American Immigrants To Israel And Their Impact On Israeli Politics

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Michael Hasin / ‫מיכאל חזין‬ American Immigrants to Israel and Israeli Politics I. Introduction When Khalil Jabarin killed the 43-years old father of four Ari Fuld on September 16 in 2018 in a terrorist attack at the Gush Etzion Junction shopping mall, he – so it looks – deliberately targeted an American immigrant to Israel, making sure the victim speaks English before stabbing him.1 Why exactly did the terrorist seek an American? Was he looking for one of the settlers, among whom American immigrants are greatly over-represented, 2 or for a voter of Donald Trump, the presidential candidate that most American citizens in Israel opted for? 3 We don’t know it yet (at the time of writing) but it seems fair to assume that Fuld was targeted because of what American olim stand for politically. In this seminar paper I will try to find out what exactly this is that these people stand for – less focusing, however, on the image of American immigrants in the collective consciousness but rather trying to sketch an objective assessment of this group’s contribution to Israeli political life and political culture. In order to do this I will first supply a profile of American immigrants’ political views comparing and contrasting them with the political preferences of the larger American Jewish community (II) in the next section I will analyze the role of American immigrants as Knesset members (III), and then focus on extra-parliamentary politics and American olim as activists (IV), followed by a section on American-born Israelis close to the executive branch (or part of it): as advisers and as experts (V). In the second-last section a tentative conclusion is offered regarding the impact of American olim on Israeli politics (VI). At the end ideas for further (especially quantitative) research will be proposed (VII). II. Demographic profile and political preferences 1. Size and religious orientation Estimates for the number of American immigrants in Israel – here defined as those who received citizenship by the means of the Law of Return – are hard to come by. Unfortunately, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) does not provide any (useful) information regarding the population of American origin currently (2018) living in Israel: an overview by the CBS of “Jews living in Israel by continent of origin” (meaning birthplace or father’s birthplace if born in Israel) includes only a category called “Europe-America” without further subdivision.4 Such data, however, is included in general population censuses: according to the last Israeli census in 2008, that asked a question on country of birth, there were 76.140 residents born in the USA and Puerto Rico, constituting 1% of the whole population at the 1 2 3 4

Joseph Magid, “Witness says Ari Fuld’s killer deliberately targeted an American”, Times of Israel, 21.09.2018, accessed 22.09.2018, URL: “https://www.timesofisrael.com/witness-says-ari-fulds-killer-deliberately-targeted-an-american/”. Constituting aroud 15% of the settlement population, according to Sara Yael Hirshhorn, “City on a Hilltop – American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement”, Harvard University Press, 2017, p. 233. Lahav Harkov, “Exclusive: Trump beats Clinton in Israeli absentee-voter exit poll”, Jerusalem Post (Online), 03.11.2018, accessed 22.09.2018, URL: “https://www.jpost.com/US-Elections/Exclusive-Trump-beats-Clinton-inIsraeli-absentee-voter-exit-poll-471561”. Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel, “Jews by continent of origin, sex and age”, 04.09.2018, accessed 22.09.2018, URL: “http://www.cbs.gov.il/shnaton69/st02_06x.pdf”.

time of the census.5 Based on census data from 1995, Rebhun and Waxman offer an estimate of 63,000 or 1.5% of the population for 1995 of all immigrants from the United States regardless of place of birth (25% higher than the share of Israelis born in the United States as reported by the Israeli census).6 According to Kay, who does not cite any sources, there were 85,000 American-Born Israelis living in Israel in 1995 constituting 2 % of the population. 7 Even harder to compile is the number of Israelis of American origin: i.e. the number of the immigrants themselves and their immediate descendants. According to the American Embassy in Israel there were around 200,000 American citizens living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories in 2007 8 – a figure that does not differentiate neither between Israelis and Palestinians nor between immigrants, children of immigrants and permanent residents (e.g. Christian aid workers). Assuming 20,000 of these are Palestinian/Arab Americans (a figure obtained by Hirshhorn in 2009) 9 – so up to 2.5% of the 2007 Israeli population (7.23 Million) could be of American background. In terms of the community’s religious makeup, the stereotype of a largely religious / Orthodox group is prevalent. Unfortunately, recent academic scholarship on the religious profile of the immigrants and their religious development is not available – older studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, however, show that at this time Jews affiliated with Orthodoxy already constituted the plurality of American immigrants (37-42 percent in 1969/70 - compared with 11 percent among all American Jews) with their share gradually increasing over time. 10 In addition, Waxman cites a figure of 54 percent of recent American immigrants who defined themselves as “religious” (Dati) in Israeli terms already in 1978-80. 11 According to internal statistics of Nefesh Be Nefesh (an organization tasked with managing the Aliyah process for North American immigrants) cited by a newspaper in 2017, the picture today is somewhat (!) more nuanced: of American families immigrating to Israel 65-70 percent defined themselves as “Orthodox”, in contrast to young singles, 68 to 70 percent of whom define themselves as “non-Orthodox” (apparently the self-definitions were made at the time of immigrating). 12 Sadly, no further information is given as to the overall share of Orthodoxy (and other denominations) among Jewish-American olim. Given the fact that both religious Jews and families are far less likely to return to their countries of origin and that a familiy’s degree of religious observance strongly correlates with their number of children, 13 the share of those defining themselves as 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel, “Census 2018, Table 1.8 - Population by age group, sex and place of birth”, 2011, accessed 22.09.2018, URL: “http://www.cbs.gov.il/census/census/main_mifkad08.html”. Uzi Rebhun and Chaim I. Waxman, "The "Americanization" of Israel: A Demographic, Cultural and Political Evaluation." Israel Studies 5, no. 1 (2000), p. 71. Avi Kay, “Making Themselves Heard: The Impact of North American Olim on Israeli Protest Politics”, American Jewish Committee, 1995, p. 2. Daphna Berman, “Need an Appointment at the U.S. Embassy? Get on Line!”, Haaretz, 23.01.2008, accessed 22.09.2018, URL: “https://www.haaretz.com/1.4982840”. Sara Yael Hirshhorn, fn. 2, p. 223. Chaim I. Waxman, “American Aliyah – Portrait of an Innovative Migration Movement”, Wayne State University Press, 1989, p. 98-9. Ibid. Michele Chabin, “How Aliyah Has Changed: More Non-Orthodox Singles, Smaller Orthodox Families”, The New York Jewish Week, 23.08.2017, accessed 23.09.2017, URL: “https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/lone-soldiers-in-namenot-in-practice/”. For the link between family size and religious observance, see Waxman, fn. 11, p.170-1; for the correlation between level of religious observance and family size: Ahmad Hleihel, “Fertility among Jewish Women in Israel, by Level of Religiosity, 1979-2014” [Hebrew], Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel, April 2017, accessed 23.09.2018, URL: “http://www.cbs.gov.il/publications/pw101.pdf”, p. 10.

