Even in ancient times, allies of Jewish polities exerted cultural influence among Jews, and often enough, too, many Jews lived in the lands of allied countries, including Egypt, Babylonia and Persia. These cultural/communal relationships had broad geopolitical significance over time, just as one would expect, since geostrategic decisions are never completely divorced from politics at large. So it matters that internal divisions within Israel today abrade against the sensibilities of some Americans and American Jews in particular. American Jews are becoming progressively more disenchanted with Israeli domestic religious policies that increasingly favor an ultra-Orthodox community whose mores are alien to them. Ever more American Jews are also unhappy with Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, even if the vast majority is not in principle hostile to Israel itself. Finally, as more and more American Jews drop their synagogue and communal affiliations, put forth little to no effort to learn about their own culture and history, and think of themselves as “just Jewish” (and then, often enough, only if someone asks them), their emotional stake in Israel wanes accordingly.

Dov S. Zakheim, “The Geopolitics of Scripture,” The American Interest (July/August 2012), 16.

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