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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 Solny

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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.

“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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  • Yoel Nitzarim

    This Facebook interaction s a very positive sign of mutual respect that all duly elected and designated government officials should have with the entire Israeli population. Another very positive sign this week emanated from Yuli Edelstein’s comment regarding actions, reactions, and deportment in the Knesset: proper decorum must be demanded of all members of the Knesset, for they modeling respectful, dignified behavior for the citizens of the country, the world audience, and the next generations of Israeli citizens who will eventually govern this country. Here is a third suggestion for consideration as to ow to bridge the communication gap between Israeli Jewry and World Jewry: besides Taglit, which is an incredibly successful program, shlichim need not only to be present as representatives of the Jewish Agency, but also as speakers and, perhaps, coordinators of programs on college campuses for a semester at a time in order to improve academic and collegiate relations between Jews in Israel and Jews in the Diaspora; proud, involved, dedicated Israeli Arabs may also be a very critical edition to the mix insofar as this suggestion may address their concerns regarding their place in Israeli society.