The World Zionist youth movements came out this week claiming that a cut in the money they receive from the Jewish Agency is threatening their very existence, and that as a result “hundreds of thousands of Jewish youth will lose their only significant link to the State of Israel and to their Jewish identity.”
The recession has hit hard in the movement world, and it has been suggested that this will directly lead to a fall in numbers making aliyah. However, a closer look seems to show that the problem lies deeper.
There is no doubt that in order to run a movement you need a good amount of money, and that Diaspora movements in particular rely hugely on the Jewish Agency for funding, but what is really inhibiting the movements in the 21st century is not a deficit of dollars, but of ideas.
… The complaints over their financial treatment are therefore a rather fitting demonstration of what is wrong with the movements. Desperate for money they seek to bring in numbers and thus ignore their ideology. Apathy can reign, as long as it reigns over more people seems to be the thinking.
The connection to Israel from Diaspora movements is fading, and the way to bring it back is not through wildly giving out more money, but by helping these movements rediscover some purpose, either by returning to old values or adopting new ones.