Peres to establish Jewish youth forum

Exclusive: President plans forum for young leaders that will focus on Israel-Diaspora challenges.

peres hannukah candles 248.88 (photo credit: )
peres hannukah candles 248.88
(photo credit: )
President Shimon Peres is looking to establish a forum within Beit Hanassi that will bring together young leaders from throughout the Jewish world to grapple with the questions facing the Jewish people as a whole, The Jerusalem Post has learned. According to presidential adviser Ruth Lande, the forum, expected to take place in February, will be different from the myriad gatherings on Diaspora affairs that the President's Residence has seen over the past four decades in that "it will put the emphasis on connecting to the young generation." Lande spoke to a group of Jewish world researchers and officials at the Israel/Middle East Office of the American Jewish Committee on Thursday night, at an event marking the publication of a volume of research taken from past years' President's Forum on Israel-Diaspora Relations. In response to research that spoke of weakening connections between Israel and the Diaspora presented by the likes of Prof. Sergio DellaPergola, Lande said, "The connection between Israel and the Diaspora is at the top of the president's agenda." A worldwide Jewish youth forum was lacking, believes Lande, who added that "The next generation of Jewish leadership can speak to people who are not connected [to the idea of Jewish peoplehood]. We want to create a forum where the audience will be young and there will be interactive debate with the communities." To that end, early plans for the forum include facilitating Internet-based real-time conversations in which Jews around the world can participate in forum discussions and send questions and comments that will be read in the proceedings. Key to the new framework would be the "integration" of existing groups that deal with the connection to the Diaspora, including the IDF and the Mandel Leadership Institute.