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July 15, 2014 11:10 am

Winning on the Third Front: International Public Opinion

avatar by Dvir Kahana

A rocket fire from Gaza hit Ashdod causing a massive fire near a gas station. Photo: IDF.

Last week, the State of Israel began an extensive military operation designed to restore order and allow Israeli citizens to go back and live their lives in peace.

For most citizens of Israel, Operation Protective Edge is being fought on two fronts: First, around the Gaza Strip where our soldiers are working day and night, risking their lives to stem both the terror and the constant rocket fire from Gaza and hopefully ensure that this operation will be the last of its kind. The second front is the Home front. For many Israeli citizens, rocket fire has been part of an unimaginable “routine” for more than a decade. For others, it has become a new element that is undermining the very fabric of everyday life. All of us, myself and my family included, are facing new challenges. Now more than ever, we need to be responsible and maintain our composure.

But as we learned from previous operations, the conflict has a third front, an international front, where public opinion is formed. Unlike previous years, the State of Israel is investing tremendous resources trying to win this battle, a battle in which Israel has the best supporters in the world. Members of the Jewish communities around the globe are the voice of the State of Israel, a country they see as a significant part of their identity.

The Jewish world is standing firm in the face of the systematic spread of disinformation and efforts to delegitimize Israel. In an expression of true solidarity, members of the Jewish community are standing face to face with our harshest critics on the front lines of this third front. We are seeing Jewish organizations use every resource at their disposal to defend Israel’s name by ensuring that the reasons Operation Protective Edge was launched, and its objectives, will be fairly represented around the world. This will allow Israel the breathing room it needs on the international stage to reach its objective of keeping its citizens safe from rocket attacks.

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But the support does not stop there. Over the past few days, we have been witnessing Jews from around the world ardently raising resources and provisions, while maintaining contact with their relatives living in Israel through the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.

Compounding the challenge to provide the material and moral support for Israel in war time, some Jews in the Diaspora are also facing hate filled anti-Semitic attacks in their home countries. The perpetrators tie these events together in an effort to justify their despicable behavior. This makes any attack against Israel an attack on the entire Jewish people. This makes a rocket barrage on Sderot equivalent to a vicious attack on a synagogue in Paris or the launching of an explosive drone over Ashkelon the equivalent of assaulting a Rabbi in Casablanca. Jews, wherever they are, are under attack by an unholy anti-Semitic alliance of the radical Left, the fascist Right, and the “uncontrollable” Islamist rage.

More than anything, this third front emphasizes the need for unity and shared destiny all Jewish people face. Mutual support and close ties between Israel and the Jewish communities in the Diaspora have never been more important.

We should therefore never take for granted this extraordinary dedication and steadfastness of the global Jewish society. It is our duty to maintain this crucial relationship by helping communities around the world, to the best of our ability, secure a Jewish future for all of us. We need to work tirelessly, with our many partners in the Jewish world, to ensure the continuity and strength of this crucial alliance between the Children of Israel living in Zion and the Diaspora alike. Together, we will win the battle on all three fronts.

Dvir Kahana is the Director General of the Ministry for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs.

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