The State of Israel should include the voice of Diaspora Jews within the government’s decision-making process, including on security concerns, Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai said Wednesday.
Speaking at an event at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl presenting details of a survey on Jewish peoplehood and Israel-Diaspora relations, he also called for the establishment of a government body to coordinate the state’s activities combating antisemitism abroad.
“Within the decision-making process of the government of Israel, the voice of Diaspora Jews needs to be heard,” Shai said, adding: “In the National Security Council, where the security of the State of Israel is evaluated, there should be someone at the table who says, ‘Let’s think about the impact this has on Jews around the world. There are eight million Jews living around the world. How will our decisions influence them?’”
These considerations should not be “the decisive ones,” but they should be “one of the considerations,” he said.
Shai said the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza, during which antisemitism around the world spiked dramatically, had brought home to him the importance of Israel, bearing in mind how its actions influence Jewish life in the Diaspora.
Regarding antisemitism, he said several ministries and organizations deal with the issue, including the Foreign Ministry, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry and the Jewish Agency, but spreading responsibility for the issue so widely was not effective.
“We need to establish a central body that can integrate all the activities of this field, and we need to give such a body the right resources so that it can act in international frameworks – state to state, state to international organizations, people to people – and carry out a whole realm of activities, which we are far from doing,” Shai said.
“The new world of social-media networks is supporting and increasing antisemitism without a doubt,” he said. “That there is an international anonymous [forum that is] so open, so broad and free, where anyone can say whatever they want without bearing the responsibility for what they are saying, makes it much easier to disseminate.
“We have a responsibility to help the fight against antisemitism, and Israel isn’t fulfilling these responsibilities.”
Shai made his remarks at a conference presenting the findings of a survey commissioned by Enter, Reut, WZO, the Schusterman Foundation, Our Common Destiny and other organizations.