Israel restores dialogue with diaspora after Netanyahu rift, says Shai

The Diaspora Affairs Minister has also established a "special unit for Jewish renewal."

DIASPORA AFFAIRS Minister Nachman Shai arrives at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem with newly sworn-in ministers in June (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
DIASPORA AFFAIRS Minister Nachman Shai arrives at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem with newly sworn-in ministers in June
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai bashed former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming, “We have renewed our dialogue with Diaspora Jews after the rift created by Benjamin Netanyahu, who decided that Evangelicals were more important than Jews.”

In an interview with Yinon Magal and Maariv journalist Ben Caspit on their daily 103 FM radio show, Shai said, “We restored the important, strategic and healthy relationship with the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox streams,” in Diaspora Jewry. “That is an integral part of the strategic value of Israeli-American relations.”

His ministry established a “special unit for Jewish renewal – dozens of organizations that see the Jewish religion from a different point of view,” he said.

The unit is in the process of being finalized.

"We restored the important, strategic and healthy relationship with the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox streams."

Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai

Shai also mentioned a project of Mosaic United, a government and philanthropic-funded company that works with Israelis abroad.

“There are a million [Israeli] Jews abroad,” he said. “Did anyone ever think of creating a plan for them, funded by the State of Israel?”

The project, led by Elad Mayer, works with Israeli expats and Diaspora communities, mainly in Europe.

“Our goal is to strengthen the ties and bridges between us and the Jewish people in the Diaspora,” Shai said. “Making sure that both Israelis and Jews around the world feel like brothers and sisters is no longer a trivial matter.”

Caspit asked Shai, “Were you able to minimize the huge fear and rift that Netanyahu caused directly among the Reform and Conservative – a majority of the huge American Jewish community?” Shai answered, “This was a betrayal of the [liberal] streams.”

Dermer and Netanyahu focused on Evangelicals

In 2021, former ambassador to the US Ron Dermer disclosed the strategy that he and Netanyahu used with progressive Jews in the US.

“Israel should prioritize the passionate and unequivocal support of Evangelical Christians,” Dermer said, “which in his eyes was a lot purer than the connection with US Jews, whom he said were disproportionately among our critics.

“The backbone of Israel’s support in the United States is the Evangelical Christians. It’s true because of numbers and also because of their passionate and unequivocal support for Israel.”