Yankelevich with committee heads
Yankelevich with committee headsSpokesperson

At the Knesset meeting today (Sunday), the Israeli government adopted a first-of-its-kind comprehensive plan with the goal of ensuring the future of the Jewish people in the Diaspora.

Diaspora Minister Omer Yankelevich (Blue and White) submitted the outline for the plan in accordance with the findings of a special public committee tasked with examining possibilities for future scenarios of Jewish life in the Diaspora.

The committee, established about a year and a half ago, has examined different ways of strengthening the connection between Israel and Jewish communities around the world, with the goal of adapting the Zionist vision to a new reality. The committee was chaired by Maxine Presberg, former CEO of Intel Israel and Vice President of Intel, alongside Prof. Eugene Kendall, CEO of Startup Nation, and former chairman of the National Council of Economics at the Prime Minister's Office.

The committee examined various developments over the past years, and after hearing from a selection of experts in the field, concluded that the State of Israel should present a comprehensive strategic for securing the future of the Jewish people. According to the committee, this plan should focus on strengthening the relationship with Jewish communities vis-à-vis a collaborative approach, investment in formal and informal education, and strengthening Jewish identity and connection to Israel through different channels. All this should be carried out in full cooperation with the Foreign Ministry of the State of Israel, Absorption Ministry, Jewish Agency, state-run institutions, philanthropic organizations, and Jewish communities worldwide.

Following release of the report and assisted by the Diaspora Minister, experts in the field formulated an extensive strategy, containing key subject areas for ensuring the future of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. The report conveyed the Committee's findings, featuring a wide variety of creative ideas, including systemic thinking that incorporates the entire spectrum of daily life in the Diaspora. The plan calls for the creation of global action platforms, supported by fund-raising campaigns.

The committee recommended that Israel should focus on six specific domains: formal and informal education, trips to Israel, outreach and aid to other nations, innovation and technology, individual and group assessment, as well as advancement of common interests.

Minister Yankelevich said: "We are at a historic juncture when it comes to our connection to Diaspora Jewry. This plan propels us from separate activities to a global strategy. I thank Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Cabinet Ministers for approving this historic decision. The Israeli government declared today that the Jewish People are represented by a 15-million global community—not just the seven million Jews living in Israel. It expressed the willingness to accept responsibility for the entire Jewish community, as required by Israel's Declaration of Independence and National Law. The approved outline allows for the establishment of a stable long-term strategy independent of this or any future government. "

"The coronavirus outbreak raised the onus on the State of Israel to the future of Diaspora Jewry. Implementation of the Presberg-Kendall Commission will enable strategic and global projects to influence the future of our nation for years to come," added Yankelevich.

Prof. Kendall noted, "In order to change direction, it is necessary during a long-term strategic backed up of resources by the Israeli government in collaboration with all communities in the world. Only thus do we stand a chance to halt the collapse of Jewish communities within a generation of today and prevent a large portion of young people from severing ties with their [Judaism.]"

Maxine Presberg added, "If large segments of our nation faced physical annihilation, the State of Israel would not hesitate to stand up for them. [If the situation continues as it has for years], we stand to lose large parts of international Jewry—who will end up being cut off forever from their nation. How can we waver once we're called upon to come to their defense?" she questioned.