Israel, facing reductions in immigration, must review its ties to the Diaspora, Ehud Olmert said.
“For the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple, a majority of the world’s Jews live in Israel. We must understand that it is possible that the period of massive immigration to Israel is nearing an end,” the Israeli prime minister told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.
“The time has come to reconsider the link between Israel and Jewish communities around the world in keeping with the changing reality,” he said.
Despite vigorous efforts by governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to encourage aliyah, Israel has recently recorded consistent drop-offs in the number of new citizens arriving from abroad.
The phenomenon has come in parallel to trends among some Diaspora communities to play down the imperative of immigration to Israel in favor of cultivating local Jewish life.
Olmert called for crafting a new approach to Israel-Diaspora relations.
“Our main goal is to strengthen Jewish education in Jewish communities, including the study of Hebrew; increase awareness regarding Jewish culture and heritage; instill Jewish values; and deepen the links between world Jewish communities and the State of Israel,” he said.
“We must stop talking in terms of big brother and little brother and instead speak in terms of two brothers marching hand-in-hand and supporting each other so that the Jewish People – both in Israel and around the world – has a better future.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.