By: Dr. Shlomo Fischer, Dr. John Ruskay
- The government of Israel ought to make a major investment in introducing curricular space in the Israeli public school system for the study of Diaspora history and contemporary Jewish life beyond Israel’s borders. This will require, a concerted effort to mobilize the Israeli educational leadership to allocate “Diaspora studies” time and resources in educational agenda. Such a mobilization will first require a shift in educational priorities and values as well as an investment in curriculum design and professional development for Israeli educators in Israeli public schools. Such a change will require the deployment of substantial political and financial resources.
- Dialogue participants widely agreed that programs and initiatives that bring Israeli and Diaspora Jews together are critical in forging relationships and increasing mutual understanding. While many frameworks exist for such encounters, many are limited to leadership and those most engaged in Jewish life. Thus, it is recommended that the government of Israel provide substantial financial investment along with matching funds from the Diaspora in subsidizing missions from synagogues, Jewish community centers, and campus Hillels in the Diaspora and pair them with Israeli counterpart entities (municipalities, community centers, etc.). Dialogue participants, in multiple ways, expressed the view that substantially increasing the number of such programs would have a positive impact on strengthening Diaspora-Israel relations.Within this framework, we also should consider arranging encounters involving groups that disagree with one another. Such encounters should be carefully planned and prepared. The preparation should include training facilitators and testing various formats.
- To strengthen Jewish education in the Diaspora, a collaborative Israeli/Diaspora planning group should be established by the Prime Minister’s Office and/or the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, the Jewish Agency, JFNA, and leadership representatives from Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia.