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March 18, 2021 5:16 pm

Diaspora Jews Closely Watching Security Issues as Israeli Elections Near, Says Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief

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Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief Dovid Efune appears on i24 News. Photo: Screenshot

With Israel looking ahead to elections on Tuesday, many Jewish voters in the diaspora are focused on security issues, with relatively more support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found in communities outside the United States, said Algemeiner editor-in-chief Dovid Efune during an interview with i24 News on Wednesday.

“Countries where the position of the Jewish diaspora is somewhat less secure tend to be more positively disposed towards Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s been sort of the robust security candidate for quite some time,” Efune said. “For example, polls in England, France, and Latin America, and Russian Jewry, Middle Eastern Jewry — they tend to favor an approach like Netanyahu.”

“It’s really among American Jewry where the split is far more drastic,” he continued. “Possibly, and we’ve seen it being argued, because American Jews are more comfortable and can afford to take more risks on matters like national security that Netanyahu has been seen as pretty hawkish on.”

Israel is headed for its fourth election in two years, with much of the campaigning focused on whether Netanyahu should continue to serve as prime minister. Efune said Wednesday that as they waited to see how the next government would be formed, Jews living outside Israel prioritized the security of the Jewish state over many other issues.

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“Every Jew around the world sees Israel as a haven, as a place to go when there are no other options,” he said. “In that sense it puts steel in the spine of every Jewish person and gives them that sense of stability and security.” He noted that other topics were also salient for diaspora Jews, like tensions between religious and secular groups and Israel’s openness to Jews of varying denominations.

Efune said that many Israelis themselves would also frame Tuesday’s choice largely in terms of national security, partly owing to their personal experiences.

“What’s unique about the Israeli election, I would say, is its incredibly informed and entrenched electorate,” he said, noting that many voters had served in the military and faced security concerns firsthand.

“At the end of the day, Israelis have learned some very hard lessons from the risks that they have taken on the national security front, and they basically enshrined the the outcome of those lessons in their politics,” he continued. “That’s what the future of Israel looks like and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that change is on the horizon. You’ve learned the lessons and there’s no looking back.”

Watch Efune’s i24 News appearance below:

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