Orthodox or Dati of the whole American olim community (plus Israeli-born children) is probably not lower than 70 percent. Little is known of the rest - but if the foundings of Goldscheider for 1969/70 olim do apply to later immigrants, unaffiliated Jews are likely to be overrepresented and adherents of non-Orthodox religious streams (especially Reform) underrepresented vis-a-vis the whole American Jewish population. 14 2. Political socialization of American olim a. Post-1968 immigration wave There is, unfortunately, very little quantitative research and survey data on American immigrants’ attitudes regarding Israeli (!) politics (I was only able to find a study by Waxman of political views of American-born settlement residents conducted in 1984). 15 In order to understand the political views of this community and especially in order to understand the views of its leading activists and politicians, I suggest therefore to focus on available data concerning the immigrants’ political socialization and background in America. According to two surveys - conducted by Zvi Gitelman in the 1970s - of immigrants from the Post-1967 wave, 57 percent of the respondents self-identified as Democrats, 41 as Independents (mostly leaning towards the Democratic Party) and only 2 percent as Republicans.16 This is in line with research conducted by Waxman in the 1980s on the American-born settlement population, where no-one of the immigrants stated to have been a Republican prior (!) to Aliyah and this is in line with Hirschhorn’s findings on political biographies of settler leaders who (mostly) immigrated in the 70s and 80s and of whom only one self-identified as Republican. 17 While Gitelman’s figures are not very different from overall party affiliation among Jews at that time (in 1970, 55% identified as Democrats, 41% as Independents and 5% as Republicans – whereas during the 1970s the Republican share hovered between 8 and 10),18 Republicans were still somewhat under-represented. But even more striking and more difficult to explain is the high amount of Democrats – similar to their overall share among Jews – given the inverse relationship found between Left-Liberalism and a strong Jewish identity found in 1990 NJPS data. 19 Looking at both the biographies of American-born Israelis and the history of the American Jewish community in general may help us to find an explanation for this surprising phenomenon. Analyzing the testimonies of American-immigrant settler leaders Sara Hirschhorn did encounter a recurring pattern of an involvement in the social struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, in the civil rights and the anti-war movement, before turning to primarily Jewish causes.20 Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (the founder of the settlement Efrat) and Era Rappoport (the future mayor of the outpost Shiloh and convicted terrorist of the Jewish Underground) both participated in civil rights marches together with Black Americans. 21 Accordingly, in Gitelman’s studies of post-1967 American olim conducted in the 1970s, a sweeping “nearly 40 percent” 14 15 16 17 18

Chaim I. Waxman, fn. 11, p. 98. Chaim I. Waxman, fn. 11, p. 150. Zvi Gitelman, “Becoming Israelis: Political Resocialization of Soviet and American Immigrants”, Praeger, 1982, p. 209. Chaim I. Waxman, fn. 11, p. 95; Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 9, p. 30-1. Alan M. Fisher, “Realignment of the Jewish Vote?” Political Science Quarterly, vol. 94, no. 1, 1979, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2150158, p. 113. 19 Uzi Rebhun and Chaim I. Waxman, fn.6, p. 82. 20 Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 2, p. 30-1. 21 Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 2, p. 137; p. 185.

