MKs: 150,000 Jews Assimilate Each Year
The Knesset Aliyah and Absorption Committee on Monday conducted a discussion on activities by the World Zionist Organization to prevent assimilation – and how more activity was needed to ensure that Jews remain affiliated with the Jewish people.
MK Danny Danon, chairman of the committee, said that “150,000 Jews assimilate every year and are lost to the Jewish people. This committee is committed to Zionist activity on behalf of the Jewish people and I call on government offices to use the services of the WZO, especially advancing the work of the WZO on Hebrew ulpanim for adults. The committee also urges ministries to fund all groups that sponsor and promote aliyah.”
Avraham Duvdevani, chairman of the World Zionist Federation, said that “the Federation has taken upon itself to promote aliyah, education for Zionism, and settlement within the 1948 armistice lines (the “green line”). There can be no Zionism without aliyah, and we thus work to aid aliyah from around the world and encouraging use of Hebrew in the diaspora, based on the belief that learning Hebrew encourages identification with Zionism and Judaism.”
National Union Chairman MK Ya'akov Katz (Ketzaleh) said at the meeting that each day, the Jewish people lose between 350 and 500 individuals. “We have had enough of the mediocrity of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Federation,” he said. “The Prime Minister must make recruiting Jews to return to Israel a priority. We need $5 billion to fund an effort where representatives will go from community to community and bring Jews home.”
MK Marina Solodkin (Kadima) said that “tens of thousands of elderly immigrants to Israel, many from the former Soviet Union, want to learn Hebrew and have no place to study. They need to be taken care of,” she said.
The chairman of the Jewish Agency, George Schwartz, said at the meeting that “we are increasing our efforts to encourage aliyah from the West. We are training all Jewish Agency representatives, including those involved in education, to encourage aliyah. If at once there were dozens of people in the Jewish Agency working to encourage aliyah, today there are hundreds.”