Israel Government, Global Jewish Leadership Meet in Jerusalem; Joint Youth Engagement Plan to Be Presented in 2014
by Joshua Levitt
An unprecedented meeting of 120 Jewish leaders and senior Israeli government officials concluded on Thursday in Jerusalem to develop a strategy to better engage youth with Judaism and Israel that will be presented in 2014.
The meeting was organized by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel; both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky addressed the summit on Thursday.
In addition to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Culture and Sport participated in the confab, along with representatives of Jewish communities, organizations, foundations, academics, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, both men and women, young people and veteran leaders from around the world.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We are charged with the task of securing the Jewish future, which to me means securing the Jewish state for the Jewish people, all the Jewish people. We are a link in a chain of generations of Jews. We are going for a partnership to strengthen Jewish identity by bringing young Jews to Israel. Kol yisra’el arevim zeh la-zeh – all Jews are responsible for one another. We have to secure a common future for the Jewish people.”
Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said: “What was unique in this process is that this time it was done together with the government. This seminar could not take place if it did not have the leadership of the Prime Minister. The government is not only acting on behalf of the Jewish people, but in partnership with the Jewish people.”
The summit featured a strategic dialogue between the government and world Jewry to formulate a joint policy aimed at strengthening the Jewish identity of the younger generation and deepening the connection between world Jewry and Israel, a government statement said.
The Government of Israel spends NIS 450 million ($127 million) annually on programs aimed at strengthening ties with the Jewish diaspora. The majority of that funding goes to Taglit-Birthright Israel and Masa Israel Journey, a cooperative venture between the government and The Jewish Agency.