“This is a revolution in the State of Israel’s relationship with the Diaspora,” said Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett of the Israeli cabinet’s decision to approve the “Joint Initiative of the Government of Israel and World Jewry” in Jerusalem today.
The initiative, launched by Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, aims to enhance the connection between the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It will see the establishment of a new organization, which will encompass a partnership between the Government of Israel, Jewish foundations and organizations, and private philanthropists from around the world.
One third of its funding will come from the Israeli government, while at least two thirds will come from the organized Jewish world and private philanthropists, according to a Ministry for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs statement.
The organization will have a budget of at least NIS 540 million over the next three years. Starting in 2016, it will have an annual budget of NIS 800 million for Diaspora programming, pending government approval at that time.
“This initiative is a long term investment for Israel and the Jewish people,” said Dvir Kahana, Director General of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs. “With anti-Semitism and assimilation on the rise around the world, we need to take every step we can to ensure Jewish peoplehood for future generations.”
Sigal Samuel is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not writing for the opinion section, she’s hunting down her Indian Jewish family’s kabbalistic secret societies. Her novel “The Mystics of Mile End,” available in Canada and forthcoming in the U.S., tells the story of a dysfunctional family with a dangerous mystical obsession. Her writing has also appeared in The Daily Beast, The Rumpus, BuzzFeed, Tablet and The Walrus, among others. Contact Sigal at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter at @SigalSamuel.