Increasing Jewish Identity a 'Strategic Imperative'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed a number of Jewish leaders from around the globe Monday, praising the Government of Israel-World Jewry Joint Initiative, which is being formulated in partnership with The Jewish Agency, as a means to "ensure our future."
"We have embarked on a great partnership," he said, at a Knesset gala event. "The power of our nation and our people is based on the strength of our Jewish identity. That is what we are working together to give the next generation, to ensure our future. I want to thank you for investing in our common future."
The event was one of many during the Jewish Agency Board of Governors' Conference, a three-day event focusing on joint efforts by the Agency and the Israeli government to strengthen Jewish identity worldwide.
Efforts include the government-sponsored program to increase French Aliyah, projects to fight Israel's delegitimization, and initiatives to combat anti-Semitism.
Knesset Speaker Yoel (Yuli) Edelstein also spoke Monday, urging fellow MKs to include visits to Diaspora communities as part of their mission as representatives of the State of Israel.
"I believe it is the duty of the State of Israel to enrich Jewish identity, both in Israel and abroad," Edelstein said. "This is a strategic imperative, in order to ensure the Jewish people's continuity in Israel and in the Diaspora."
"I encourage Members of Knesset to meet with Jewish communities around the world and look forward to advancing future partnerships and joint ventures with the assistance of The Jewish Agency Board of Governors," he added.
Jewish Agency Executive Director Natan Sharansky added, "this is a fateful time for the Jews of Europe, the Jews of Israel, and world Jewry as a whole. The Jewish Agency is partnering with the Government of Israel in order to ensure that our common future is prosperous and secure."
Israel's security at home
Both Netanyahu and Edelstein also addressed the current security situation in Israel.
"We face many challenges," Netanyahu said. "Our immediate challenge is to bring the three kidnapped teens home safely. Our working assumption is that the boys are alive and we are doing our utmost to bring them home alive."
Edelstein addressed both the kidnapping of three yeshiva students thirteen days ago and Sunday's clashes with Syria.
"I would like to extend my condolences to the family of Mohammed Karkara, the son of an Israel Defense Forces employee, who was killed on the border with Syria yesterday," Edelstein said.
"I would also like to express my appreciation of the IDF soldiers and security personnel who are posted along our borders, protecting the citizens of Israel, while sparing no effort to find any shred of information that might lead to our missing sons," he added. "I would also like to express my high regard for the kidnapped teens' wonderful families, for their strength of spirit and their steadfast support of the government and the soldiers of the IDF."
Operation Brothers' Keeper to find the boys - Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19) - is now well into its twelfth day.