Start speaking Diaspora-Ish

The next diaspora minister needs to remember the enormous influence of the Jews around the world, and their great support of Israel in so many fields.

Noy Assraf, | updated: 16:27

OpEds  Noy Assraf
Noy Assraf
Photo: Ilya Melnikov

We are all aware of the increasing dispute between Israel and the Diaspora Jewry, a dispute that worsened appreciably over the past two years with the Kotel crisis, the black list of rabbis, reform conversion and arrests of the New Israel Fund people in Israel’s airport.

There is no doubt that we are in the middle of an important time period, one that will affect how our future relationship with the Diaspora will look. That’s one of the reasons, and maybe the only reason, that minister Miri Regev took back her decision to cancel Israel’s Independence Day torch lighting for Diaspora Jews.

So right before the elections to the Knesset – what are our expectations from the government in this area? 

First of all, talk about it! Whenever there’s a chance, we must bring this subject to Israel’s agenda. Make it part of the news, and the headline of the next paper.

Every year, ministers and MKs fly to the AIPAC conference, where they talk about everything but any message regarding the dispute. Every year they miss the great opportunity to speak with the 6 million Jews who live in the US – which is almost the number of Jews in Israel. They miss the opportunity to try and just start to reduce the damage and fix the situation. But they choose to talk about Israel’s other issues. A waste of time. They could just stay in Israel and save themselves the 12 hour flight.

Over the next few weeks we will be witnessing the process of forming Israel’s new coalition, where one of the biggest decisions will be choosing the Diaspora minister. He is going to deal with an important but complex challenge – reuniting Jewish communities around the world. The next minister needs to remember the enormous influence of the Jews around the world, and their great support of Israel in a variety of fields.

One second before he begins, I would suggest he or she imagine Israel without this support in terms of diplomacy, investments and mainly without a supportive, united Jewish people.

We all know that the real issue is not Hamas or Iran. The real issue is the survival of the Jewish people.