Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bibi – this is how we will stop the assimilation!

The issue of assimilation and a statements made by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) that North American Jews believe Israel does not reflect their core values is a great concern to me and should be to every Jew. In my opinion, the Reform of Judaism Movement is stripping Judaism down, so there is nothing Jewish left but behavior. Another opinion of mine, which I expressed time and time again, is that we MUST keep Israel strong, because there is no guarantee for the safely of a Jew anywhere, including Israel, but if God forbid there is any new Haman, or Hitler, somewhere, Jews can defend themselves in Israel and if things become uncomfortable and unsafe in any country, as it is in France and other parts of Europe today, a Jew always has a home in Israel to go to.

I picked up the article below, its origin is Makor Rishon (meaning, First Source) newspaper in Israel through the printed edition of Shavua Israeli (, which I found to be a very responsible move on the part of the Netanyahu government. I translated it from Hebrew so I can share it with all of you. (I could not find the link to the Hebrew article- it is not on line). ~~NuritG

I think it is a major error to think our future is to go to Israel. Geographic dispersion is a survival mechanism that has stood us, Jews, well for over 2,000 years. What is needed to offset the assimilation is a system for Jewish education that is affordable by working class parents. I can see the difference between the way I raised my children and the way my Chabad Rabbi is raising his children. Mine had a Jewish education tacked on to a secular one and the Jewish education was deficient in every way. There was no pride in being a Jew and there was no real effort to teach fundamental Jewish ethics and Torah.
Concentrating ALL Jews in Israel at a time when the world is so hostile to us, is a risk we MUST NOT TAKE. That is not to say that we should not encourage immigration to Israel. We should, but we should also deal with the assimilation problem in our respective nations of residence, and that is to a very large degree an education issue.
Good Shabbos,
Israel – USA 2013
Bibi – this is how we will stop the assimilation!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to turn around Israel – world Jewish Diaspora relations. Based on central committee work, prepared in several government offices, and according to his own life view, the PM's intentions are that in the next five years the government will allocate 2.5 billion Shekel to build culture centers in the Diaspora, train teachers to teach Hebrew and establish 'Tikun Olam' (repairing the world) project in the USA and other countries.

Tzvi Hauser, the Government Secretary: "All Jews must immigrate to Israel, but until they all arrive to Israel we must guarantee the survival and longevity of the Jewish nation."
The Director of Absorption Ministry attacks: "No budget will stop the assimilation rate; the only way to preserve the Jewish identity is immigration (Aliay) to Israel!"
The leading strategy's essence is: the state of Israel is taking responsibility for the future of the Jewish communities outside Israel.

The revolutionary decision was discussed for months and lately was presented by the Government Secretary, attorney Tzvi Hauser, in the 'Institute For the Planning of the Jewish Nation Policy' closed doors discussion.
Hauser's main message was that "in the first 60 years of the existence of the state of Israel it was clear that the Diaspora Jews will help her. In the next 60 years it will be Israel that will need to help the Diaspora". In words, later described by those who attended the meeting to be "very moving," Hauser explained the difficult times of the Diaspora Jews that, besides the orthodox communities, is growing smaller in a very fast pace. The discussion took place in the frame of "The Future of the Jewish Nation Conference", in which representatives of the government of Israel and representatives of the Diaspora participated.

Hauser opened his speech by saying that, "in 1939 there were more than 16 million Jews in the world, but only 3% of them lived in the Land of Israel. Today, there are 13.5 million Jews and 43% of them live in Israel. Are these statistics not a warning to the continuation of the Jewish nation? Is the next generation of the Jewish communities outside Israel have a chance to survive?  Thereafter Hauser explained that the self determination of Israel as a Jewish state has implications that we cannot ignore. Israel demands that her neighbors see her as the nation state of the Jewish people. This definition means that the Jewish state has the responsibility for the entire Jewish nation and not only for those who are in Zion. The prime minister of Israel sees himself as the leader of the Jewish nation as a whole, and the government of Israel sees itself the government of the Jewish nation as a whole."

"All the Jews must immigrate to Israel", Hauser said, and emphasized that he does not retreat from the basic principles of Zionism. And with that, Hauser stated that, "until all [Jews] arrive to Israel, Israel has to guarantee the continuation and survival of the Jewish nation. The state of Israel has the responsibility to strengthen and encourage the Jewish identity and the mutual understanding between the Jewish communities in the Diaspora and the Jewish state." 

