'Countries can learn from Israel-Diaspora model'
"It’s high time we share our really precious knowledge in this field," public diplomacy and diaspora affairs minister tells 'Post.'
Global Village 2012 conference in Jerusalem Photo: Scoop 80
Israel can provide a model to other countries when it comes to building a
successful relationship with their diaspora communities, Public Diplomacy and
Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Wednesday.
“I do think
that we have a lot to share, and it’s high time that apart from hi-tech, drip
irrigation, medical and all kinds of other wonderful inventions, we share our
really precious knowledge in this field with other countries around the world,”
he told The Jerusalem Post.
Some 200 representatives from almost 40
countries, including cabinet ministers and heads of organizations, participated
in the first-ever Global Village 2012 conference in Jerusalem last
The three-day Inaugural International Conference on
Diaspora-Homeland Partnerships brought together cabinet ministers, experts and
NGO leaders from the Jewish and other diasporas to examine ways that diaspora
communities could help their countries of ancestry. It focused on efforts to
maximize and sustain the impact of diaspora resources, goodwill and commitment,
and the evolving nature of the diaspora-homeland relationship in philanthropy,
investment, diplomacy and the exchange of knowledge.
“We have wonderful
and interesting know-how in certain fields, such as immigrant absorption, but
also in relations between the motherland and our Diaspora, which we always
considered very Jewish and Zionist and unique,” Edelstein said. “I think it’s
high time that in the modern world, in which hundreds of countries are
interested in these issues, we should start treating it as professional
He noted that there could also be a beneficial
“It’s not just about Israel. It’s also about sharing
the organizational knowledge of Jewish communities in the Diaspora with ethnic
communities in other countries.”
Edelstein said decades of sustained
support from the Jewish Diaspora had been crucial to every facet of Israel’s
development and prosperity. He said other countries could learn from Israel in
two major ways.
“One is the economic aspect. For example, no one ever
managed to organize something similar to the Israel Bonds, and many countries
are interested in this idea of people investing back in their countries, those
that are in good shape and those that are not in good shape.”
way, he explained, “was more focused on how to connect the second and third
generations of the diaspora to their homeland countries, and here programs like
Birthright and Masa were of great interest to the
Edelstein said he thought the conference could develop
into a biannual event.
“We have started a standing committee of different
countries, and I’m talking about all kinds of countries, from Korea, Lesotho and
Jamaica to countries in South America and Europe,” he said. “All of them came
out of this conference with a feeling that Israel is a pioneer in this
The Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry sponsored the
conference, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the Joint Distribution
Committee’s Center for International Migration and Integration.
more countries recognize that the current ‘global village’ has created almost
unlimited opportunities for cooperation with diaspora communities, and that this
is a strategic value of the highest order,” Edelstein concluded. “We found it
appropriate to initiate this conference in Jerusalem in light of the
considerable international interest in the Israeli example as a model.”