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Israel's Settlement Policy Pushing Away Liberal U.S. Jews, Report Warns

With Palestinians gaining more sympathy among progressive Jews and Israel showing no signs of a two-state solution, a Jerusalem-based think-tank cautions a worsening of current trends.

Continued settlement expansion is pushing growing numbers of non-Orthodox and progressive-minded American Jews away from Israel, a new report warns.
Presented on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting, the Jewish People Policy Institute Annual Assessment of the Situation and Dynamics of the Jewish People found that “younger and more progressive Jews, especially in the Democratic Party, are being influenced by what they define as objectionable Israeli policies.”
With the Palestinian cause gaining more sympathy among this demographic and Israel, at the same time, showing little initiative in promoting a two-state solution, the report cautions that this trend “may continue to worsen.”
In its annual assessment, the Jerusalem-based think-tank notes that based on certain indicators, American-Jewish engagement with Israel would appear to be at an all-time high. Those indicators include the number of visitors to Israel, and in particular, the number of participants in the Taglit-Birthright program, which brings young adults on free, 10-day trips to the country. It also includes the expansion of pro-Israel advocacy activities around the country and higher levels of engagement in the Orthodox community.
At the same, the reported points to another conflicting trend. “The more liberal, Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and secular parts of the American Jewish community may become more distant as Israel demographically becomes more Orthodox and nationalistic,” it says.
Noting that “diplomatically, Israel is more isolated that at any time in recent memory,” the report criticizes leaders of the Jewish state for not initiating any steps on the ground to improve the lot of the Palestinians.
Israel’s supporters abroad, the annual assessment notes, are facing growing challenges fighting the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement because of this state of affairs. “So long as Israel’s settlement activity does not appear consistent with a two-state outcome,” it warns, “Israel will find it difficult to blunt the de-legitimization movement – and this is a factor in the new geopolitical reality. It is also affecting at least part of the triangular relationship of Washington-Jerusalem-American Jewry.”

Judy Maltz
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.727232
Schermata 2016 06 26 alle 21.55.08

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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