Assimilation Raised as Key Issue in Launching the Jewish People’s Lobby

The issue of Jewish assimilation into the diaspora was raised as a central concern for the Jewish people during the launch of the Knesset lobby for the Jewish people on Monday.

The Minister of Aliyah and Absorption, Pnina Tamano Shatah, President of the World Zionist Organization and Acting President of the Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel, and the deputies drew attention to the problem of intermarriage abroad and insisted that the Jewish leaders of all kinds were responsible for addressing the problem.

The lobby was launched in the Knesset by its heads Likud MK David Bitan, Yesh Atid MK Meirav Ben Ari and Yisrael Beytenu MK Evgeny Sova, and has 64 members, the largest of any Knesset lobby.

Speaking during the opening hearing, Shatah lamented the high assimilation rates in the Jewish diaspora, and what he said was the aging group of people who keep Jewish communities going.

“The association of the younger generation is declining. This is a challenge for the entire Jewish people and not just for the Jewish community in the United States and other countries, ”he said.

Aliyah and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shatah touring the Jewish Agency Global Center in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood (credit: NAGEH MELSAH)

Hagoel noted that the global Jewish people have not yet reached their pre-Holocaust population numbers, and said assimilation was a serious problem.

“Assimilation is eating our people. We need to strengthen the Jewish people, and this is the responsibility of all Jews and, without a doubt, of this Knesset and national institutions, ”Hagoel said.

“Jewish identity, Jewish pride, the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel is all, in my opinion, the balance we need to bring to the affliction of assimilation,” he added.

MK Uriel Busso of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party also referred to the problem of Jewish intermarriage as a key challenge for the Jewish people and insisted that the Jewish people survived their two millennia of experience in exile “because of our insistence on our identity and the need to preserve it through Jewish law. ”

Said Busso: “We need to strengthen the true Jewish identity that will prevent assimilation, according to halacha.”

According to the 2020 Pew Report on US Jews, the rate of intermarriage among all US Jews who were married between 2010 and 2020 is 61%, while among non-Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews. affiliates was even higher, standing at 72%. compared to 98% of Orthodox Jews who said they were married to a Jew.

And only 34% of American Jews said it is very important that their grandchildren are Jewish.

Also speaking at the launch of the lobby was the Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Nachman Shai, who insisted that the old paradigm between Israel and the Diaspora has changed and that the State of Israel must now analyze what it can do for its brothers in all the world.

“The relationship between the seven million Jews in Israel and the eight million in the Diaspora requires a new and revolutionary perspective,” Shai said.

“We need to ask ourselves what we can do for them as a strong and flourishing country,” the minister continued.

Shai also returned to the issue of the Western Wall deal that senior government ministers, including alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Shai himself, promised to implement, saying doing so was an important step in repairing Israel-Diaspora relations. .

“It is our great responsibility, of the State of Israel, to build a framework of relations, warmth and connection of the Jewish people with the State of Israel and its citizens,” said Shai.

“I will not rest and I will not be silent until this happens, this is an essential movement for the Jewish people of the Diaspora and for many Israeli citizens.”

And Knesset Chairman MK Mickey Levy was also present and praised the launch of the lobby.

“There are discussions, sometimes even heated discussions and the Knesset is the place to discuss all of them with respect to reach agreements,” he said.

“The Knesset is the beating heart of Israeli democracy and a source of pride for the Jewish people. As the spokesperson for the Knesset, I welcome every Jewish person to the Knesset and have decided to prioritize strengthening the Knesset’s relationship with the Jewish people around the world, ”Levy added. noting that he is spending time visiting Jewish communities around the world every time he makes official visits abroad.

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