Strengthening Jewish-­Israeli Identity Among Children of Israelis Abroad

A new policy paper by The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) urges the Government of Israel to share the cost of Jewish education for the children of Israeli immigrants (Yordim) in the Diaspora. The paper, Helping Yordim Remain Jewish: A new policy for the treatment of Israeli migrants abroad, argues that Israelis residing abroad, especially in North America, can be a strategic asset to Israel, and help facilitate a process of demographic and identity regeneration within Diaspora Jewry as well as serve as a bridgehead between Israel and Jewish communities abroad. The paper addresses Israeli decision makers and leaders of Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

The major recommendations of this new paper include:

  • Israel should give Israeli migrants absentee voting rights for their first four years abroad to strengthen ties with Israel.
  • Israel should finance establishment of kindergartens and schools for children of Israelis in the Diaspora.
  • Israel should finance special study tracks for the children of Israeli migrants studying in Jewish schools.

These recommendations are based on a detailed analysis of the current state of the Israeli migrant community in the Diaspora, which indicates that:

  • Israeli immigrant community could be an asset both to Israel and local Jewish communities.
  • The second-generation Israeli migrant community is exposed to accelerated assimilation processes.
  • Israeli parents abroad face difficulties in instilling “Israeli” identity in the next generation.

The paper’s author, Yogev Karasenty, a JPPI fellow, told eJP, “investing in preserving the Israeli-Jewish identity of children of Israeli emigrants abroad, is in line with the Zionist ethos. Rather, the existence of a strong and integrated Jewish-Israeli Diaspora is a clear Israeli interest. Stronger involvement of migrants from Israel in the Israeli public arena could serve as an effective tool for strengthening their ongoing ties with Israel. “