There is much that America can learn from the Israeli experience — before it’s too late, says author David Rubin.
By Atara Beck, United with Israel
David Rubin, a former mayor of Shiloh, Israel – an ancient Jewish city in the region of Samaria – is the founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund (SICF), which is dedicated to healing the trauma of child victims of terrorist attacks, as well as rebuilding the biblical heartland of Israel through the resilience of these children.
His recently published book, Confronting Radicals: What America Can Learn From Israel, discusses the profound changes in America in recent years, particularly the chaos that includes rioting, looting, murder, attacks on police, and the destruction of monuments to American heroes in numerous cities.
These changes did not come about suddenly, Rubin says. Having taught in the New York City public school system before moving to Israel, he describes in the book his personal experience with the radical Left and anti-Semitism that occurred already in the early 1980s.
This encounter, he writes, was “indicative of a certain hostility in the radical Left not just towards Jews and Israel, but also towards the traditional family, which until the 1960s had been one of the pillars of Judeo-Christian civilization.”
In a telephone interview with United with Israel (UWI), the author discussed the situation in the US versus in Israel. Following are excerpts.
What led to the polarization and chaos in America? What happened?
“This has been a process that started in the 1960s. There was a lot of great music that came out in the 1960s, but not much else that was positive. The peace and the love and the false liberation movements as well. It became a culture war. A lot of the radical left in the 1970s and the early 1980s have become establishment…
“Many went into the corporate world, higher education, and started changing things. I’ll give you a prime example. Look at who runs Twitter and Facebook.”
Mark Zuckerberg and Frank Dorsey aren’t from the ’60s.
“It doesn’t matter, they’re products of it, of a radical Left ideology. The CEO of Twitter has been censoring conservative causes, pro-Israel causes… The ’60s is when the radical left started to be prominent….
“Bill Ayers [known for his radical activism in the 1960s and his later work in education reform] is a respected education professor in Chicago whose goal is to change the education system, to make it one of the symbols of the radical Left…
“He is a key example of individuals who grew out of the ’60s and adapted the strategy of working through the grassroots to change American society. It was once a society that believed in traditional family, a society that believed in God, a society that has stuck with Israel, and a lot of that has been undone in the last few decades.”
Radical Left and Muslim Radicals
What about immigration and the different cultures in America? Did that contribute to the changing values?
“The open border policy has been problematic. A lot of illegal immigration as well.
“The radical Left and the radical Islamic movements have been working together on that front. During the Bush administration, there was a meeting of the sub-committee in Congress, where they discussed that Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda were active south of the Mexican border, trying to bring illegal Muslim immigration to the United States, and they were giving people Hispanic surnames, trying to smuggle them in.
“So, there has been a strong collusion between the radical Left in America – which is basically the radical secular Left that is anti-Judeo-Christian civilization – and the Muslim radicals, who also want to change the Judeo-Christian aspect of the United States, to change those values…they’re working together.”
“No change is irreversible; let me make that very clear. Whether anyone will succeed in reversing that process remains to be seen.
“The radical Left has been working very hard over the past few decades and succeeding, changing the educational system, making it so that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag is something that’s controversial now.
“You can’t mention God in a public school these days. By the way, originally in the public schools in the United States, the main reading book in the elementary schools was the bible. Things have been changing. Ninety percent of the professors in most colleges and universities are Democrats. This is all documented.
“What the more conservative population in the US, who believe in traditional values, haven’t understood up to this point is that you have to do the hard work at the grassroots level…The top-down approach doesn’t work…
“The fact that the young population has such an ignorance of history that they don’t see socialism as the danger that it really is – that’s a big problem. So, in my book, I go through the Jewish-American experience as well as Israel’s experience.”
Re the former, “In the early part of the 20th century there was tremendous discrimination against Jews in America, but the attitude was not to have days of rage, attacking policemen in the streets and burning government buildings and American flags. The answer was to work hard, to work double shifts, to make sure your children were working at school and being creative and going into fields where Jews were not forbidden… Jews learned how to be creative, and they were very successful, and that comes from our value system of hard work and learning.
“Looking at Israel, looking at the socialism there from 1948 to 1983, that system did not work…. It led to massive inflation, there was one health fund, monopolies… We had the right to vote – democratic socialism – but ultimately, when you give the government too much power, they gradually take away your rights.”
In Israel, ‘We Learn From Our Mistakes’
“But if want to look at how we in Israel approach our national heroes as opposed to in America – where they’re tearing down monuments, rioting, taking down monuments to American heroes because of some mistakes that they made in the past… Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, all these great American heroes who showed tremendous self-sacrifice for their country, because they may have had some connection to slavery or anti-Native behavior, and if you look at the actual situation at the time…it’s actually out of context. And the founders were anti-slavery, they recognized in the constitution that it was something that would eventually need to be corrected. They understood that.
“So, it’s important for us to understand that in Israel, we also had heroes, like King David and King Solomon, and if you read the bible, you see that we talk about their mistakes very openly. We learn from their mistakes. We talk about their successes, but we also talk about their mistakes. And the more modern heroes as well – David Ben-Gurion, Theodor Herzl, they were heroes, but they also made their mistakes. A lot of people express criticism about them, but we don’t bomb Mt. Herzl cemetery, we don’t have people setting fire to Ben-Gurion International Airport or demanding we change the name. We just don’t have that here.
“So, these are things America can learn from Israel, but they can also learn from our mistakes, like our years of socialism that we have managed to overcome.”
Is it possible that instead of America learning from Israel, Israelis are being influenced by America? Take, for example, groups like b’Tselem?
“It’s not all black and white. The concept of Israelis wanting to be like Americans is something that has existed for decades, but I think that the tide has been shifting…
“Yes, I know the far-Left has become more radical, in Israel as well, but at the same time if you look at the polling…the fact is that approximately 75 percent of Knesset members consider themselves right of center. The majority of the Israeli population in general considers itself to be right of center…
“Traditional marriage in Israel is on the rise, families are having more children… The general population in Israel has moved more to the right and has become more traditional, unlike in the US.
“Israel isn’t going in the same direction as America. It [radical Left] is just very loud and very aggressive.”
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