A different reality


To read Nina Tannenwald’s piece “ ‘Israelism’ explores the disillusionment of American Jews,” [March 2024] is to suffer the horror of art being used to debase the soul. She intersperses her recital of the documentary film “Israelism,” with her own emphatic agreement with the points made by the film. The Israel Defense Forces are brutal to the Palestinians in the West Bank, more broadly the two young Jewish directors of the film state they were betrayed by the Jewish community who served them up a “Disneyfied version of Israel” that is far from reality.

My experience in Israel, decades ago, was totally opposite this false artistic version. My fellow students at the Baal Teshuvah Yeshiva in Jerusalem, were enthralled with our Torah study in the Biblical homeland of our people. One of my classmates was an American who had joined the IDF and was a tank commander in the IDF. He showed me his government-issued apartment in the Israeli town of Ofakim.

      I met Palestinians. They were invariably angry and hostile. They are taught that Israel is their land. The Land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael, is holy Jewish land. That is what the Jewish directors of “Israelism” simply don’t understand. They don’t study Torah with the Loshon Kodesh – the holy language of Hebrew.

      Young men and women from all over the world come to Israel, join the IDF, and have very satisfying experiences. These very few Jews such as Jewish Voice for Peace, If not Now and others like them, represent a miniscule minority.

      Israel and the Diaspora are organic. We can reach an accommodation with the Palestinians, while still keeping the holy Land of Israel beating in our hearts.

Moses Mordecai Twersky

Providece, RI