In the meeting participated representatives from world Jewish Jewry, that included the chairmen of the Institute and the America-Jewish diplomats Dennis Ross and Stuart Eizenstat, who remained in Washington due to Storm Sandy and participated via video-conference. 

Hauser explained that the turnaround in the Israel Diaspora relation is not to be take for granted. "If a 30 years old Israeli, who served in the military, asks me why his tax money goes to pay for a visit in Israel of some college student from New Jersey (this refers to the Taglit-Birthright project), his question is justified and relevant. My answer is that for the first sixty years of her existence, to Israel it was clear that the Diaspora Jews will help her. In the next sixty years of Israel, the state must establish a new way of thinking and determine that Israel will be the one to help the Diaspora Jewish communities. In essence, 'all of Israel is responsible for each other.' 

In practicality, Hauser clarified that "one of the next government main challenges will be to regulate the relations between the Diaspora and Israel and to turn them central in Israel's daily agenda. This declaration has very meaningful projections as it will change the basic concepts, the political behavior and budget preference."

According to the government's headquarter work, approved by Netanyahu, the government will grow tenfold its investment in the Jewish Diaspora; today it is approximately 50 million Shekel annually, to 2.5 billion Shekel for the next five years. The plan was written in collaboration with the Institute for the Planning of the Jewish Nation Policy, and it includes steps such as building Israeli culture houses near the Jewish communities worldwide; sending teachers from the Diaspora for a year study in Israel to complete Hebrew studies and learn Israeli culture before returning back to their communities; establishing array of "Tikun Olam" projects in which Israeli and Jewish youths will help, together, in disadvantaged areas. Dr. Dov Miemon, a senior member of the Institute, explained that one of the plan's central goal is to create a real connection between youths living in Israel and those living in the Diaspora. "Today 70 percent of Israel's population are 'Tzabarim' (born in Israel), and they are people who have no roots in the Diaspora. We must work on the connection here and develop and cherish it.  We must develop Jewish inclusive consciousness among the young generation in Israel, who will then see themselves part of the Jewish nation and not only part of those living in Zion." 

To the statements by Hauser and Miemon, Dennis Ross remarked at the conclusion of the conference, that Hauser's words were "very important" and called the government of Israel to create a real partnership with the Diaspora. "Israel finds herself in a very challenging situation since its founding," Ross said. "One of challenges is the delegitimization threat on her right to defend herself and exist. Israel needs partners in her struggle against the de-legitimization, but for the Diaspora to enlist, the government must include it more in the decisions it makes and the policy it leads. The battle against the delegitimization is an important issue, and working for creates the possibility to begin this partnership."
Ross also called to establish a permanent discussion forum of the Jewish Diaspora with the government of Israel representatives, to increase the involvement of the Diaspora in Israel.
Other speakers from the Diaspora emphasized that in general all Israelis are not well informed about Jewish life across the ocean.

Aliza Kushan, from New York, said: "We know so many Israelis who entered a synagogue for the first time in their life only in New York. Everyone jokes about it, but the truth is that Israelis do not know that there is Judaism outside Israel."  Other speakers in the conference emphasized that troubles are forming in Israel that atee similar to the ones the Diaspora communities have due to the financial success. Ofer Bavly from the Jewish Federations said in one of the discussions that "there is a gap between Israel as a startup nation, the way it presents itself to the world, and her ongoing calls for financial help. It is becoming harder and harder to explain this contrast. There must be another story that tells Israel's narrative," Bavly said.

With that, it is important to point out that forming a turnaround in the relations between the Jewish Diaspora and Israel is controversial among some top state officials. One of those opposing the plan is the director general of the Abortion Ministry, Dmitry Apartsev, who thinks that the place of all Jews is in Israel and the state must invest only in bringing them home. "we have to call the things in their name; there is the state of Israel and there is Diaspora. The classic Zionism speaks about Aliya-immigration of Jews to the land of Israel. That is how it was and that is how it needs to be. No budget will stop the pace of assimilation. The only way to preserve the Jewish identity is to immigrate to Israel and in that we must invest our resources," said Apartsev. It needs to be said that other top officials in public service think that Israel does not have to take responsibility for the Jewish Diaspora.

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