'Solidarity cannot be confined to the symbolic'

President Rivlin calls on rabbinic leadership  in Diaspora to participate in strategic dialogue about future of Jewish people.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

President Reuven Rivlin
President Reuven Rivlin
Eliran Aharon

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the opening session of the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) conference, at an event held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.

"My thanks to the Jewish People Policy Institute for the effort you are devoting to the preservation, to fostering, and prosperity of the Jewish people," Rivlin said. "I thank you for your efforts to delineate precisely and professionally the challenges facing the Jewish people. I also thank you for the new horizons you are opening through your esteemed work.

"Many of our brothers and sisters, the children of the Jewish people, believed that the optimal Jewish existence is a Jewish existence in a diversified environment, especially in Western society.

"US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter expressed this well when he wrote in one of his judgments: 'One who belongs to the most vilified and persecuted minority in history is not likely to be insensible to the freedoms guaranteed.'

"The current period is a challenging period for Israel and the Diaspora. Diaspora Jewry today fears that the attitude of various forces towards Jews will worsen - for example, as a result of the State of Israel’s actions at this very moment.

"From the other direction, fear is growing in Israel that the delicate balance between a particular identity and a cosmopolitan identity is being upset among many Jews in the Diaspora. On the one hand, the cosmopolitan inclination is growing stronger among the followers of liberalism, causing the younger generation to become more distant from identifying with their Judaism, and in any case from the State of Israel.

"On the other hand, the proportion of the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox groups among the young generation is growing. 64% of the Jewish children under 18 in New York are growing up in Orthodox families. This group is closely connected to Judaism and maintains a close affiliation with Israel.

"At the same time, its influence is small in life outside of the community’s borders. There is therefore concern about the willingness of this group to assume positions of leadership in the name of the Jewish community as a whole, and certainly in the name of the State of Israel.

"This is, of course, my opportunity to call on the rabbinical leadership, whose concern for the Jewish people’s future cannot be doubted, to actively participate in the strategic and so essential dialogue about the Jewish people’s future.

"All members of the Jewish family – both in Israel and in the Diaspora – must come to realize that family solidarity cannot be confined to the symbolic realm. We all have a heightened degree of responsibility towards our brothers and sisters overseas. We must understand how we can fulfill our brotherhood and our responsibility.

"For many years, our recognition of the other side was based on impressions, images and imagination. We must put an end to this. We must begin to establish the relations between the Diaspora and Israel on a profound recognition of Jewish life in each of their centers.

"We must develop and promote initiatives that facilitate significant exposure of Jews on both sides to the circumstances of the other’s lives. If we succeed in formulating a covenant based on these principles, we will have made a genuine contribution to the Jewish people’s future in both Israel and the Diaspora."