Knesset Panel: Increase Focus on Diaspora Jewry

October 21, 2013

Source: The Jerusalem Post


In response to the rising rate of intermarriage in the US, Israeli lawmakers called on the government to pay increased attention to Diaspora Jewry. The call came at a Monday meeting of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs. Representatives of the Jewish Agency, Jewish Federations of North America and the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry testified regarding the decline in Jewish endogamy, while MKs debated the best way for Israel to engage Diaspora Jewry to stem the tide of assimilation.


Earlier this month the Pew Research Center unveiled a massive study on assimilation and intermarriage in the American Jewish community. Among the findings was that one in five Jews identify as having no religion, and that “among Jewish respondents who have gotten married since 2000, nearly six in ten have a non-Jewish spouse.”


Rebecca Caspi, a representative of the JFNA, told MKs that “the Jewish Federations, who represent the largest Jewish community of the Diaspora, are ready to sit at any table and be an active part of any discussion with the government of Israel to explore new programs and avenues of cooperation.”


The meeting was “an extremely positive development,” Caspi subsequently told the Post.

“We had seven Knesset members from a really broad range of parties and a serious representation from other parts of government, from the MFA [Foreign Ministry], the director-general of [the] Diaspora Affairs [Ministry] and leading thinkers and policy-makers from a very broad range of organizations,” she said.


“I really felt a significant ramping up of the attention and depth of thinking that the government is doing now on partnering with Diaspora Jewry in a very new way, and I think a lot of that may be the opportunity that this government represents and reflects.”


Read the entire article at the Jerusalem Post.

Updated: Oct. 30, 2013