We rarely see people exert so much worry and concern for a country they came from as Jews do about Israel. Even more is the surprising length of time that Jews spent out of Israel (2000 years) and still care very much about what happens there. In America it is normal to see people have pride in their Mexican, Irish or Italian heritage while knowing very little of what goes on in the country of their ancestors and caring very little about American policy towards a place where their parents or grandparents came from, let alone the family that is two Millenia ago. But there are profound differences between Jews and Irish and Israel and Italy that I want to speak about that might make this more understood.
Israel is tiny, so tiny that there are less than six million Jews who live there. Give that it is such a new country means that many of the American Jews who emigrated to America, have close family that emigrated to Israel. Because this happened within the past century, may are still in touch with those relatives. So when something happens there, there is a good likelihood that people here will know the person it happened to over there.
The other reason is that neither Mexico nor Ireland are attacked on a nearly daily basis by terrorist who hate the nature of Mexicans and Ireland for being born Mexican or Irish. Neither of those countries were at a war intent on its annihilation because the inhabitants were Jews, whereas Israel had three. Irish and Italians do not have groups of vehement and genocidal maniacs, some of whom govern entire countries who blame the ills of the world on the ethnicity of a Jewish person and do not advocate destruction of Ireland or Italy. Not only that, but Irish and Italians don’t have those ignorant people advocating their destruction even though they do not live in Ireland or Italy, where as Hamas, Hazbullah, Iran do.
Lastly, this threat is taken seriously because every Jew has someone in their recent past who was killed, because nearly all Jews were killed. The entire population dropped to less than half of entire population in five years.
So the confluence of having family in a place that is being attacked, having been attacked and continuously being attacked means that Jews are very sensitive to politics towards the only country which has never sought to attack them. Furthermore, to understand American mentality towards Israel is like a barometer for Jews about how the United States sees American Jews as a whole. So when American policies put Jews in Israel at peril, it says something to American Jews, that they might be at peril here.
So even though Jews are proud and happy Americans, glad to live here, work here, serve here and pay taxes here, Jews do not have the luxury of taking threats lightly or ignoring maniacal or populist dictators, because it nearly cost them everything before, and cursed are the people who learn nothing from a failure to head an early warning.