NEW YORK - A majority of Jewish leaders in the Diaspora are in favor of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem; feel a strong connection to the Western Wall; but are also concerned about the capital’s future, according to a recent report by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI).
The report, a summary of JPPI’s 2017 annual Israel-Diaspora Dialogue, was released on the occasion of the upcoming 50 years anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and presented last week to Mayor Nir Barkat.
It revealed a strong connection of Diaspora Jewish leaders to Jerusalem, and their desire to participate in shaping its future, but it also notes their concern that tensions between Jews and Arabs as well as the growing influence of the Ultra-Orthodox community in the city, cast a shadow over its Jewish pluralism.
“Israeli leaders should be aware of the great importance Diaspora Jewry places on maintaining a pluralistic fabric of life in the city that allows all Jews to feel at home in Israel's capital,” President of the Jewish People Policy Institute, Avinoam Bar-Yosef said.
In addition, while a vast majority of participants said they want Jerusalem to have a "clear Jewish majority”, and believe it should never be divided, most also agree that Israel should be prepared to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a unified city under Israeli control, for a comprehensive peace agreement.
Diaspora Jewish leaders surveyed for the report also added they are concerned that Jerusalem is developing “in the wrong direction” and believe that the opinions of Jews around the world should be taken into consideration in shaping the city’s political and cultural future.
Among Jerusalemites, however, the majority are convinced that the city is developing "in the right direction."
JPPI’s findings included discussions and information from dozens of groups of Jewish leaders in the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, France and other countries around the world. In addition, it contained data from a survey of attitudes and opinions conducted by the Institute in March 2017 among Israeli Jews.
“The bonds between the people of Israel and Diaspora Jewry are critically important, mutually rewarding, and unshakable,” Mayor Barkat said in response to the report. “We will thoroughly study this important report [...] so that we continue to strengthen the connection of Jews all over the world to Jerusalem.”