More than 30 Jewish thinkers and leaders launch blueprint for Israeli-diaspora relations

Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and the Israeli president are involved in 'generation-defining event'


More than 30 leading Jewish thinkers and activists are convening in Jerusalem to launch a bid to "strengthen Israel-diaspora relations" that organisers hope could be a "generation-defining event".

Our Common Destiny, a joint initiative between the State of Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Group, was created to "strengthen the bonds among Jews worldwide" at a time of strained relations between the diaspora and the Jewish state.

Last year, Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog told the JC there was "massive political tension" between Israel and American Jews who disliked both Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He also noted there was "massive gap" between diaspora Jews and Israelis, who he said "don’t have to necessarily be religious to feel Jewish".

At the meeting, the group, which includes former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, will present the initial draft of the "Declaration of Our Common Destiny" to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

The president is due to encourage Jews across the world to "engage in a year-long discussion and debate of its contents and purpose" and thereby "outline the shared values and principles by which world Jewry will treat, support and engage one another".

Genesis President and chief executive Ilia Salita said: “We are inviting Jews living in Israel and elsewhere to join in the crafting and completion of a document as ambitious as the Declaration of Our Common Destiny because we believe doing so has the potential to excite and engage Jews of all backgrounds and worldviews.

"We know the initial draft of the declaration will be vastly improved by the input it receives from the world Jewish community. This is Jewish crowdsourcing on a whole new level.”

The "thought leaders" taking part include Lord Jacob Rothschild, Bat Galim Sha’ar, Judith Tanenbaum, former IDF general Amos Yadlin, Rabbi Pinchas Goldshmidt, Rabbi Silvina Chemen, Rabbi Yaacov Meidan, Éliette Abécassis, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Professor Jonathan Sarna, and Rabbi Sharon Brous.

“The Declaration of Our Common Destiny has the potential to become a generation-defining event in modern Judaism that can strengthen Israel-Diaspora relations and world Jewry as a whole,” said Sanford R. Cardin, chair of Our Common Destiny’s Advisory Board.

“We envision that this declaration will help shape how future generations of Jews, within Israel and worldwide, learn to listen to each other and work together to ensure a bright future for our people and the world at large.”

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