One of Israel’s most persuasive advocates, Dr Einat Wilf, told Jewish News this week that she would be in favour of “a mechanism allowing Diaspora Jews more of a voice” in the future of Israel, writes Jenni Frazer

Dr Wilf, who gave two presentations at the We Believe conference, one on 21st century Zionism and one on Israel as a Jewish state, was a Member of Knesset for the Labour Party until losing her seat two years ago.

Now a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, she travels the world lecturing on Israel’s behalf. “I wouldn’t go so far as allowing people [in the Diaspora] a vote,” she said, “but they should definitely have a voice.”

 Dr Einat Wilf

Dr Einat Wilf

She was responding to a question about the Diaspora’s direction in the wake of the Israeli elections, and statements made in Paris earlier this year by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was the prime minister of all Jewish people.

Earlier, in her presentation, Dr Wilf said the word and the concept of Zionism should be re-embraced, and even suggested that there would come a time when Muslims could call themselves Zionists. 

But the American pollster Frank Luntz, in a barnstorming presentation on “defending Israel – words to use, words to lose”, painted a very different picture.

Addressing a capacity audience packed with students and young adults, he picked his way through the vocabulary of pro and anti-Israel debates.

He warned his audience: “If you get the opening [of your debate or dialogue] right, they’ll listen. If you get your closing comments right, they’ll agree with you.”