Unconditional love for Israel

Once again, Bay Area Jews are anxiously wondering what the future holds for the Jewish state.

With Foreign Minister David Levy's resignation, the Likud-led government's survival is again uncertain. The peace process is certainly not progressing. And the brouhaha over religious pluralism continues to bend everyone out of shape.

So Bay Area Jews, like most of their counterparts in the diaspora, sit and worry.

They worry regardless of their politics — right, left or somewhere in between. They worry regardless of their religious observance — Orthodox or, like most here, less traditional.

So what holds us together? It's supposed to be love and steadfast support for Israel.

Over the past month in particular, that common bond among Bay Area Jews has been tested.

Alan Rothenberg, the president of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, sent out a letter to top donors specifying that donated dollars don't directly fund Israel's government.

He was reacting to interactions with numerous federation donors who have questioned the actions of the current government. By emphasizing that federation dollars help the people of Israel, not a particular government, Rothenberg hoped to quell concerns.

However, a group of Holocaust survivors shuddered when they read his words. They saw his distinction between Israel's government and its people as a slap in the face.

Oddly enough, both sides believed they had Israel's interests in mind.

Rothenberg wanted to make sure donations didn't drop off. The survivors wanted to make sure no federation leader was harming a country created after millions of Jews were murdered because they had nowhere to go.

The incident is a reminder that regardless of Israel's government or of our personal politics, we must find ways to show our unconditional love for the state of Israel and respect for our fellow Jews.