Who Needs the Jewish Agency? Who Needs the World Zionist Movement?
by Gad Nahshon
In Israel, no one really cares about the "Diaspora File" (Hebrew: "Tputsot"). Recently, the trustees of the Jewish Agency came to Israel for discussions. The executive board of the world Zionist movement came to Israel for discussions. And, unbelievably, as the General Assembly of the council of Jewish Federation took place in Jerusalem from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19, 1998, no one in Israel cared!
The Israeli media does not cover the Diaspora's issues. In the official media (Ch. 1), no one will dare to introduce a program which covers the Diaspora's affairs. Israel recognizes only Olim or potential Olim. This Israeli apathy, ignorance, and omissions, is a terrible myopic approach to the Diaspora, but no one really cares. Well I would not be original in estimating the set of relations between Israelis and Jews as anachronical. We certainly need a sharp reshuffle of our Israel-Diaspora establishment. In the meantime, I'll just hereby introduce some of the "new" ideas that were distributed in Jerusalem. In "Kol Hatenua" (English: "the voice of the movement"). Ehud Barak, the leader, said: "the issue of the next generation from an educational point of view is like a war. There is anarchy in the field. Every child is like a battle and the future is like a huge campaign." And Yechiel Leket said that the button of his movement, the labor-Zionist one, should be religious pluralism. The chairman of the World Labor Zionist movement, Aharon Yedlin, used to be a great leader and Education Minister, but it is time for him to retire to his Kibbutz, with all due respect. Other parties in Israel do not care about Diaspora and do not have even councils of activists who are willing to learn about Diaspora's affairs in a systematic professional manner.
The Likud has a body called the "World Likud" but recently it does not function properly. So life goes on. The status of Israel and Zionism has suffered from a process of erosion. Israel's prestige and effectiveness is shrinking. Indeed, let me hereby introduce some "fresh ideas" from Jerusalem.
First, a proposal by The World Confederation of United Zionists. The Zionist Vision: The Next 50 Years As we move into the next 50 years of Israel's life, Zionism must once again rise to meet the challenges faced by the Jewish State and the Jewish people. Where Zionists once worked to create the state and then build it up, today's Zionists must work to integrate it. As the hub of a wheel is connected to all of its spokes, which, in turn are connected by an outer rim, so, too, Israel must be connected to Diaspora communities, which will themselves be linked by their shared Jewish identity. As the central hub of this relationship, Israel is the key to the unity of the Jewish people, its tradition and its future, just as the hub of a wheel holds together its construction but also allows it to move. Within this relationship, Zionism is the glue that holds together each Diaspora spoke to both Israel, the hub, and Jewish identity, the encompassing outer rim.
Objectives of the Future Zionism
These overriding goals of Zionism's future can be manifested through a variety of expressions:
Fostering aliyah as the highest expressions of Zionism
Fostering Jewish and Zionist education in Israel and the Diaspora
Enhancing Jewish unity between Israel and the Diaspora, with the Jewish State serving as the center of Jewish identity.
Assuring the centrality of Israel in Jewish life.
Strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora through Hebrew education as the Jewish national language, both in Israel as well as in the Diaspora.
Providing and sponsoring a sustained impetus for Jewish youth around the world to participate in programs that provide an experience in Israel
Cultivating an open and pluralistic view of Zionism.
Creating an active Zionist leadership for the present and for the future, especially through Jewish youth
Ensuring the protection and defense of Jewish rights and the Jewish people wherever they live.
Promoting and advancing Israel's status and position among the community of nations.
Resolution No. 4
The Zionist General Council urges that money from Holocaust victims or found in banks and insurance companies around the world will be allocated to supporting the financing of higher education for Jewish students from the Diaspora and Israel, in Israel, and strengthening Holocaust studies.
Thus the moral obligation for the continuity and future of the Jewish People will be fulfilled. The Zionist Executive must conduct discussions with factors in the Jewish world dealing with this issue.
Resolution No. 32
Promotion of Aliyah from the West - The Zionist General Council views aliyah as the fulfillment of the highest Zionist goal for generations and calls upon the leaders of the Movement abroad to set a personal example and come on aliyah.
The Zionist General Council views with great concern the emigration of Jews from countries of economic distress to other Diaspora countries and calls for the establishment of a special emergency mechanism to deal with these communities.
The Zionist General Council calls for the allocation of special resources for the aliyah and absorption in Israel of South African Jews, who are leaving their country of current residence in large numbers but are mostly preferring to emigrate to other Diaspora communities.
The Zionist Movement must not miss this opportunity to bring them to Israel.
The Zionist Hagshama
The Zionist Hagshama youth movements are the spearhead of the Zionist Movement. They are the basic component of building young Zionist leadership in the Jewish communities in the Diaspora and are the reserve for aliyah to Israel, while educating towards hagshama.
The Zionist General Council demands to uphold the resolutions of the 33rd Zionist Congress, establishing the importance of the youth movements for hagshama.
The Zionist General Council demands that the budgets of the youth movements will not be cut but will be increased, in order to fulfill the objectives and tasks laid on the youth movements. All of these ideas were discussed by the Zionist council in Jerusalem. Many Zionist leaders came to Jerusalem from all over the world. Perhaps they are the "last of the Mohicans" of the old Zionist movement.
Return to News ArchivesBack to Top