In an address to the Jewish Agency Assembly earlier today, Israel’s Prime Minister ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu spoke of the importance of strengthening our connection and knowledge to our past. The PM continued:
I think we should set very clear goals… The first is that within five years, every young Jew who wants to visit Israel will be able to come to Israel. I think this is something that we should define and stand by, and whereas it looked an impossible, it’s no longer an impossible goal. We can do this.
The second is to bring Jewish educators and community leaders on special training courses to Israel. It’s not sufficient just to have the young people come. It’s important to have their educators come here as well – no less important.
I would like to see every Jew, and maybe this is the most important thing, every Israeli Jew understand and appreciate the connection between Israel and the Diaspora. It’s not just about your connection to us; it’s about our connection to you. And this requires an educational effort inside Israel no less that outside.
Natan, these are not trivial goals. They are essential and they are part of our fabric as a people. It’s not easy; nothing is easy. But I think that it will require a real partnership between us, and if we have that partnership, we’ll succeed. We’ve already shown that. I’m prepared for that partnership and I’m prepared to invest in that partnership.
They always ask prime minister and presidents, they always ask them the question: “Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?” And the answer … yes we are. This is part of a greater challenge. We cannot afford to open up cracks and fissures within our people. We are Jews from six continents and from dozens of countries; we’re Ashkenazim and Sepharadim; we’re secular and religious. It doesn’t matter if you go every week to an Orthodox, Conservative or Reform synagogue…
It doesn’t make any difference whether you go or you don’t go. What makes a difference is that we’re one people and we must remain one people. I want to assure you that I will not permit the interests of the majority of world Jewry to be ignored.