One of the things I stress on this blog is the dissimilarity of America and Israel. This is part of my goal in persuading Americans that our country and Israel are not identical twins with identical goals but two countries as distinct as any other international pair. It is extremely dangerous to the interests of America to say that there is no "daylight" between the U.S. and any other country in the world, including Israel.
It's necessary to stress this because the Israel lobby would love to convince Americans that the two countries have quite similar foundations and national life, making it easy for Israel to relieve us of billions of dollars every year.
It's a false pairing. America is an all-inclusive state that accepts citizens regardless of their ethnic background. Freedom and justice for all is only true in Israel for Jews who qualify for citizenship, not all Jews who think of themselves as Jews.
To become Israeli, you must be a Jew in the strict definition of the term as decided by Jewish clerics. Those who practice a strict version of Judaism are given authority to pronounce on personal life in the state of Israel that we would never accept in America, where state and religion are kept separate by law. These orthodox Jews are exempt from military service as well, no small thing in a militaristic country.
If you are an avid reader, as I am, the next time you are in a bookstore look for a copy of Israeli Professor Shlomo Sand's book, The Invention of the Jewish People. Get a cup of coffee, have a seat and read the first 14 pages of the book - the introduction. In the few minutes during which your coffee will not have time to cool, you will see the contradictions involved in Israel's policy on citizenship drawn from personal experience. It's a shameful policy that would delight segregationists in American or South African history.
If you get the chance to do the reading, keep it in mind the next time you hear an American politician proclaiming how the U.S. and Israel are virtually joined at the hip as societies.