of the sample stated to have participated in peace or antiwar demonstrations. 22 Far from being outliers among those with a high degree of Jewish identity, these immigrants (or at least the many Orthodox ones among them) were part of a milieu were traditionalism and support for left-wing politics went hand in hand: in the late 1950s and the early 1960s both the Orthodox Union and the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America endorsed the civil rights movement’s demands without any reservations.23 But for many reasons, the honeymoon with the New Left and its social movements ended in the late sixties. Hirschhorn’s interviewees mentioned the deterioration of inter-ethnic relations between Blacks and Jews in the wake of the New York teachers’ strike in 1968, cited the growing hostility towards Zionism after the Six-Day-War among left-wing activists and the ethnic pride and sense of calling Jews felt after 1967. 24 Gitelman encountered “somewhat conservative” views among the vast majority of American-born immigrants in his 1972 who agreed with the statement “that Blacks in America have gone too far in their demands” 25 - a statement understandable given the inter-ethnic frictions between Jews and Blacks at that time.26 1967 became a turning point for American Jewish identity: from now on, a certain tension existed between belonging to the left and being a committed Jew (and especially supporting Israel). And this fact helps us explain the surprisingly high share of Democrats among olim who arrived in the 1970s: these people started identifying as Democrats before this tension intensified. Disenchanted as some of them may have become by the excesses of the left, they continued to be influenced by their liberal socialization and their activist experience. And as shall be seen, they often tried to combine the values of their youth somehow with their strong Jewish nationalism. b. Later generations of American immigrants But how about the political socialization of later generations of American immigrants? A lot suggests a stronger identification with the Republican party prior to Aliyah. The growing share of the Orthodox among American olim coincided with a rightward turn of Jewish Orthodoxy in the United States: Fisher in his study on Jewish voting behavior from 1979, does mention age and education as politically divisive factors but not yet denomination 27 - in contrast, in the 2012 American presidential elections, denominational affiliation was found to be responsible for the most important subgroup voting difference among Jews. 28 According to the results of the 2013 Pew survey of Jewish Americans, 57% of Orthodox Jews identified as Republicans / or leaned Republican and 36 % as Democrats compared with a repartition of 15% Republicans and 77 % Democrats among Reform Jews (22 % Republicans and 70% Democrats among all Jews)29 and in August 2017 the AJC estimated that 71 % of Orthodox Jews saw President Trump’s performance favorably compared with only 21% of the whole 22 Zvi Gitelman, fn. 17, p. 209. 23 Alan Brill, “Orthodox Jewry and the Civil Rights Movement” in: “The Book of Doctrines and Opinions: Notes on Jewish Theology and Spirituality” (Blog), 28.08.2013, accessed 24.09.2018, URL: “https://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/orthodox-jewry-and-the-civil-rights-movement/”. 24 Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 2, p. 148; p. 113; p. 61. 25 Uzi Rebhun and Chaim I. Waxman, fn.6, p. 82. 26 Peter I. Rose, “Blacks and Jews: The Strained Alliance.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 454, 1981, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1044245, pp. 63ff. 27 Alan M. Fisher, fn. 19, 28 Herbert F. Weisberg, “Tradition! Tradition? Jewish Voting in the 2012 Election.”, PS: Political Science and Politics, vol. 47, no. 3, 2014, JSTOR, URL: “www.jstor.org/stable/43284611”, 29 Pew Research Center, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans – Chapter 6: Social and Political Views”, 2013, accessed 25.09.2018, URL: “http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-6-social-and-political-views/”.

Jewish community.30 While this data does not directly tell us anything about the subset of those Orthodox Jews immigrating to Israel, recent exit-poll results on the voting behavior of American citizens in Israel also suggest a far stronger affiliation with the Republican party than among all American Jews as a whole: according to these surveys, in the 2012 presidential elections 85% voted for Romney 31 and in 2016 Trump received 49% of the votes (versus 44% for Clinton).32 These (methodologically questionable) opt-in email polls may have overestimated the support for Romney and underestimated the support for Trump among American Immigrants as a whole, though. What significance this growing affiliation of American olim with the Republican party may have for their political activism in Israel, is hard to say. One consequence, in my view, could be greater tolerance for Israeli co-operation with right-wing political forces in the Western world be it the Republican party itself or European populist forces (as evidenced by the repeated enthusiastic endorsement of the Austrian FPÖ by American-born MK Yehuda Glick). As important is another factor of the immigrants’ political socialization: the influence of a rights-based political culture marked by a high amount of “communal and political involvement beyond going to the polls on election day”. 33 In many ways, “liberal” values, centered around constitutional rights and the rule of law, are common to both Republicans and Democrats. It is therefore to be expected, that – like the post-1967 generation that preceded them – younger age cohorts of American olim continue to exhibit a rights-centered approach to politics and a readiness to engage in politics in a more pronounced way than their Israeli-born peers.

3. American olim: religious, nationalist and liberal Israelis of American background – a group constituting up to 2.5% of the Israeli population – are a group with an ambiguous ideological profile: for the older post-1967 generation, Jewish nationalism was often accompanied or preceded by an involvement in the civil rights movement. Today’s American olim are more religious than the general Israeli population and at the same time more likely to have been influenced by a strongly rights-based and activismbased “liberal” political culture. As a consequence, this community’s influence on Israeli politics is likely to be complex and probably even contradictory.

30 American Jewish Committee, “AJC 2017 Survey of American Jewish Opinion on U.S., Global Issues”, 13.09.2017, accessed 25.09.2018, URL: “https://www.ajc.org/survey”. 31 Eetta Prince-Gibson, “Americans in Israel Vote GOP”, Tablet Magazine, 02.11.2012, accessed 24.09.2018, URL: “https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/115491/americans-in-israel-vote-gop”. 32 See fn. 3. 33 Avi Kay, fn. 7, p.7-8.

III. Party politics: American-born Jews in the Knesset Of all 938 current and former members of the Israeli parliament, six persons were born in the United States (approximately 0.6%), two of whom serve in the 20 th (current) Knesset (1.7%).34 In addition, several politicians were not born but (partly) raised in the United States, such as Golda Meir, Moshe Arens or Benjamin Netanyahu – their number, however, is harder to determine and their socialization sometimes greatly diverged from the majority of the immigrant community. In this section I will, therefore, confine myself to a short analysis of the political views of the American-born Knesset members only. Fig. I: American-born Knesset Members35 Name

