Israeli Government Okays Plan to Bolster Diaspora Jewry, but Sparse on Details

July 5, 2020

Source: Times of Israel 


The Israeli government on Sunday approved what it said was the first-ever comprehensive plan geared toward securing the future of Diaspora Jewry, though few details about concrete measures to assist struggling communities outside of Israel were released. 

The outline of the program was presented to the cabinet by Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch, based on the findings of an advisory committee headed by Maxine Fassberg, a South Africa-born former senior Intel executive, and Moscow native Eugene Kandel, a Hebrew University professor and former senior economic adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The committee started its work in early 2019, and was tasked with exploring ways to strengthen Israel-Diaspora ties and to adapt the Zionist project “to changing realities.”

A press release issued by Yankelevitch stressed the need to tighten relations between Israel and the Jewish world but failed to describe what concrete actions would be taken.

The program to be created based on the committee’s recommendation “must focus on strengthening ties with Jewish communities worldwide based on an approach grounded in partnership, investing in formal and informal Jewish education, and reinforcing Jewish identity and the sense of connection to Israel through multiple channels,” it read.

“The framework that was approved today will enable us to formulate a sustainable, long-term strategic program which is not dependent on any particular government,” Yankelevitch said.

The outline approved Sunday is officially called a “Comprehensive Strategic Framework for Ensuring the Continued Existence and Unity of the World Jewish Community.” It lists “taking a whole-of-government approach aimed at enhancing synergy among all the bodies involved in Diaspora affairs, the creation of an integrated global platform, and ensuring an appropriate allocation of resources.”

A statement sent to reporters later on Sunday broadly outlined six areas in which the government intends to increase its activity: Jewish education, activities in Israel, Tikkun Olam (helping the world become a better place), innovation and technology, assessments and measurements, and common destiny.

The initiatives planned under the new outline will be implemented “in full cooperation” with the Foreign Ministry, the Immigration Absorption Ministry, the Jewish Agency and other national institutions, as well as “philanthropists and Jewish communities around the world,” her office said.

Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog praised Yankelovitch for bringing the plan for government approval, predicting that it would lead to a “paradigm shift in Israel-Diaspora relations, and which stretches out a hand [of support] to the Jewish people in times of a difficult crisis.”

Read more at The Times of Israel

Updated: Jul. 12, 2020