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April 4, 2014 1:12 am

Israeli Economy Minister to Diaspora Jews: ‘We Don’t Need Money Anymore’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday said that Israel no longer looks to Diaspora Jewry as “a wallet” providing money for the Jewish state.

“To be fair, Israel for many, many years viewed the Diaspora and Jews abroad as a source for aliyah and a source for people who could come to Israel and help populate Israel. We also, to be honest, viewed the Jews in the Diaspora as a wallet where we can raise money,” Bennett said in a live video chat with his Facebook followers.

“But we don’t need money anymore. We also realized that not all Jews are going to come and live in Israel so we realize that Diaspora is here to stay.”

Bennett said that Israel’s “new mission” is to straighten the bond between Jews abroad and Jews living in Israel; to rethink the relationship and bring both sides closer together.

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“We need to think of more, new ideas [of] how we can connect,” he said. “We’ve got the money, we’ve got the budgets, we’ve got the objective, but we don’t really know how.”

Wednesday’s live Facebook chat was the first in a series planned by Bennett. He also addressed a number of questions posted on his Facebook wall during the call.

One Facebook user asked how Israel can be prevented from releasing more Palestinian convicts as part of ongoing peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Bennett pledged that he and ministers from his party will work hard to stop the terrorists from being freed. He agreed that releasing the prisoners would be counterproductive.

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