Born

Date of Aliyah

Time as MK

Party

Yehuda Ben Meir 1939

1962

1971-1984

National Religious Party; after leaving the Knesset: Meimad

Marcia Freedman 1938

1967

1974-1977

Ratz, Independent Socialist Faction

Yehuda Glick

1965

1974

2015 -

Likkud

Meir Kahane

1932-1990

1971

1984-8

Kach

Dov Lipman

1971

2004

2013-5

Yesh Atid

Michael Oren

1950

1979

2015 -

Kulanu

Where do / did these six parliamentarians and their parties stand politically in terms of right or left? Defining the terms “left” and “right” is not a trivial matter at all, especially in the Israeli case. Some general approaches identifying the left with a positive attitude towards (socioeconomic) equality and the right with a negative one (Norberto Bobbio) 36 or equating the right with accepting and the left with questioning the existing order 37 seem obviously less fitting in the Israeli context than in the context of Post-WWII Western Europe. However, to discard the use of the terms “left” and “right” altogether and to turn to multidimensional models of the political spectrum instead,38 would contradict the fact that these terms have an enormous relevance in Israeli political life. Instead, I propose to go a middle way: to acknowledge the existence and importance of different political cleavages in Post-1967 Israeli politics concerning issues such as “religion and state”, “civil rights”, “economic equality”. And, at the same time, to acknowledge that among these issues one and only one - “readiness to relinquish Israeli-held territory” - is crucial in structuring political life around an axis of left and right. Determining which position on the settlements (or on any other issue) counts as left, right or centrist (in an absolute sense!) and why this is so, may be complicated in political 34 Data compiled using the Knesset member search engine: “https://knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/individual_find_eng.asp”. 35 Sources: Knesset search engine, viz. fn. 35; Wikipedia. 36 João Cardoso Rosas and Ana Rita Ferreira, “Left and Right: Critical Junctures” in: João Cardoso Rosas and Ana Rita Ferreira, “Left and Right : The Great Dichotomy Revisited”, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013, p. 7. 37 Frits Bienfait and Walter E.A. van Beek, "Political Left and Right: Our Hands-On Logic" Journal of Social and Political Psychology [Online], Volume 2 Number 1 (10 December 2014) p. 344. 38 cf. “Political spectrum”, Wikipedia (English), accessed 27.09.2018, URL: “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_spectrum”.

theory,39 but is surprisingly undisputed in everyday life. 40 In classifying the American-born members of Knesset I will therefore use the labels “left”, “right” and “centrist” the way they are habitually used in journalism or academia – but it cannot be overstated that this categorization applies to one issue only (“settlements”/ “territorial compromise”). There is, admittedly, a very serious shortcoming in this approach: the positions of the Israeli far right and the Anti-Zionist far left on territory are (almost) identical. But, since the far left has not yet been part of parliamentary politics in the Knesset (even the Joint Arab List calls for a two-state-solution) 41, this intriguing problem will not become relevant here. According to this benchmark, just one of the American-born MKs (Marcia Freedman) belongs in terms of her party affiliation clearly to the left side of the political spectrum (though peace issues did not lay at the center of her political work) 42 ; another one (Yehuda Ben Meir) began as a rightist on settlements but later, after his term in the Knesset, co-founded the rather dovish religious center-left party Meimad. Of the other American-born Knesset members, all belong to the right side of the political spectrum, even though the case of Dov Lipman is somewhat complicated: he was a member of the centrist Yesh Atid but known for his prosettlement views.43 All in all, American-immigrant parliamentarians overwhelmingly belong(ed) to the right of the Israeli political arena. But this label, “right”, masks considerable internal differentiation: while Michael Oren supports a Palestinian state in the long run, 44 Meir Kahane called not only for the annexation of the territory controlled since 1967 by Israel but also for expanding Israel’s boundaries to include i.a. parts of Jordan. 45 Even more pronounced are the differences on other issues not related to the settlements: Yehuda Glick – a territorial maximalist – is considered to be one of the most liberal members on civil rights issues in the Likkud,46 whereas Kahane totally rejected the idea of human rights, endorsed terrorism and advocated for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.47 These six Knesset members analyzed above constitute a very tiny part of Israel’s political class. But it is fair to say that some of them, like Marcia Freedman or Meir Kahane, influenced Israeli culture and politics to a far greater degree than the average MK. But this they did not so much as legislators but rather as participants in extra-parliamentary politics. In this regard they stand for the whole American immigrant community whose impact on Israeli politics 39 For an interesting explanatory approach see: Asher Arian and Michal Shamir “The Primarily Political Functions of the Left-Right Continuum.”, Comparative Politics, vol. 15, no. 2, 1983, pp. 139–158. JSTOR, URL: “www.jstor.org/stable/ 421673”. 40 Frits Bienfait and Walter E. A. Van Beek. “Right and Left as Political Categories. An Exercise in ‘Not-so-Primitive’ Classification.” Anthropos, vol. 96, no. 1, 2001, pp. 169. 41 Tovah Lazaroff, “How the parties stand on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process”, Jerusalem Post, 16.03.2015, accessed: 27.07.2013, URL: “https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/How-the-parties-stand-on-the-Israeli-Palestinianpeace-process-394028”. 42 Aliza Becker, “Interview with Marcia Freedman”, American Jewish Peace Archive, no date (Interview taken: 26.08.2015), accessed: 27.09.2015, URL: “http://ajpeacearchive.org/peace-pioneers1/marcia-freedman-2/”. 43 Chaim Levinson, “As Peace Talks Ramp Up, Israel's Religious Zionists Face Off Against the ultra-Orthodox”, Haaretz English (Online), 24.07.2013, accessed: 26.09.2018, URL: “ https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-could-the-haredim-bethe-ones-to-end-settling-1.5298611”. 44 i24 News editors, “ Michael Oren: 'Israel has never known a friendlier administration”, 29.04.2018, accessed 27.09.2018, URL: “https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/173542-180429-michael-oren-israel-has-never-known-afriendlier-administration”. 45 Jennifer Moravitz and Anthony H. Cordesman, “The Israeli-Palestinian War: Escalating to Nowhere”, Greenwood Publishing, 2005, p. 156. 46 Danny Zaken, “The last liberals of the Likkud”, AL-Monitor, 16.09.2018, accessed 27.09.2018, URL: “https://www.almonitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/israel-benjamin-netanyahu-benny-begin-reuven-rivlin-knesset.html”. 47 Ehud Sprinzak, “The Emergence of the Israeli Radical Right.”, Comparative Politics, vol. 21, no. 2, 1989, p. 186.

