PM’s Diaspora Affairs advisor called Jewish Left a ‘ticking time bomb’

Elgrably-Berzin compares Jews who put universal values first to those who tried to be “good Germans.”

WITH HIS court case looming on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is launching a last-ditch campaign against the levers of civil society, in particular the judiciary, the police and the role of the free press. (photo credit: TAL SHAHAR/REUTERS)
WITH HIS court case looming on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is launching a last-ditch campaign against the levers of civil society, in particular the judiciary, the police and the role of the free press.
(photo credit: TAL SHAHAR/REUTERS)
Gabriella Elgrably-Berzin has been appointed as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new Advisor for Diaspora Affairs, after the position had not been filled for over a year, the Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed.

Elgrably-Berzin has a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard, and is an expert in Arab and Jewish philosophy, having lectured at Hebrew University and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

She does not appear to have any professional experience working with Diaspora Jewry, though the office did not provide her CV when asked. Sources at a number of major Diaspora Jewry organizations said they are not familiar with her, but that they do not expect that to be a problem moving forward.

The new advisor has written opinion articles in Hebrew for various publications, mostly taking the Likud’s stances on political and ideological matters, and writing about the philosophy of Likud ideological forebear Ze’ev Jabotinsky. She’s also written about Moroccan Jewry.

Several of Elgrably-Berzin’s articles are about Diaspora Jewry, though not ones written in recent years.

An article from 2015 in Yisrael Hayom warns that Israel is no longer important to many American Jews and “parts of the Jewish-American Left do not hesitate to cooperate and be funded by anti-Zionists. It’s not an Iranian bomb, but it is a ticking time bomb that hurts Israel, including the Zionist Left.” she called for Israeli Zionist leftists to insist on their Zionism when talking to American Jews on the Left.

In a 2016 Yisrael Hayom article, Elgrably-Berzin said American Jews who put universal values above “mutual responsibility in the ethnic dimension… sometimes turn their backs on” their Jewish identity, and that their efforts to be “‘good Christians’ or ‘good Germans’ fail when antisemitism rises.”

A lack of a connection to Jewish identity or to Israel encourages radical anti-Israel elements, she argued. In that article, she put J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace and BDS in the same category as being “on the axis between extreme Left and anti-Zionist” and “having developed an obsessive empathy for the Palestinian stance and claiming their activities come from a desire to save Israel from itself.”

Netanyahu has said in the past that Israel should not put too much effort in preserving the Jewish identity of non-Orthodox Jews, because their assimilation is inevitable. In 2017, Ariel Kahane reported in Makor Rishon that the prime minister thinks long-term efforts should be focused on increasing support from Orthodox Jews in the US, and that non-Orthodox Jewry there will disappear in another generation or two, because they have a low birthrate and most marry non-Jews.

Former ambassador to the UK Mark Regev returned to the Prime Minister’s Office last week after four years in London. A levelheaded spokesman for Israel who has made countless appearances in the international media, he will be a senior advisor to the prime minister dealing with international communications. He was foreign press advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2007 to 2015 under former prime minister Ehud Olmert as well as Netanyahu.

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