Israel-Diaspora Relations

The interdependence of the American Jewish and Israeli Jewish communities is best quantified by the reality that their respective Jewish populations are nearly identical in size and together constitute 80% of world Jewry.  As the relationship matures, it evolves from a purely American Jewish philanthropic and political support for Israel to one in which the critical issues facing the Jewish people are addressed and discussed jointly and cooperatively.  Those issues include peoplehood, Jewish education in Israel and America, and Jewish identity and continuity.

The primary AJC vehicle for addressing these issues is The Dorothy and Julius Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations, which brings the two communities closer together through research, publications, conferences and people-to-people exchange programs.  The Koppelman Institute-sponsored annual Israel National Defense College Seminar in the United States represents an understanding that the collective Jewish people benefit when the leadership of Israeli society learns more about American Jewish life. 

During the first years of the 21st century Israel has faced threats to its survival through terrorism and attempts at deligitimization in multiple forums.  In addition, there is concern that American Jews are drifting in their historic connection to Israel.  Fewer than one third of American Jews have visited Israel and Israel education among American Jewish young has been found to be lacking.  Together with Brandeis University, AJC has begun to make its contribution on the college campus with the establishment of the Summer Institute for Israel Studies which assists faculty in colleges and universities in the design of new courses in Israel Studies they plan to introduce into the curriculum of their home campuses.

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