largely stems not from involvement in traditional party structures but from being activists in social movements (using this term in a wider sense) or civil servants in the executive – areas that shall be discussed now. IV. Extra-parliamentary politics: activism, protest and political violence 1. On the right: liberal settlers and terrorists a. The settlement movement Of the 401,556 Israelis living in the West Bank / Judea and Samaria in 2016, at least around 60,000 or 15% were also American citizens.48 Compared to their share in the whole population (up to 2.5% - see above) this community is dramatically over-represented among those settling in the territories that came under Israeli control after 1967. What is this group’s impact on the “settlement movement” itself and the direction it took/takes? Unsurprisingly, there are no American-born persons amidst the chief decision-makers responsible for the emergence of the settlement project (called an “accidental empire” by Gershom Gorenberg) in the time immediately after 1967: neither in the upper echelons of the government or the military, nor in the leadership of secular or religious settlement initiatives such as Gush Emunim.49 In the 1970s and 80s, immigrants from the United States did, however, play leading roles in the founding and settling of Yamit (North Sinai), Efrat or Tekoa – the places chosen as case-studies by Sarah Hirschhorn for her study of American olim in the territories. 50 How typical or exceptional is such a high profile involvement by American Jews on the whole in the settlements? According to Avi Kay, American-born settlers usually do not constitute the rabbinical or political leadership in the territories and only “play a minor role in decisionmaking”.51 Kay suggests, though, that the immigrants were able to make two substantial contributions: in the realms of non-violent protest politics and of professional PR. In as far as protest politics is concerned, the actions of the “Zo Artzeinu”-movement led by the Israeli native Moshe Feiglin and the American immigrant Shmuel Sackett may serve as an example. The organization - founded in 1995 to stop the Oslo process - specialized on radical, often illegal but non-violent mass protests (an idea brought forward by the Queensborn marketing manager Sackett). Explicitly referring to Martin Luther King and Gandhi as their inspiration, this group staged the blocking of 24 major roadways during rush hour on the 9th of August 1995 by hundreds of activists sitting down on the pavement. 52 While this was not the first instance of co-ordinated traffic obstruction in Israel, where Lavi project factory workers threatened by layoffs used this strategy already in the late 1980s, 53 it was probably this far bigger demonstration led by Feiglin and Sackett that turned roadblocking into a defining feature of Israeli protest culture (for comparison: this protest method is very rare in France and almost non-existent in Germany, to my knowledge). 48 Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 2, p. 231-233. 49 Gershom Gorenberg, “The Accidental Empire – Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977”, Times Books, 2006, pp.xiii – xvi.; American Jewish immigrants are only mentioned once in the whole book in the context of the founding of the Yamit settlement in North Sinai, cf. p. 319. 50 Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 2, pp. 16-7. 51 Avi Kay, fn. 7, p.10. 52 Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 2, pp. 213-5. 53 cf. the responses to Ori Katz’s tweet from 22.07.2018, accessed 28.09.2018: URL: ”https://www.trendsmap.com/twitter/ tweet/1020975941961601024”.

Good examples for the professionalization of public relations and fundraising brought about by American Jewish immigrants are projects associated with the Bet El Yeshiva under the umbrella of the holding “Bet El Institutions” that is managed by the Memphis-born Baruch Gordon: the Israel National News website (according to Alexa statistics the fourth Israeli media site in English in terms of web traffic: after the Times of Israel, Haaretz and Jerusalem Post Online but before Ynet English) 54, the Hebrew B’Sheva weekly, or fundraising events such as the Bet El annual dinner in New York (in 2017 featuring John Bolton and Ayelet Shaked as speakers),55 among others.56 Worth particular mention is that this involvement of American Jews does not only include immigrants but also those who chose to remain in the United States like the long-term president of the American Friends of Beit El and now US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. A third and crucial contribution of American immigrants is stressed by Hirschhorn: the adoption of a secular rights-based justification for Jewish settlement in the territories. 57 By simply asking why Jews should have no right to live in the West Bank / Judea and Samaria on land not previously owned and cultivated by Arabs, settlers like the American-born Rabbi Shlomo Riskin pose hard questions for liberal-minded audiences. 58 Similarly, Yehuda Glick (like Riskin a Brooklyn-native) invokes the concept of “freedom of worship” to argue for the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. 59 This train of reasoning seems indeed to be an American import since in its public relations campaigns aimed at the mainstream Israeli public, the settlement movement usually adopted not the rhetoric of rights but the rhetoric of democracy: calling, for example, the disengagement from Gaza undemocratic because carried out by a government elected on a right-wing platform, or stressing the need for a referendum.60 But far from being only a PR device for audiences abroad, this (moderate!) liberalism - in my opinion - genuinely influences the worldview of many of those who advance it, as is evidenced by the views of figures like Riskin or Glick in other areas such as female participation in religious life (Riskin) or civil and political rights for Arabs living in the West Bank (Glick).61 b. Right-wing terrorism: From Kahane to Goldstein Liberalism, though, is probably not the first thing associated with American immigrants in Israel. In the wake of the terrorist attack by the American oleh Baruch Goldstein on Muslim worshipers in the Cave of the Patriarchs in February 1994, the role of American Aliyah was widely debated and the stereotype of the extremist “Brooklyn Jew” emerged in Israeli society with some voices even insinuating that Jewish terrorism itself was – to some degree at least 54 cf. Alexa.com, “Top Sites by Category: Regional/Middle East/News/Media/Israel”, accessed: 28.09.2018, URL: “ https://www.alexa.com/topsites/category/Top/Regional/Middle_East/Israel/News_and_Media”. 55 Jewish Link of New Jersey Editors, “Help Support Israel at Bet El Annual Dinner”, 15.11.2018, accessed 28.09.2018, URL: “https://www.jewishlinknj.com/community-news/bergen/21724-help-support-israel-at-bet-el-annual-dinner”. 56 Bet El Institutions, Homepage, accessed 28.09.2018, URL: “http://betelinstitutions.com/”. 57 Sara Yael Hirschhorn, fn. 2, p. 183. 58 For a critical account of Riskin’s stances from a left-wing perspective, see: Jeremy Haber (Charles Manekin), “Shlomo Riskin -- Bad Moral Luck?“ in: The Magnes Zionist (Blog), 10.04.2008, accessed 29.09.2018, URL: “http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2008/04/shlomo-riskin-bad-moral-luck.html”. 59 Shlomo Fisher, “From Yehuda Etzion to Yehuda Glick”, Israel Studies Review, 32(1), 2017, pp. 67-87. 60 David Newman, “From Hitnachalut to Hitnatkut: The Impact of Gush Emunim and the Settlement Movement on Israeli Politics and Society.” Israel Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, 2005, pp. 199. 61 For Glick see: Judy Maltz, “How a Temple Mount Troublemaker Became an Advocate for Liberal Jews in Israel’s Knesset”, Haaretz English Online, 08.08.2016, URL: “https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/temple-mount-troublemakerturned-advocate-for-liberal-jews-1.5421840”.

