While it was quite sobering to learn that the proportion of non-Orhodox American Jews immigrating to Israel (olim) have shrunk in “three decades” from 65% to 20% of their cohort, it’s still worth noting that they are disproportionately represented in Israeli social change movements — from peace, to the environmental movement, to women’s rights, to Jewish-Arab rapprochement, etc.
Here is an excerpt from the Haaretz article, “Leaving Zionism in the Diaspora”:
… according to sociologist Chaim Waxman, it is increasingly rare to find immigrants who move to Israel not because they are motivated by religious faith or pushed out by financial or political instability, but just because they are − dare the word be spoken aloud? − Zionists.
And when non-Orthodox Zionists do move to Israel, they often find themselves brushing up against a reluctance on the part of secular Israelis, especially leftist ones, to identify with the term “Zionism,” which many consider outdated or too closely associated with the right wing.
“I absolutely think ‘Zionism’ is a dirty word to Israelis,” says Anita Shapira, a history professor at Tel Aviv University’s Chaim Weizmann Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel. “’Zionism’ has been appropriated by the right and vilified by anti-Semites on the left. The time has passed for this term.”
Leave A Comment