As someone who often finds himself identifying with a conservative point of view on both social and political issues, I want to support John Ruskay’s opinion piece, “Combating Delegitimization Requires a Big Tent” (Feb. 18). I have been living in Israel for several months each year, beginning six years ago, and I read “religiously” both the left-wing Haaretz and the centrist Jerusalem Post every day. I often find this a painful process, given the opposing positions one finds daily in each paper.
There is no way of ignoring the fact that Israel is a divided society on many important issues, and since we Jews form a kind of “meta-family” the intensity with which divergent views are held is often as emotionally laden as are the ongoing quarrels of family members who for years refuse to talk with each other. But for better or worse this is our reality, and one can be depressed by it but also intellectually stimulated if one is open to trying to empathize with “family members” whose ideas seem initially to be “off the wall.”
In order for American Jews with very different political positions to be able to feel an identification with Israel, they need to know about these basic differences and be encouraged to deepen their knowledge concerning the difficult existential dilemmas Israeli society faces — rather than to be told that the only way to support the Jewish state is to line up behind the current government’s point of view.