an alien, imported phenomenon. 62 While there seems to be a general psychological mechanism at work for in-groups (here native Israelis) to assign blame to the out-group (here American olim) for negative social trends, this does obviously not signify that such a negative evaluation of American aliyah is necessarily wrong. Indeed, there is a disturbingly long list of Jewish terrorists with American origins, either born in the United States themselves or children of immigrants: starting from Era Rappaport over Jack Teitel and Baruch Marzel to Elisha Odess (one of the perpetrators of the Duma arson attacks), American-Israeli double citizens abound.63 Sure, only a tiny minority of American immigrants are terrorists, but it is well possible that American immigrants and their descendants are disproportionately represented among terrorists.64 Even more important: a central reference point and inspiration for many Jewish terrorists was and is an American immigrant, Rabbi Kahane, who combined a fundamentalist worldview with quasi-fascist tactics, 65 and by his activism created not so much an ideological but rather an emotional basis for extremism. Whilst it is certainly impossible to blame American immigration for the emergence of terrorism (e.g. the Jewish Underground had almost exclusively native roots and only one American-born member), it is also dishonest to deny a substantive contribution. 2. Left-wing activism: inspired by religion According to Avi Kay, “far more American-born immigrants are active in the rightist camp than in the left.”66 But – whether this statement is true or not – this does emphatically not mean that the influence of American olim on issues associated with left-wing causes is negligible. In the area of peace activism, for example, of the eight original founders of Peace Now, two (Galia Golan and Janet Aviad) were American olim and around 20 % of all those who took an active role in this group in 2001 were estimated to be immigrants from the United States; likewise, between a quarter and a third (!) of all activists in the group “Women in Black”. 67 As of 2009, more than half of the rabbis involved with the organization “Rabbis for Human Rights” were American.68 Another important field of American-immigrant activism is connected to religious pluralism. The “Women of the Wall” immediately come to mind in this context: the group that aims “to secure the rights of women to pray at the Western Wall (…) in a fashion that includes singing, 62 Avi Kay, fn. 7, p. 1; Robert L. Handley, “THE CONFLICTING ISRAELI-TERRORIST IMAGE”, Journalism Practice, 3:3, 2009, p. 258. 63 Judy Maltz, “The Anglo Connection: Why Do So Many Jewish Terrorists Come From the English-speaking World?”, Haaretz English Online, 31.12.2015, accessed 29.09.2018, URL: “https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-whyare-many-jewish-terrorists-from-english-speaking-countries-1.5384424”; Sara Yael Hirschhorn, “Israeli Terrorists, Born in the U.S.A.”, New York Times, 04.09.2015, accessed 29.09.2018, URL: “https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/opinion/sunday/israeli-terrorists-born-in-the-usa.html”. 64 This is a claim made by Hirschhorn, but there seems to be no serious study proving it yet, cf. Haaretz Editors, “At Least Four Detained Jewish Terror Suspects Have Dual Citizenship”, Haaretz English Online, 18.12.2015, accessed 29.09.2018. 65 Ehud Sprinzak, fn. 48, p. 185-7. 66 Avi Kay, fn.7, p. 10. 67 Avi Kay, “Citizen Rights in Flux: The Influence of American Immigrants to Israel on Modes of Political Activism”, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 21.10.2001, accessed 30.09.2018, URL:”http://jcpa.org/article/citizen-rights-influx-the-influence-of-american-immigrants-to-israel-on-modes-of-political-activism/”. 68 Wasfi Kailani, “American Orthodox Immigrants’ Mobilization and Integration in Israel” in: Elisabeth Marteu (ed.), “Civil Organizations and Protest Movements in Israel”, Springer, 2009, p.54

