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April 23, 2023 4:12 pm

Israeli President Herzog Calls for ‘Worldwide Jewish Dialogue’ Amid Deteriorating Ties with Diaspora

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Israel’s President Isaac Herzog delivers a speech during a tribute ceremony at the Halle aux Grains in Toulouse, southern France, on March 20, 2022. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

i24 NewsIsraeli President Isaac Herzog on Sunday evening called for a “Worldwide Jewish Dialogue” during a speech to leading global Zionist organizations.

“There is no greater existential threat to our people than the one that comes from within: Our own polarization and alienation from one another,” in the address to The Jewish Agency for Israel, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Federations of North America, and Keren Hayesod.

“The fact is that between our Jewish communities, we are growing more distant from one another. The gaps between us are growing wider. On some of the most essential questions, we are unable to agree. But, more concerning, often, we are unable even to discuss,” Herzog said.

The comments by Herzog come at a time when ties between Jews living in Israel, including the Israeli government, and Jewish people living abroad continue to deteriorate.

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“Israel has not been as accessible as the binding thread that has united our people through the turbulent changes of the last century,” the president remarked.

Herzog’s warning also comes amid the backdrop of fierce political debate in Israel between supporters of the government’s proposed Judicial reforms and the millions of Israelis that have protested across the country over the past few months. The deepening political crisis in Israel has brought Herzog to publicly warn against the potential of political violence and the threat of an Israeli civil-war.

The Israeli president used Sunday night’s speech to announce a joint initiative between Herzog’s office and the World Zionist Organization titled “Kol Ha’am—Voice of the People: The President’s Initiative for Worldwide Jewish Dialogue.”

Herzog says that the initiative will be a “first-of-its-kind global council for Jewish dialogue” which will allow for nonpartisan and apolitical forums to allow for “serious, sensitive and strategic discussions on the most complex and pressing issues facing our people.”

The initiative, which the Israeli leader has nicknamed the “Jewish Davos,” is scheduled to begin worldwide consultations with Jewish groups over the next few months to develop the program’s vision. Herzog says he hopes the initiative will help prepare and cultivate the next generation of Jewish leaders.

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