All you need is love…

November 11, 2012 by Michelle Coleman
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Diaspora Jewry needs to change its focus from fear for Israel’s survival to love for all Israel has to offer. This, according to Israeli writer, editor and commentator David Hazony, is the answer to engaging today’s youth.

David Hazony Photo: Michelle Coleman

Hazony was guest speaker at the Zionist Federation of Australia’s biennial conference in Melbourne on Sunday. His topic, “Does Israel Need Saving? Unconventional Thoughts about the Future of Israel-Diaspora Relations,” was a thought-provoking study about how Israel has changed over the years, and a plea for diaspora Jewry to adapt its approach to Israel accordingly.
“So much of advocacy is about fighting the battle of the endangered enclave of Jewish life in the Middle East, but is there a point at which Israel becomes strong enough… that the impulse to save Israel becomes a little off subject?” Hazony asked.
He commented that a new generation had grown up without an immediate and compelling threat to the Jewish people, and that these younger Jews were “tuning out” when they heard the older generation speaking about Israel in terms of threat and panic.
Hazony pointed to many of Israel’s tremendous achievements over the years, citing its position of 17th out of 200 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, its GDP of $30,000 per capita, low inflation, low unemployment, a flourishing culture, and an alleged second-strike nuclear capability.
Contrary to those who speak of Israeli malaise and a weary, post-Zionist country, “Israel has become great… it’s creative, dynamic, fun and fearsome” Hazony asserted.
Diaspora organisations, however, continued to focus on fear and threat, and youth sense that the Israel they’re being told about is not the Israel that really exists, he continued.
Hazony contended that the answer to engaging Jewish youth in the diaspora today is not fear, but love. And that this love should be fostered by disconnecting politics from the foundation of our love of Israel and by learning Hebrew, which would open a window for diaspora youth into Israel’s vibrant culture.
“When you teach your kids that being a Jew means being helpless, we can understand why in the free market of identification, they say, ‘I don’t need this’,” said Hazony.
The ZFA biennial conference was attended by Jewish communal leaders from all over Australia and also featured addresses by Israeli Ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem, immediate past Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Itzhak Levanon and a panel with Australian national editors on perceptions of Israel in the media.


2 Responses to “All you need is love…”
  1. Michael says:

    Unless he is telling us how bad the Israeli leadership is , how evil the I DF is, unless he is promoting Israeli/Arab & Palestinian human rights
    and trying to convince us how zionistic the progressives are why would we bother going to hear him…

  2. Shirlee. says:

    I heard David Hazony speak in Sydney , it was a very enjoyable and enlightening experience

    It’s been a while since I heard someone speak publicly who didn’t bore me to death, that kept my interest and was informative and very pleasant

    Thank you ZCNSW and the Great Synagogue. It was well worth shlapping to the City for.

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