Olmert New Diaspora PlanIsraeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert has announced a new plan to bring Israeli and Diaspora Jewish communities closer together. The plan, announced at a special meeting held in the P.M.’s office last Wednesday, involved the establishment of a special tack force to devote itself to helping to bridge the present gap between Jewish communities in the Diaspora, especially in America, and Jews living in Israel. Recent findings that young Jews living abroad are becoming alienated from their Israeli brethren have become more evident in the decline of Jewish visitors to Israel, as well as the numbers of Jews who come to settle in the Jewish State.

“U.S. Jewry is in a crises due to a decrease in Jewish education and identity which is resulting in increased intermarriage and decreasing support for pro-Israel organizations. This is being especially felt in the decrease of donations on behalf of Israel” said an official in the Prime Ministers Office.

Indeed, young American Jews who are under increasing financial pressures, seem to be more concerned with their own well being now days. American Jews in particular do not like having their religion forced upon them like it is in Israel where national policy dictates nearly everything from education to national holidays. Some progress has been made concerning bringing young American Jews to visit Israel, including the very successful Birthright Program; and immigration programs like Nefesh b’Nefesh are not only bringing North Americans, but British and French Olim as well on assisted settlement programs. But in regards to the sheer numbers of American Jews who still have never even visited Israel, these programs has only scratched the surface of these Diaspora communities.

In order to make these plans work, the task force is planning to stage more joint cultural and education projects between the two communities including the establishment of an on-line “Jewish University” that will give Diaspora students academic credits in Jewish Studies at Israeli universities and other academic institutions. The creation of new Jewish organizations are also planned to go beyond the activities of current ones such as the World Jewish Congress and World Zionist Organization.

“Until now, the Jews in the Diaspora invested in Israel; now it’s time for us to “invest” in assisting Jewish Culture abroad” the official said.