Regarding “Day Schools Need New Israel Ed Approach,” editor’s column (Feb. 18), let me get this straight: the Mideast capitals are on fire: in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Iran; the dictatorship regimes are bloodily suppressing the peaceful protests of the masses who — lo and behold — are denied the most basic human, civil and democratic rights. Yet, The Jewish Week is still hand wringing and seemingly obsessed with why studies apparently show Jewish students feel they were “spoon-fed propaganda” about Israel by their teachers over the years, and are not more supportive of the Jewish state.
I, for one, am not buying these studies. Go to the [Salute to] Israel parade and see the masses of enthusiastic students marching. Stand outside El Al Airlines at JFK to see the throngs of enthusiastic children excited to be traveling to the Jewish state. Religious students support Israel because they are taught in school, the home and the synagogue that Israel is a central and fundamental core of their Jewish tradition and history.
Now, I will concede and understand why non-observant and the “independently” educated students you describe today feel less an affinity — if any at all —to the Jewish state, but it is not because they are “fed propaganda.” It’s because if you don’t raise children to be committed and proud of their Jewish tradition — including Israel — then Israel becomes an irrelevance to them, as does Judaism, which so many non-observant Jewish youth simply discard, as seen by the growing number of unaffiliated and intermarried Jews today. And that, in turn, leaves a vacuum to be filled by the anti-Israel media and propaganda machine which constantly focuses on the supposedly oppressed and occupied Palestinians, while ignoring for decades the plight of the hundreds of millions of their Arab neighbors who we now see are crying out against their own regimes for basic human rights.
Maybe Israel isn’t the “Little Satan” of the Mideast after all.