WASHINGTON (JTA) — Natan Sharansky said Israel must forge better bonds with young Jews around the world by building stronger Jewish identity.
"Today the battle we are facing is a battle for our identity" and "we need one another," said the chairman of the Jewish Agency in a speech Monday to the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly meeting in Washington. "Our aim must be to connect every young Jew with Israel and Israel with every Jewish community in the world."
Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Sharansky noted that some young Jews are torn between universalism and the nationalism of supporting a Jewish state — the same "false choice" that those living under Soviet control faced 20 years ago.
Sharansky said strengthening Jewish identity and "returning to Jewish roots" is the "best answer in the struggle for the freedom of Israel" because it will "empower us to fight for ‘tikkun olam’ [repair of the world] everywhere."