Israeli expats are used to be treated as the weaker link, while still enduring constant attempts to persuade them to return to Israel by various means. Now, Israel is changing its attitude towards Israeli communities abroad, with a decision to treat them in the same way it does the Diaspora Jewish communities.
For this purpose, the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora launched a new project dubbed "Connecting" together with the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and US-based organization Jewish Heritage.
The purpose of the project is to deepen the Jewish and Zionist identity among Israelis and their children who live abroad. The project recognizes and respects the decision of the immigrants. Rather than trying to change their minds, it opts to help them strengthen their community and maintain close ties with Israel.
The new project focuses on US communities, where most Israeli expats live. According to estimates, about 750,000 Israeli live in the US, of which 300,000 are in California and 150,000 are in the New York region.
"The Israeli government is responsible for every Jewish community in the world," said Public Diplomacy and Diaspora minister Yuli Edelstein. "It is about time we recognize Israeli immigrants as a Jewish Diaspora, with its own needs".
The project aims to connect the Israeli communities to Israel through cultural activities; establish a stronger community bond among expats; and strengthen their connection to Israel.
The activities will include events and ceremonies surrounding Israeli holidays and remembrance days, youth groups, lectures, Bar-Mitzvah prep, parents' guidance and more. In addition, a designated website and hotline will offer counsel and guidance to Israelis abroad.
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