reading aloud from the Torah and wearing religious garments”. 69 Inspired by religious practices which characterize American Judaism, this movement began on the 2th of December 1988 when 100 participants of the First International Jewish Feminist Conference decided to hold a prayer service at the Western Wall; many American women took part in this event and of the Israeli citizens who took part, most were American-born. 70 Interestingly, their arguments were rooted – at least in the beginning – exclusively in Orthodox Halakha and the women were careful not to refer to themselves as “Reform”. 71 Another notable organization, where the American-Jewish influence is less direct, is the Israel Religious Action Center (HaMercaz haReformi leDat veMedina): founded by the Reform movement to fight the Rabbinate’s control over personal status issues via legal action and lobbying, it embodies a different form of activism. Its current director, Anat Hoffman, was born in Israel to an American-immigrant father and – after being raised secular – became a staunch Reform Jew during her time as a graduate student in the USA. 72 Some of its staff and especially of its steering committee are immigrants from the United States or other English-speaking countries; but the legally complicated landmark cases are dealt with exclusively by Israeliqualified (presumably native) lawyers.73 What could the specifically American-Jewish contribution to these movements be? First of all – as in the case of rightist movements –, American immigrants with their language skills and inter-personal networks often serve as gateways to international, especially American, media and foreign politicians or donors. 74 Sometimes (as with the Women in Black) this popularity abroad comes at the cost of not being able to reach or to convince local audiences.75 Another important aspect - and a huge difference from the dominant modes of native left-wing activism - is the large role religion and especially a form of Religious Zionism plays. Likely as a consequence of American Jewry being traditionally conceived and organized as a religious community in their society of origin, 76 American immigrant activists on the left exhibit a tendency to combine liberal and sometimes very liberal activism with religious (not necessarily, but predominantly Orthodox) belief. Not surprisingly, American immigrants are disproportionately represented in the Meimad party that, being affiliated with Religious Zionism, supports territorial compromise. 77 To a certain degree, such left-wing traditionalism mirrors the right-wing liberalism professed by other American immigrants. A younger generation of radical left-wing activists of American origin, though, seems more secular and less interested in these compromises, defining themselves often as Non-Zionist while seeing their Israeli passport merely as a guarantee against deportation for reasons connected to their political activity.78 Whether this trend continues, remains yet to be seen. 69 “Women of the Wall" in: Wikipedia, accessed 30.09.2018, URL: “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_of_the_Wall”. 70 Susan Sered, "Women and Religious Change in Israel: Rebellion or Revolution." Sociology of Religion 58, no. 1, 1997, p.10. 71 Susan Sered, fn. 71, pp.10-2. 72 Robert Slater, “A modern-day Deborah”, Jerusalem Post Online, 11.12.2013, accessed 30.09.2018, URL: “https://www.jpost.com/Jerusalem-Report/Israel/A-modern-day-Deborah”. 73 cf. the biographies on its website: “https://www.irac.org/staff”. 74 Compare the remarks on the connections between the American Friends of Peace Now and the Clinton Administration in Avi Kay, fn. 68. 75 Daniel Lieberfeld, “Parental Protest, Public Opinion, and War Termination: Israel's ‘Four Mothers’ Movement”, Social Movement Studies, 8:4, 2009, 382. 76 Ben Halpern, “The Americanization of Zionism, 1880 – 1933” in: Jehuda Reinharz and Anita Shapira (eds.), “Essential Papers on Zionism”, NYU Press, 1996, p.334. 77 Avi Kay, fn. 68.

V. American-born Israelis and the executive branch: Netanyahu’s Jews Looking back at the first sections of this paper, the impression may arise of American immigrants being mainly messianic troublemakers who – coming to Israel out of boredom with upper-middle-class suburban life – now congregate on the (extreme) right and left ends of the political spectrum. Not all American olim, however, fit this profile: an important additional idealtype of the American immigrant active in Israeli politics is the intellectual or expert with (in some ways) centrist views. Comprehensive studies on American olim in the Israeli executive branch do not exist, and it is impossible to estimate the share of Israelis of American background in the civil service or the military (though in the latter’s upper echelon their number is probably very low given the modes of advancement in this area). Some American-immigrant Israeli citizens, however, such as Stanley Fischer, Dore Gold or Ari Harow, have become household names in Israel. This seems to be a rather recent phenomenon: from 1996 on, Israeli elections were marked by the involvement of American political consultants, 79 and during Netanyahu’s premiership American Jews and English-speaking immigrants generally (“Anglos”) became a very prominent and permanent fixture in the state’s administration. Maybe influenced by Netanyahu’s own time spent in the United States, political decisionmaking in Israel – especially on issues connected to security and diplomacy – became more similar to the American model: centralized around the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Security Council (founded in 1999), with somewhat less involvement of formally appointed ministers and more involvement of advisors (sometimes even external advisors who are not employed by the government). 80 A very significant part of these advisors are Israelis who were either born or raised in the United States and with whom Netanyahu even prefers to hold internal meetings in English rather than in Hebrew (according to his biographer Anshel Pfeffer, this habit makes Netanyahu feel being back in the professional environment of the prestigious Boston Consulting Group where he worked for two years). 81 A good example of these innercircle advisors is Ron Dermer:82 born in 1971 to a Miami Beach mayor with close connections to the Bush family (especially Jeb Bush), he studied at elite universities (Pennsylvania and Oxford) and started his political career as a Republican strategist and pollster in the 1994 midterm-elections; he was then recommended by the leading Republican consultant Frank Luntz to Nathan Sharansky’s for his 1996 Knesset campaign. Remaining in Israel, he then began to contribute as a writer to the Jerusalem Post and continued to counsel not only Sharansky but – later on also – Netanyahu, whose closest confident he became successively. 78 Judy Maltz, “Don't Mention Zionism: These Jews Have Other Reasons for Moving to Israel”, Haaretz English Online, 30.09.2018, accessed 01.10.2018, URL: “https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-why-these-leftist-jewswanted-to-move-to-israel-1.6513565”. 79 cf. Dennis W. Johnson, “Democracy for Hire: A History of American Political Consulting”, Oxford University Press, 2017, p. 391; Nathan Guttman, “American Political Consultants Also Won and Lost in Israel’s election”, Forward, 31.01.2013, accessed 01.10.2018, URL: “https://forward.com/news/israel/170275/american-political-consultants-alsowon-and-lost-i/. 80 Haviv Rettig Gur, “Inside Israel’s White House: How Netanyahu runs the country”, Times of Israel, 06.01.2014, accessed 01.01.2018, URL: “https://www.timesofisrael.com/inside-israels-white-house-how-netanyahu-runs-thecountry/”. 81 Anshel Pfeffer, “Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu”, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 196, 299. 82 All following data from Institute for Policy Studies, “Dermer, Ron”, Right Web, 15.07.2018, accessed 01.10.2018, URL: “https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/dermer_ron/”.

