Israel will only begin investing massively in Diaspora Jewish education - a new initiative announced by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday - in 2010, said Alan Hoffman, director-general of the Jewish Agency Department for Jewish-Zionist Education and one of the senior planners of the initiative. Israel already allocates about $130 million for Diaspora programs, said Hoffman on Tuesday, including birthright israel; Masa, the Chayil program which helps needy Jewish day schools worldwide; the Heftsiba schools in the former Soviet Union and other programs. "I think it's clear from the prime minister's speech" - delivered at the Jewish Agency Board of Governors on Sunday - "that the intention is a very substantial increase" in Israeli government spending, Hoffman said. On Tuesday, a steering committee was established to develop plans and budgets for the new initiative, which would be presented to the government by February 2009. According to Hoffman, the initiative was not started because of Diaspora pressure, but because "the notion of belonging to a Jewish people is a very important anchor for Israelis, who are often not religious." "At this moment, we have 1,500 young Israelis in summer camps in America," he explained. "The camps bring them in because they want their young campers to strengthen their Jewish identity through a connection to Israel. But the Israelis also have an experience that they don't get in Israel of belonging to a Jewish people, to Jewish life." Ideas the committee will examine include a birthright-like program for teachers, a "reverse birthright" for Israeli youth, an on-line Jewish university and Israel cultural centers in cities with large Jewish populations.