Racial mixing, or “assimilation” between Jews and non-Jews is a “crisis” which is undermining the link between Diaspora Jews and Israel, that country’s official Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett has said.
According to a report in the Jerusalem-based Times of Israel, Bennett said that “assimilation”—the Jewish code word for mixing with non-Jews—along with“apathy,” was the main reason why there was an “unprecedented crisis” in Israeli-Jewish Diaspora relations.
Speaking during a presentation of his ministry’s activities in the Israeli cabinet, Bennett said that“Israel-Diaspora relations are in an unprecedented crisis.
“We’re often told this is because of the Western Wall and because of the Palestinian issue and because of other ideological disagreements. That’s not true. There’s a dire assimilation crisis and growing apathy among Jews in the Diaspora toward their Judaism and toward Israel. That’s the whole story, and it has reached the scale of a national challenge.”
He then listed the ministry’s programs to address the growing rift, noting, according to his office, increased study about Diaspora communities in the education system and other efforts to raise awareness about Diaspora communities among Israelis, the government’s fundin gfor Birthright Israel, and the “Mosaic United” program for strengthening Jewish identity on campuses, as well as government tracking of anti-Semitism worldwide and aid to affected Jewish communities.
Bennett also said that he was looking for a plan to boost the emigration of Jews from France to Israel.
“There are 200,000 French Jews who want to come here, and the state bureaucracies simply aren’t prepared for it,” he said,adding, “These are ethical people, Zionists, lovers of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, and it is our moral obligation to help them.”
“Two weeks ago I launched an informal education program for French immigrants,” he informed fellow ministers, “but it’s not enough. We need a comprehensive plan led by the government.”
After his presentation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Bennett to team up with the Prime Minister’s Office National Economic Council to draft an umbrella framework for government-wide action focused on increasing aliyah, or Jewish immigration, from France, according to a statement from Bennett’s office.
The program is to be presented to the Ministerial Committee for Absorption and Immigration, which is chaired by Netanyahu, who currently also serves as minister of absorption, and includes Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin,Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, NEC chair Avi Simhon and the prime minister’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz.