The poll was conducted by Teleseker (TNS) in advance of the Ruderman Fellows Program, a new initiative designed to educate members of the Israeli Knesset about the American Jewish community. The program, presented in conjunction with Brandeis University, will be officially launched in the Knesset on Tuesday.
The survey was initiated by the Ruderman Foundation and found that 82% of the Israeli public supports the initiative. It also found that an overwhelming 87% of the public in Israel perceives the American Jewish community as essential for the security and political existence of the State of Israel.
“The program aims to foster awareness and understanding of the richness and vitality of the American Jewish community and expose the political leaders to the variety of opinions and pluralism which characterize it,” explained Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Foundation and founder of the Fellows Program. “In light of the crucial importance of relations between Israel and the United States, and especially in light of the recent social and political changes in the Middle East, the most important thing right now is to improve understanding and communication between the leadership in Israel and the Jewish community in America.”
Ruderman pointed out some additional findings of the survey, which found that 73% of the Israeli public believes that there is much to learn from the religious pluralism in the Jewish community in the U.S. He noted that the Ruderman Fellows Program “also exposes participants to a variety of opinions and pluralism that characterize the American Jewish community.”
The first Fellows Program will be held in Boston and New York between April 3 and 8. The participants in the first round of the program are MK Avi Dichter (Kadima), MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), MK Carmel Shama (Likud), Eitan Cabel (Labor), and MK Daniel Ben Simon (Labor).
The Ruderman Fellows were selected in conjunction with a special advisory committee that included Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), former Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog (Labor) and former Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter (Kadima)