Thursday, May 6, 2010

Natan Sharansky and Netanyahu Outline New Jewish Agency Strategy

Yesterday, the Jewish Agency for Israel officially announced its new strategy for recruiting jews to live in Israel, which basically consists of spending more money on PR. The official press release quoted in the Ynet article doesn't say this, of course, but I was at an event sponsored by Masa on Tuesday night, which preceded the official announcement in New York by only a few hours. The Masa event, held in Jerusalem, was designed to strengthen the jewish disaspora's connection with Israel and included speeches by chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Shransky, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Basically, Sharansky said the major question in approving the new strategy was, "Why should Israel have to pay for spoiled American kids to come visit?" I'm paraphrasing, clearly. But thankfully, Sharansky says, Netanyahu approved funding for this purpose.
The plan calls for building Jewish identity of Jews around the world and in Israel by forging a strong connection to Israel, Jewish heritage and people. The plan also introduces recommendations for new initiatives of social activism in Israel, and calls for directly engaging young Israelis on issues of Jewish identity.
I have uploaded Sharansky's speech and included it below, but I have had some internet problems which prevent me from uploading Netanyahu's speech so far. But stay tuned, it's coming.

PS I apologize for the terrible video quality here, I don't know what was up with my camera. Maybe it decided on its own that it would be best for my readers not to see Sharansky's face in focus.

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