Israel and Switzerland’s Jews
There is a wide range of attitudes and opinions with regard to Israel among Jews in Switzerland. This also applies to the political situation in Israel. All Swiss Jews, however, share some sense of connection to Israel as the state of the Jews.
Israel is the only country in the world with a Jewish majority. Almost half of the world’s Jews live in Israel. It is therefore not surprising that a large number of Jews in Switzerland have relatives or some sort of connection with Israel. Relations and attitudes, however, vary a lot. Some Swiss Jews maintain close ties to Israel, others a looser or more distant relationship.
Swiss Jews cannot influence Israel’s policies and cannot be held responsible
The range of opinions on Israeli policies among Switzerland’s Jews is equally broad. Some welcome current policies, others are critical, others again barely follow political developments in Israel and the Middle East and have no strong opinions. Irrespective of this broad spectrum of opinions, however, it must be remembered that neither the Swiss Jewish community nor the SIG have any influence on the policies of the state of Israel. This means, of course, that they can in no way be held responsible for what happens in Israeli politics.
The SIG maintains a sense of connection to Israel, but does not represent Israeli interests
The SIG maintains a close sense of connection to Israel and to Jews worldwide. This sense of connection is important and is specifically stated in the SIG’s Articles of Association. As basic maxims, the SIG also recognises the inviolability of Israel’s right of existence and the state of Israel’s Jewish nature. The SIG considers criticism of Israeli policies to be legitimate provided it is not one-sided and the yardsticks applied are no different to those applied to the policies of other countries. Beyond these basic tenets, the SIG does not represent the interests of the state of Israel. As a matter of principle, the SIG only rarely, and with great reticence, makes statements on the political situation in Israel.