Edelstein calls for Diaspora relations task force

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel’s minister of Diaspora affairs proposed a government-level task force to address a crisis he says is brewing between Israel and the Diaspora over pluralism.

Yuli Edelstein met this week with leaders of Jewish community groups in New York, Washington and Philadelphia.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, he said the issue repeatedly raised was how Israel was dealing with pluralism. Concerns raised included the arrest of members of the Women at the Wall group, which prays at the Western Wall, and the gender segregation of some public buses in the fervently Orthodox sector.

"I promised that on my return that I would raise these issues with the prime minister and the Cabinet secretary, and we would think about the establishment of a team that would be in touch, officially in contact, with the leadership of the different movements and the federations to attempt to assess what can be solved, what can’t, but at least to create a dialogue, because in my opinion, we are speaking two different languages," Edelstein told reporters at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

"The issue is very complicated, but the fact that there is no immediate easy answer does not acquit us of seeking answers and see what we can do and how. The expression was, we love and support Israel, but it’s impossible to expect that we always be at your call without relating to these issues."

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