Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), who serves as both the Minister of Education and Minister of the Diaspora, unveiled plans for a program to strengthen Jewish identity across the Diaspora and foster closer ties between Jews overseas and the State of Israel.
Bennett unveiled the program during a meeting of the Aliyah, Absorption, and Diaspora Committee in the Knesset on Monday.
The new initiative, which is being promoted jointly by the Education and Diaspora ministries, will fund Jewish studies programs, Hebrew ulpans, and classes in Israel studies for school aged children around the globe.
During his address, the Education Minister said the plan was to begin with a pilot program, focusing on dozens of elementary and high schools in Latin America and Europe, as well as the establishment of a planning committee to establish criteria for school programs train teachers, and assist administrators in Jewish schools.
The committee will also operate a support network to connect educators in the Diaspora with their counterparts in Israel.
The Aliyah, Absorption, and Diaspora Committee Chairman Avraham Negusa (Likud) said that given the great distance from the State of Israel and Jewish identity, greater efforts than ever were needed to bring Diaspora Jews closer to their roots.
Bennett responded saying that “Israel is responsible to protect and strengthen Jewish identity and affinity for Israel among each and every Jew everywhere in the world.”
“Jewish schools [serve] as important community centers, where the next generation is educated and a meeting place where Jewish identity is formed in wider circles. The State of Israel must aid educators to continue and expand educational programs bringing together the many parts of the Jewish people”.