The Israeli Jewish Congress – a new initiative – will hold its inaugural conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

The project is the brainchild of Vladimir Moshe Sloutsker, a businessman, politician and Jewish community activist from Russia who immigrated to Israel last year.

According to Sloutsker, who served as the chairman of the Russian Jewish Congress and the deputy chairman of the European Jewish Congress, one of the main goals of the new group is to strengthen ties between Israel and the Diaspora, particularly in Europe.

Earlier this year he told The Jerusalem Post that the European community “is thirsty for Israeli contact” which, he said, it currently lacks.

Some existing Jewish groups have nevertheless expressed reservations about the need for another organization such as the IJC.

Among other issues the IJC seeks to address is Holocaust denial in Europe, the advancement of solidarity between Diaspora Jews and Israel and the “strengthening of Israel’s Jewish and democratic foundations.”

The conference will be held at the David Citadel hotel in Jerusalem and will include various panel discussions on issues facing Israel and the Diaspora.