invited Federation Director of Community Relations/Government Affairs Bonnie Deutsch Burdman to share her thoughts regarding current affairs in Israel.

WHY WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE COALITION AGREEMENT BETWEEN NETANYAHU AND GANTZ

While all of us in the Jewish community and beyond have been consumed for the past months with our responses to the communal challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now with our desire and need to engage in the fight against injustice and systemic racism at this moment of national reckoning, we also need to keep an eye on what is happening in Israel.

Under the coalition agreement between Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benjamin Gantz’s Blue and White parties, on July 1, Israel can officially consider legislation to incorporate land currently governed by the State’s Judea and Samaria Civil Administration (JSCA) into the State of Israel.

Depending on one’s political viewpoints, this potential move has been referred to as either “applied/extension of sovereignty” or “annexation.” Despite the politically charged semantics, the terms are used interchangeably for the idea that Israeli law will replace the JSCA currently in existence.

Israeli government officials who support this change believe that it will lead to further negotiations with Palestinians. They also argue that inaction or maintaining the status quo will be harmful to Israelis and the future of the state. Those who oppose the move claim annexation would negatively impact future negotiations with Palestinians, undermine the Jewish and democratic nature of Israel, and bring condemnation from around the world.

So what is the Israeli government’s plan and why do we need to talk about it?

As of this writing, it is still not clear exactly what, if anything, Israel will do on July 1, nor is it clear if the United States will endorse any Israeli action. Some reports suggest that Israel will apply sovereignty over 30 percent of the West Bank, while others are more conservative and suggest a symbolic annexation of a small amount of land and/or some 128 existing settlements.

We need to talk about this because as we all know, whenever something happens in Israel and the greater Middle East, the world is always watching and is often critical of Israel’s actions, particularly as they are related to territory in the West Bank. Because of the highly charged political climate here in the U.S. on the heels of a national presidential election, we are on the precipice of a potentially explosive debate.

And, there is no clear consensus on this issue in the national organized Jewish community, nor are we destined to all agree here at home. It would seem illogical not to take a position or make a statement about such a moment in Israeli history, but we might not be able to do so. And what will we say if we receive questions from the media or from our non-Jewish coalitional partners with whom we don’t always agree about Middle East policies? Difficult questions all.

This moment is reminiscent of five years ago when we debated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or “Iran nuclear deal.” During that time, ideological entrenchment and hyperbolic, partisan influence campaigns often supplanted thoughtful and sincerely held beliefs on a critically important topic. Depending on one’s political leanings, the debate missed the underlying consensus that our community understood – and still does – that Iran’s nuclear program is an imminent threat to Israel’s security. The point of divergence was whether the JCPOA would lessen or increase the risk. The debate at our JCRC and at the Federation level was acrimonious and led to some repercussions that are still felt. Hopefully the Iran debate has taught us important lessons about the need for civility and respect for differing viewpoints as we enter into discussions about Israel’s potential next moves.

But one thing is clear – our community is aligned where it counts. We agree on our support for a secure, Jewish, and democratic State of Israel with equal rights for all its citizens, resulting from a peaceful, two state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The JCRC is currently studying the matter, will make recommendations to the Federation Board if it deems necessary, and as always, will continue to provide crucial leadership to our regional Jewish community on this important conversation.

- Bonnie

Bonnie Deutsch Burdman
Director of Community Relations/Government Affairs
Youngstown Area Jewish Federation


Why We Need to Talk About the Coalition Agreement Between Netanyahu and Gantz

Posted by: Bonnie Deutsch Burdman on Friday, June 26, 2020
Note from Andy: This month, in place of my regular column, I invited Federation Director of Community Relations/Government Affairs Bonnie Deutsch Burdman to share her thoughts regarding current affairs in Israel. While all of us in the Jewish ...

Laughter, Love, Help, and Hope

Posted by: Andrew Lipkin on Thursday, May 28, 2020
On May 14 we held our first ever virtual Youngstown Area Jewish Federation event. We were able to showcase the ways our agencies are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Though we couldn’t be together, it was still a wonderful evening of ...

We're Still Connected

Posted by: Andrew Lipkin on Thursday, April 23, 2020
The current COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we do things – both personally and professionally. But what it hasn’t changed is our connection to one another. We must keep physical distance, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ...

Federation Serving Our Community

Posted by: Unknown on Tuesday, April 7, 2020
What has not been written about the coronavirus? Our lives will NEVER be the same, but how we deal with this virus will forever define generations to come. It reminds me of the 1962 song by Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which ...

We're Here for the Community

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Friday, March 20, 2020
March normally brings about the promise of Spring, the excitement of the NCAA basketball tournament, and preparation for Passover. Instead, this year, we find ourselves grappling with the uncertainty of what will happen in the coming weeks and days. ...

Continuously Improving

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is the umbrella organization overseeing our local agencies, namely the Jewish Community Center, Heritage Manor, Levy Gardens, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Jewish Family Services. Together we’ve ...

Celebrating 34 Years with Federation

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Tuesday, November 19, 2019
On Nov. 18, I celebrated my 34th anniversary with the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. When we arrived in the Valley in 1985, my wife Hilari and I, along with our one-year-old son Sean, found a Jewish community and Federation that has become an ...

One Year Later

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Thursday, October 24, 2019
It seems hard to believe it’s been a year since 11 innocent people lost their lives in the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life building in Pittsburgh. It’s even harder to believe we’re still facing threats of violence against ...

Reflection and Renewal

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Thursday, September 26, 2019
Personally, I’m reflecting on the major challenge in my life over the past year. I would never have guessed 2019 would bring heart surgery for me. But it did. That was a scary and emotional time. But the past year also brought my daughter ...


 

December 20, 2019 (Get Up, Dress up, Show Up, and Never Give Up)

November 19, 2019 (34 Years at the Federation)

September 26, 2019 (Reflection and Renewal)

August 24, 2019 (Security is Critical Issue)

July 25, 2019 (Summer's Winding down)

June 24, 2019 (Exciting Changes at JCC main and Logan Campuses)

May 23, 2019 (Thank You For Your Support)

April 23, 2019 (Holocaust Education Important Part of Federation's Work)

February 22, 2019 (Jewish Family Services Offers Much-Needed Services)

January 24, 2019 (Take A Tour With Me)

December 18, 2018 (Supporting Family)

November 20, 2018 (With Your Help, Federation Agencies Can Work Together to Benefit Families)

October 29, 2018 (Personal Reflections of A Tragedy)

October 15, 2018 (Without Federation...)

August 30, 2018 (Changes at Federation and Its Agencies)

Back to top