Presentation Topic: A recent Pew survey shows a distinct gap in thinking about Israel
between Israeli and American Jews. While four‐in‐ten Israeli Jews cite economic issues (inequality, rising housing costs, etc.) as the single biggest long‐term problem facing Israel (this number is higher among Arabs), when U.S. Jews were asked the
same question, almost none (1%) mentioned economic problems, and two‐thirds cited various security issues as the biggest long‐term problem facing Israel.
In her presentation, Maya will make the case that if we want to steer Israelis’ vote
toward peace and to an end of the occupation, we must develop sympathy for their
daily reality. We have to understand that the majority of Israelis live substantially
different lives than the average American Jew. They care about the price of milk and
housing because they struggle for subsistence.
She will showcase how the collapse of the Israeli welfare state is the conjoined twin
of the occupation, injecting a social economic understanding of Israel to offer a new
dimension for combatting the occupation. Instead of seeing West Bank settlements as
merely an ideological project fueled by religious Zionism, the state will be revealed
as incentivizing lower class Israelis, who are squeezed by the costs of living inside
Israel, to relocate to the more affordable West Bank. Therefore, ending the
occupation is not simply a matter of values and morality, but a question of
championing alternative economic politics to better feed one’s empty stomach,
provide a decent standard of living, and offer a prosperous future for one’s family.
Maya will present the up‐and‐coming organizations organizing Israelis to bring change
to daily reality and an end to the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict. The Jewish American
community has been largely unaware of these organizations until now.
Maya Haber is the Director of Programming and Strategy of Partners for
Progressive Israel. She was born and raised in Israel. She graduated from Tel Aviv University with a BA in History and Philosophy and went on to graduate school at the University of London and earned a PhD at the University of California Los Angeles. She has written and published on healthcare and social sciences in the post‐WWII Soviet Union. She is a contributor to the Forward, Haaretz, the Post‐Gazette and +972.