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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Certainly it is news when two of the nation’s largest pro-Israel organizations, namely AIPAC and the AJC, come out strongly in agreement about almost any subject.

That the two advocacy organizations reacted to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice to urge the formation of a coalition that would include the Otzma Yehudit Party in Israel has, indeed, made its share of headlines in Israel, the U.S. and around the world.

Otzma Yehudit has historic connection to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Koch Party and has been described in many different ways, all adding up to racist.

All of this comes less than a month away from the March 24-26 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., where Netanyahu is scheduled to speak in person, and then followed by the April 9 election itself in Israel.

While reactions have been either mixed or condemning of the addition of Otzma Yehudit to a possible Likud coalition, at least two Jewish organizations have come out in support of the prime minister and his decisions. They include the National Council of Young Israel and the Zionist Organization of America.

This is not to say that there are many among Orthodox voices who oppose the very presence of Otzma Yehudit as a possible participant in the next Knesset.

It is not the first time there has been controversy or doubt when it comes to coalitions. In the past we have seen outreach and reaction to Israeli-Arab parties who have come with their own negative baggage.

The point is, this is Israel’s election, not ours. It is up to the people who have the privilege of Israeli citizenship to vote, whether they think Otzma Yehudit’s inclusion is a good or a bad idea. Up until last week, pundits were predicting a Netanyahu landslide. Now people don’t seem to be so sure.

Whatever the result, this has to be a decision made by Israelis at the ballot box in April.

The judgment comes from the vote tallies, not from boardrooms in the U.S.

And no matter, Israel’s leadership will do what is best for the Jewish state.