World Jewish solidarity isn't a meaningless slogan - we truly care

Our concern and love for every Jew, wherever they may be, is an unconditional love independent of anything else.

ISRAEL IS working in solidarity with Jewish communities around the world. (photo credit: REUTERS)
ISRAEL IS working in solidarity with Jewish communities around the world.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
‘All of Israel is responsible for one another” is not just an empty slogan; it is a basic Jewish value that expresses the very essence of Jewish solidarity around the world. It relates to each and every Jewish person, in any given place and time, as family, creating together a mutually experienced global Jewish solidarity.
The coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a difficult chapter in our history, but more importantly, it is a challenge. It is a moment of truth, vigorously testing the Jewish world’s solidarity. We are all in the same boat, weathering the storm together and in need of aid and assistance. Truly now our solidarity is facing an important test.
The State of Israel is not just the country with largest population of Jews in the world today, but also the physical and spiritual center of the Jewish people. This fact is not an unimportant detail, but carries with it enormous weight and great responsibility, placing on us an obligation to continue the struggle for the Jewish people’s survival and future, both physical and spiritual.
This is not a privilege, but a commitment that underpins our existence. Our concern and love for every Jew, wherever they may be, is an unconditional love independent of anything else – money, political support, or even a commitment to immigrate to Israel.
On a personal note, I have always felt a strong link to our commitment to the Jewish Diaspora. It began when I was still a child, when my parents took the step of working as emissaries to the Jewish communities of what was then the Soviet Union. During this period we met Jews, many of whom were outwardly different from us but were in fact very similar in so many ways.
These encounters instilled in me, even then, a personal commitment to become acquainted with and to cherish the Jewish world outside of Israel; a commitment that I was able at various stages of my life to step up to and to which now I have the opportunity to serve through my appointment as minister of Diaspora affairs.
I begin my tenure with a wish to listen and with a sense of humility. While the State of Israel may have the largest Jewish community in the world, it still recognizes that it has much to learn from the Jewish Diaspora, including its sense of community, the struggle to preserve Jewish identity – often in an unsupportive environment – and above all, the sentiment that every Jew is family.
It is very important for me to strengthen and sharpen our message, both here in Israel and worldwide, that we are all one family, and that we have far more in common than that which divides us. And like many families, even when we argue or have a difference of opinion, we must conduct ourselves as brothers and sisters and not as rivals.
Currently I, together with my team, am working in full cooperation with other bodies to create a program of worldwide solidarity that will serve to strengthen the sense of mutual Jewish cohesion, a step on the way to our goal of creating an active, strong and significant world Jewish solidarity. The campaign’s primary aim is to convey the message: “We care!”
The timing of the start of my tenure as minister of Diaspora affairs is a perfect opportunity to realize this solidarity. Many Jewish communities around the world have experienced illness and terrible loss due to the coronavirus that has affected the wider society, including community leaders and rabbis among the many unfortunate victims, alongside the financial – and even existential – crisis, in the fullest and harshest meaning of the word.
In this difficult hour, my heart goes out to those families who have lost loved ones, and to the Jewish communities that continue to struggle heroically with this crisis.
Both the Israeli government and the State of Israel share that pain on a personal, family and community level together and alongside world Jewry. While here in Israel we are also experiencing a difficult period and a tough economic situation, this is an opportunity for us to prove our unconditional love. Precisely now our commitment to stand alongside our brothers and sisters is greater than ever – not just in times of shared joy, but even more so in times of crisis. We are also preparing an active assistance program to help communities and institutions.
We will stand together in this crisis, and with the help of God, we will emerge from it strengthened and united.
The writer is Israel’s minister of Diaspora affairs.