JERUSALEM (Feb. 2)
Theodore Ellenoff, president of the American Jewish Committee, has called on Israelis to begin a “national examination and quest for answers” in response to the Palestinian unrest and reach new consensus on the administered territories.
In an open letter published in Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post and in the Hebrew newspaper Davar, Ellenoff expressed the support of American Jewry for the Israeli people as they and their government confront “the upsurge of violence in the territories.”
“The events of the past six weeks have not divided us,” he wrote.
The letter was addressed to the people of Israel “because American Jewry — at least that portion on whose behalf I am empowered to speak — feels an intense and personal affinity for you and, at a critical time such as this, we ought to be direct and precise.”
Of the rioters, he said, “We can hope that they will seek to translate their non-explosive energies into coherent political goals, realistic demands which Israel has always proclaimed its readiness to negotiate.”
He asked the Israelis to consider how they will act on the violence. He said he hoped “this candid realism will translate itself into new ideas and a new and forthcoming consensus on the future of the territories.”
In an interview in New York, Ellenoff said his letter was intended to show that “The commitment here is full and solid. However, in connection with state policy, it offends (American Jews) in a serious way, and we want you to know that.
“It is always clear that the Israeli government understands the short range and, of course, the long range necessary to deal with the Gaza insurgency.”
He said American Jews “know how wholeheartedly the citizens of Israel support the policy of dealing with civil disobedience and insurrection in Gaza. Nevertheless, it appears to be a shortsighted policy which lacks imagination.”