Neither Side Wants To Change


Reading Naftali Bennett’s remarks at AJC, and the response it provoked (“Don’t Cry For Us, Jerusalem,” Editor’s column, June 22), is like listening to a couple in marriage counseling. Bennett wants to stem the tide of assimilation among Jews in the U.S., while American Jews wish Israel would address the wishes of the non-Orthodox. Each side is determined to change the other.

Yet neither side wants to change. Israelis don’t especially sympathize with liberal Jews who want to hold services at the Kotel, nor do they expect a solution with Palestine any time soon. The American Jewish community, meanwhile, talks about startups and social justice, not about the many Jews with little or no connection to their religion, history, or culture.

A marriage counselor would urge each side to listen to the other and recognize the other’s needs. That works when the two are willing to reconsider their positions in order to reconcile. In this quarrel, though, both sides are implacably convinced that they’re right. Sooner or later, that kind of marriage ends in divorce.