Israeli Disapora Minister Nachman Shai arrived in Basel, Switzerland Sunday for the celebration of 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress.
In his address to the conference, which was attended by hundreds of participants and leaders from around the Jewish world, Shai said that the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora has been reversed, creating a new paradigm.
“Here 125 years ago, Herzl walked the streets of the Basel and formulated his vision. He turned to leaders and influential Jews all over the world to harness support for a task that seemed impossible - establishing a State for the Jewish people.
Without Diaspora Jewry, the State of Israel would probably not have been established.
Today, 125 years after that pivotal congress, the paradigm has changed. The State of Israel is thriving and leading in many fields - and it is now time to ask what Israel can do to secure the destiny of the Jewish people and Jewish resilience around world.”
The Minister called for a new agreement to be signed, defining the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. Instead of the “Ben Gurion-Jacob Blaustein” understanding of a balance between involvement and non-interference, we should encourage more engagement and more involvement.
“It is our duty, as a State and as a government, to find ways to integrate the voices of world Jewry into the decision-making process within the State of Israel. Many of the decisions we make in Jerusalem affect not only the citizens of Israel, but Jewish communities around the world alike.”