by Gordon Haas
All over the country people are preparing for the Super Bowl. They’re throwing parties, preparing snacks, gathering their friends, and getting ready to put on their game face. Organizations are closing early and afternoon sports activities for kids are being cancelled. All in the name of the love of the game.
I am inviting you all to the best pre-game event in town. What could be better than gathering together with those in the Greater MetroWest Jewish community to discuss our love for Israel?
The Israel Advocacy Summit — sponsored by the CRC and AJC/NJ, will take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., on February 3, and will feature experts from advocacy organizations. These experts will discuss whether or not efforts to counter Israel’s legitimacy are having an impact at the UN, in the media, on college campuses and in relationships with Christian churches. The summit will also focus on providing tools and sharing best practices on how to advocate effectively and let you know what you can do locally. Learn more here.
Why is it important that this take place on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday? Well, Super Bowl Sunday is a great opportunity to talk about Israel with your non-Jewish friends and family members. Israel is a country to be proud of, just like we’re proud of our football teams. And it’s relevant. The Israeli elections took place only last week —a good example of why it’s important to be informed.
In leading up to the election, many of the mainstream papers made it seem that Israel was becoming a fundamentalist right-wing militaristic country. Yet, the surprising election results reflect the vibrancy of Israel’s democracy. Instead of moving sharply to the political right, as widely predicted, the Israeli people, through its strong vote for the new Yesh Atid Party, expressed the desire for a more centrist government.
Boy, did the media have it wrong. Despite the enormous security threats facing Israel, the central focus of the election was the economy, especially the challenge of developing policies that promote growth while at the same time protecting the middle class and most vulnerable segments of the country’s population. Clearly, Israel and the United States are grappling with the same kinds of issues and choices.
The election results demonstrate that the Israeli people wanted to see new faces and new approaches in their legislative body. Out of the 120 MKs elected into office, 47 have never served before. And, the incoming Knesset will have the largest number of women in its history — 27.
It is up to each of us to be ambassadors for Israel. While some people are engaged in anti-Israel messaging, we need to share Israel’s morals and values and to feel pride in our support for Israel. I hope you will join us at the summit, which is a result of the efforts of many of our community members to bring you an in-depth program that you can be proud of.
Read more about the summit and issues concerning Israel in the following articles in the January 24 edition of the New Jersey Jewish News: “Media monitor charges daily incitement by PA,”; “Advocating for Israel,”; and “Effective Israel advocacy Begins at Home” .