Israel strengthening Diaspora ties

July 23, 2013 by Benjamin Rutland
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The “Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish People” has been launched in the Knesset by the co-Chairmen Dr Nachman Shai and Tzachi Hanegbi with the participation of over 40 Knesset members from across the Israeli political spectrum.

 Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky with the co-Chairmen of  the Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish People, MK Dr Nachman Shai and MK Tzachi Hanegbi at the launch of the lobby (Photo credit: Sasson Tiram)

Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky with the co-Chairmen of the Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish People, MK Dr Nachman Shai and MK Tzachi Hanegbi at the launch of the lobby (Photo credit: Sasson Tiram)

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Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky and the co-Chairmen of the Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish People, MK Dr Nachman Shai and MK Tzachi Hanegbi pose with students from Masa Israel Journey at the launch of the lobby (Photo credit: Sasson Tiram)

In a joint letter to the members of the parliamentary lobby, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of the opposition, Shelly Yachimovich wrote: “It is unusual for the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition to jointly sign a letter to a parliamentary lobby. Our decision to do so relates to the importance of the goal of this lobby – strengthening the Jewish people and the connection between Israel and the Diaspora, developing the Jewish identity of the young generation of Jews and deepening the Jewish tradition. It is for good reason that the lobby includes representatives from all of the Zionist parties. Continued cooperation between the Knesset and The Jewish Agency for Israel will allow for the realization of the lobby’s vision and goals. We two are ready to assist in this goal, wherever possible.”

This is the second Knesset term that the “Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish People” will work in the Knesset to strengthen the connection between the State of Israel and the Jewish World. The Members of Knesset who are members of the lobby will promote issues of common interest to the State of Israel and the Jewish world through advocacy, legislation and by promoting discourse between MK’s and Jewish leaders. The lobby will focus on strengthening the connection between young Jews in the Diaspora and the State of Israel and Jewish world. The lobby will operate in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel which acts as a bridge between the State of Israel and Jewish communities across the globe.

Co-Chairman of the Lobby, MK Dr Nachman Shai said: “The mutual responsibility of the State of Israel and world Jewry for each other is very deep. This connection is strategic, political, economic and Jewish in nature and as a result I am fearful that it could weaken. We must invest in future generations, in the young, and in those without a connection to Israel and to build with and through them a new relationship which is based on mutual concern. Members of the Knesset, the government and the citizens of Israel must support the Jewish world and Jewish communities. We must learn their needs and ask not what they can do for us, but what we can do for them. We need to find a new approach to this special and critical relationship.”

Co-Chairman of the Lobby, MK Tzachi Hanegbi said: “Don’t ask what world Jewry can do for us. Ask what we can do for world Jewry: To help Jews maintain their Jewish identity; to strengthen their connection to Israel; to deepen their Jewish education; and to increase their desire to build a life here in the homeland of the Jewish people.”

Minister of the Economy and Diaspora Affairs, MK Naftali Bennett said: “The role of the state of Israel in relation to Jews in the Diaspora is changing and the responsibility is shifting towards to us. The Prime Minister of Israel is the leader of the citizens of Israel as well as world Jewry. We have a responsibility to world Jewry and as a result the state must provide budgets for programming to maintain the connection between the State of Israel and world Jewry.”

Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky said: “Since the beginning of the year we have seen a significant rise of 40% in Aliyah from France and we expect that the trend will continue. The central reason for this trend is not the security of the community or the state of the French economy, but rather the strong connection between French Jewry and the State of Israel. This is reflected in the visits of high schools students in Israel and the thousands of young French Jews participating in educational program such as Masa Israel Journey.” Sharansky noted that the Jewish Agency is continuing to develop programs to strengthen the connection between Israel and world Jewry and to bring young Jews from around the world for educational experiences in Israel. Sharansky added that he hoped that the Members of Knesset would support the government’s decision to invest in strengthening the Jewish world.

The launch took place in the presence of the Speaker of the Knesset, MK Yuli Edelstein, Minister of the Economy and the Diaspora Affairs, MK Naftali Bennett, Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, co-Chairmen of the lobby, MK Tzachi Hanegbi and MK Dr Nachman Shai, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zeev Elkin, Chairman of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, Yoel Rozbozov, ministers, MK’s and Jewish leaders.

Comments

One Response to “Israel strengthening Diaspora ties”
  1. Halina says:

    This is most important for Jewish youth to be proud of Israeli achievements and know and love their country. Any Jew should be a citizen of the country of his residency (legally) as well as of Israel his/hers emotional and traditional connection. This must be terrible to be a Jew and have no basic knowledge of where his/hers roots are from. Religion is one thing, but belonging to ones ‘tribe’ is equally important for the good balance. The pride of ones origins is the basic need of the thinking person.

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