Israel-Diaspora Relations

The State of Israel, the Diaspora, and the Nation-State Law

By: Dr. Shlomo Fischer, Dr. John Ruskay

The State of Israel, the Diaspora, and the Nation-State Law

JPPI’s 2021 Jewish World Dialogue sought to aggregate the views of global Jewish leadership on how Sections 6 b and 6 c of Israel’s 2018 Basic Law: “Israel – The Nation-State of the Jewish People” should be actualized. In these two sections (6 b and 6c), Israel assumes responsibility for acting in the Diaspora to “preserve the ties between the State and members of the Jewish People,” and strengthening the “heritage” (read Jewish education) of Diaspora Jews. The Dialogue provided a context for Jewish leadership to express their view(s) on how these commitments should be operationalized. Sixteen Dialogue sessions were convened in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Israel, with a total of 301 participants. (See page 3 for the demographics of those participating). All participants completed a questionnaire (providing a shared database) and took part in a 60–75-minute focus groups.

The recommendations that emerged (discussed in greater detail on pages 17-18) can be summarized as follows:

  1. Broad agreement that if the objective is to strengthen relations between Israeli and Diaspora Jews, the Government of Israel should significantly invest in developing Diaspora Studies for the Israeli public school system.
  2. Opportunities for encounters between Diaspora and Israeli Jews should be scaled up substantially so far greater numbers of them have the chance to meet, interact and learn from and with each other.
  3. 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.