Visiting Israeli lawmakers discuss U.S.-Israel relationship with Boston audience

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Five Israeli lawmakers met members of the Boston Jewish community during a Town Hall-style open discussion.

The lawmakers are visiting Israel as part of the Ruderman Family Foundation’s Knesset Mission, which brings Israeli political leaders to the United States to learn about the American Jewish community.

The meeting on Thursday took place against the backdrop of a perceived rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. including threats against three Jewish institutions in Boston.

Amir Ohana from the ruling Likud Party told members of Boston’s Jewish community that the Trump administration is “totally committed to fighting anti-Semitism and standing alongside Israel.”

“The Arab-Israeli conflict will not be solved in Washington, or Paris, or New York. The Israelis and the Arabs will only solve this conflict, as we are the ones that have to either live and die with the consequences,” he added, saying that the Trump administration understands this.

Rachel Azaria of the Kulanu Party thanked the audience for the U.S. Jewish community’s engagement with Israel, during a discussion on how the U.S. Jewish community’s voice can be heard louder and with more impact within the Israeli government and to the Israeli people.

“It’s always upsetting to see how little Israelis know about the support we get from the U.S. Jewish community and that’s something we need to work on,” said Azaria. “We need to have this relationship and I don’t think we say it enough as Israelis — but thank you.”

Ayelet Nahmias Verbin of the Zionist Union said that things often are much more complicated in Israel than they seem in America.

“We truly rely on (American Jews) in so many ways. And you are sitting here with members of Knesset who have the utmost appreciation for the U.S. Jewish community.  I know that you need to rely on us to give you answers but the situation in Israel is not easy, obvious, and never one-dimensional,” Verbin said.

During the week-long mission the Israeli Knesset members have met with Jewish communities and leaders in New York and Washington DC at the national AIPAC Policy Conference, before concluding their trip in Boston.