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Edelstein: A time to cut?

Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s minister of diaspora affairs, just opened up a workshop given by the Nadav Fund about the findings of a soon to be released Jewish People Planning Policy Institute.

I’m interested in this panel because it will essentially give Israel’s thoughts on where we are as a Jewish world in the pos-recession world, a view that differs slightly from that in North America.

Edlestein is an interesting character for the federation world, as he played a very public role in placing Natan Sharansky as the head of the Jewish Agency this summer, essentially telling the Jewish Agency through the press that if it did not accept Sharansky, it could lose its exclusive partnership with Israel’s government — exactly the kind of old school political influence the Jewish Agency at the time was very much trying to escape.

Sharansky’s nomination ultimately was pushed through, and we will see how it works out. 

But that also gives an interesting backdrop for Edelstein’s introduction, in which he pressed giving up some of the old in order to push through this tightened economy.

“The headlines and analysis from different newspapers have very practical influence on what a school in a distant Jewish community has to think in temrs of planning the budget form next year.

“Now communities are struggling institutions are struggling,” he said. “We have to really set our priorities and this I guess is a really good time.”

Edelstein said that it might be time to think about cutting back on certain nonessential projects, at least for a year or so until the economy loosens up — that is aside from reaching out to young people.

“The younger generation we cant really neglect for a month. Just a year or two could make all of the negative difference,” he said. “The old code phrases” like the Holocaust and Israel’s wars “are not working so much with the younger generation.

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