What should Israelis’ relationship with Diaspora Jews look like?

Israelis rallying in the streets of Jerusalem to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020. (Photo by Nir Hirshman/Wikimedia Commons)

In the aftermath of Israel’s elections, the return of Benjamin Netanyahu means a far-right coalition likely placing controversial political figures Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir in positions of power. A surge of international Jewish organizations and leaders, including many in Canada, expressed grave concern with the results.

On the other side, many Israelis—and diaspora Jews—see this outcry as mere pearl-clutching by Jews who don’t even live in Israel. But that argument undercuts the messaging drilled into us as Canadian Jews since the inception of modern Zionism—namely, that Israel is a home for all the world’s Jews, central to our past and future, in need of our full financial and political support. The idea was always that every Jew has a stake there.

To discuss these themes, and dissect the question of what the relationship between Israelis and diaspora Jews ought to be, we’re joined by Donniel Hartman, who lived in Montreal before moving to Israel and eventually becoming president of the Shalom Hartman Institute.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.