Appointed to various tasks in the administration and finally made Israeli ambassador to the United States in 2013, his influence on US-Israeli relations is probably difficult to overstate. Whereas many Israeli politicians in both the government and the opposition do employ American-born assistants, these people usually advise just on foreign media issues or serve as spokespersons.83 In Netanyahu’s entourage, though, being at the very heart of decisionmaking on major policy issues, their role is far more crucial. How can we explain this overrepresentation? One important reason is - in my view - ideological. Netanyahu’s political worldview, neo-conservatism, simply lacks a constituency in Israel. 84 Voters and elites of the right are more likely to be motivated by Religious Zionism, traditional secular nationalism or populism than by a rather sophisticated view of Israel as an outpost of democracy and of the Western world in the Middle East, where co-operation with the United States – or more exactly: with a Republican-led United States – is both of strategic value and a goal in itself. The American-Jewish intellectuals and professionals in Netanyahu’s circle share this vision, shape it and are essential in carrying it out. VI. The major contribution of American olim: a synthesis of religion and liberalism So, all in all, what have American immigrants really contributed to Israeli political life and political culture? Looking back at this paper’s findings it seems that olim from the United States strengthened religious nationalism, liberal causes, activist culture and Israel’s links to the outside world (especially the United States). But critics may contend that while Americanborn immigrants form a large part of the settlements’ population, their influence on the political direction of the settlement movement is minimal: the over-representation of Israelis of American background in right-wing terrorist groups may, as Hirschhorn argues, actually be a result of their marginality in Israeli (settler) society. 85 One could also question if American activists in left-leaning groups, be it the “Women in Black” or the “Women of the Wall”, instead of advancing their goals did not rather undermine them by using tactics appealing to American media but not to the local Israeli public. 86 Likewise, the close connections with the Republican party and Evangelical Christians cultivated by the Neoconservative immigrants in Netanyahu’s orbit may have damaged other connections, namely between the majority of American Jews and Israel. 87 Whether all this criticism is justified or not, it shows how difficult it is to assess the influence American immigrants really had on Israeli society. There is, however, one (in my view) undeniable contribution made by the American Aliyah to the political culture of Israel: the synthesis of religion and liberalism. Figures like Yehudah Glick or Dov Lipman – while remaining genuinely American – were able to break the glass ceiling, to shape the Israeli agenda and to change (to some degree) the political options on the table for Israelis: their views are now a part of the mainstream and liberal rhetoric is commonplace on 83 See the advisors listed here: Gil Hoffman, “Meet the Anglos Who Whisper in the Ears of Israel’s leaders”, Jerusalem Post Online, 04.10.2017, accessed 01.10.2018, URL: “https://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Anglos-with-influence506566”. 84 Guy Ben-Porat, “Netanyahu's Second Coming: A Neoconservative Policy Paradigm?” Israel Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, 2005, pp. 235-242. 85 Quoted in Judy Maltz, fn. 64. 86 cf. for the Women of the Wall: Liam Hoare, “Reform and Conservative Judaism Have Failed in Israel. And It’s Their Own Fault”, The Tower Magazine, March 2015, accessed 01.10.2018, URL: “http://www.thetower.org/article/reformand-conservative-judaism-have-failed-in-israel-and-its-their-own-fault/”. 87 This seemingly recent claim was already voiced twenty years ago: Jonathan Broder “Netanyahu and American Jews.” World Policy Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, 1998, pp. 89–98.

the religious right for domestic purposes, too. 88 Similarly, organizations affiliated with the religious (center-)left such as the Shalom-Hartman-Institute (founded by the US-born Orthodox rabbi David Hartman) exercise a considerable influence upon the Israeli (!) discourse.89 Though the synthesis of religion and liberalism does also have more native and non-American roots, it is hard to deny the major impact American immigrants had on the development and promotion of this vision. Important to note, nevertheless: this “liberal Judaism” rarely manifests itself in the form of the Non-Orthodox denominations that are popular in the United States. VII. Concluding remarks and suggestions for further research While writing this paper I was struck by how little research exists on the community of American-born Israelis compared with the many analyses of Israelis who migrated to the United States even though the relative share of American-born Israelis in their receiving country is 20-times larger (assuming there are 150,000 Israeli-born Americans). To my knowledge, there are no recent quantitative surveys of American olim: neither concerning their demographic and socio-economic profile, nor concerning opinions on issues such as religion or politics. Likewise, I could not find a comprehensive study of the cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds of the Israeli elite in politics and government. Research projects in said areas would probably be resource- and time-intensive, but definitely interesting and relevant. In addition, the analysis of large chunks of information through tools such as Google Trends (big data) could permit to carry out very intriguing quantitative surveys of Israeli political culture, e.g. finding out which Israeli politicians and intellectuals succeed in driving the public conversation by counting the number of times their names are searched for on online search engines or mentioned in Israeli media. This could be a way of objectively measuring the real impact of American immigrants on Israeli public life. Unfortunately, measuring the impact of American immigrants on Israel becomes difficult due to another problem: defining who counts as an immigrant and who counts just as an American Jew close to Israel. Is Marcia Freedman, who was once a Knesset member but left Israel in 1981 and who criticizes Israeli policies from abroad, still an immigrant? Is an American who gets detained and questioned at the border because of his or her political activism in Israel already an immigrant? Is someone an immigrant who just plans to stay for a year in order to learn in a nationalist yeshiva (or: to participate in radical-left wing activism) and who gets Israeli citizenship to receive social benefits (or: to avoid deportation)? Is the American ambassador to Israel, who is fluent in Hebrew and who was the president of the American Friends of Bet El, an immigrant? How about the billionaire Sheldon Adelson who has no Israeli citizenship but some influence on Israeli politics? Does it make sense to look at the presence of Dore Gold (Israeli citizen) in Hebrew media but not on the role of Peter Beinart (not an Israeli citizen)? These questions show the need to tell the larger story of the American Jewish impact on Israeli politics, a story of which olim are only a part. But this seminar paper I hope - could serve as groundwork for that part.

88 Shaked Orbach, “Kach mesapchim irgunei ha-yamin et siach zhuiot ha-adam”, Haaretz Online, 23.03.2017, accessed 01.10.2018, URL: “https://www.haaretz.co.il/magazine/.premium-1.3882719”. 89 A search conducted with Google News on the 01.10.2018 in Hebrew resulted in 243 mentions of this institute in media outlets such as Makor Rishon, Haaretz, Arutz Sheva, Maariv or Ynet.

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