In its meeting this morning, The Israeli Government approved a first-of-its-kind comprehensive strategic framework for ensuring the continued existence and unity of the world Jewish community. The framework was presented for government approval by MK Omer Yankelevich, Minister of Diaspora Affairs, based on the conclusions of the special Public Committee established to examine the future of the Jewish People.
The Committee was appointed a year and a half ago to examine government activities relating to Diaspora Jewry. The Committee’s objectives were to map potential avenues for strengthening the bonds between Israel and Jewish communities globally, and to adapt the Zionist vision of the Israel-Diaspora relationship to today’s realities. The Committee was headed by Ms. Maxine Fassberg, former CEO of Intel Israel and Global Vice President of Intel, and Professor Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central, and former Chair of the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Committee examined activity and developments in the field over recent years. After interviewing key professionals and experts on the subject, the Committee came to the conclusion that Israel must prepare a comprehensive strategic program for ensuring the future of the Jewish People. This program 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. These initiatives are to be implemented in full cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Absorption, the Jewish Agency, national institutions, philanthropists and Jewish communities around the world.
Following the Committee’s Report and under the direction of Minister Yankelevich, professionals at the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs developed an innovative, far-reaching strategic framework of principles. This framework outlines the fields of activity aimed at ensuring Jewish continuity in the Diaspora, which reflect the Committee’s recommendations as well as many other creative ideas. It takes 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.
Yankelevich: “With this plan, we are moving from tactical steps to a global Jewish strategy. Today, the Israeli Government declares that we are one Jewish People, comprised of the 15 million Jews in Israel and around the world.”
Minister Yankelevich: “We stand at a critical historic juncture with regards to the relationship between the State of Israel and the world Jewish community. Now is the time to decide whether we view ourselves only through the prism of the seven million Jews living in the State of Israel, or whether we see ourselves as one Jewish People, comprised of fifteen million Jews around the world. The Government’s decision expresses our acceptance of responsibility for the Jewish People, as envisioned in foundational documents from Israel’s Declaration of Independence to the Nation-State Law. 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.
Minister Yankelevich continued: “The COVID-19 outbreak sharpened the question of Israel’s commitment to Diaspora Jewry: Will the State of Israel unambiguously assume responsibility for the future of the Jewish People and its continued existence?” She added, “Implementing the recommendations of the Fassberg – Kandel Committee will empower us to carry out projects that are strategic and global, which will influence the course of the Jewish People for years to come.”
Professor Kandel: “In order to alter the trends, there is an immediate need for a long-term strategic process backed by resources from the Israeli Government, in partnership with all world Jewish communities. Only thus do we stand a chance of preventing the collapse of many Jewish communities within a single generation, and the severance of ties between many young Jews and their People.”
Ms. Fassberg: “If a large number of Jews anywhere in the world were in physical danger, the State of Israel would not ask why there is a need to act to protect them here and now. Today, large numbers of Jews around the world are in danger of becoming forever disconnected from the Jewish People. Are we going to stand by and ask ourselves, “why now?”
The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs is entrusted with fostering the connection between world Jewry and the State of Israel, through joint activities and ongoing dialogue, since the Israeli government sees itself as being responsible for all Jews worldwide, whether they live in Israel or the Diaspora.