Bennett: ‘I’m Minister of the Jews’
On the sidelines of AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC, Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) addressed on Monday what he thought is the greatest challenge for Israel: The future of U.S. Jewry.
Bennett, who also serves as the Minister of Diaspora Affairs, spoke at an event hosted by the Yesha Council at the Sixth & I Synagogue.
“You know what really keeps me up at night more than the future of Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria)? It’s the future of Jews in the United States. For seventy years, the State of Israel was the project of the Jews – the Jews of the world sort of helped sent volunteers who fought for our independence and sent energy and resources… Now Israel is strong. We have got a hi-tech second to the Silicon Valley. We have got a remarkable economy, and a strong military, stronger than all our enemies combined… What am I worried about? There are almost 6 million Jews in the United States of America and we are losing a lot of them, and if Israel was the project of the Jewish world, I think now the Jewish world is the project of Israel.”
“I am Minister of Diaspora Affairs. I am essentially Minister of the Jews. I am your minister. (laughter). We need to figure out how we reach out and get to these Jews. We don’t know how to solve this alone. You know better than us how to reach out to American Jews. But please, please please: focus your energy, focus your resources, focus your creativity – and our creativity- because we have to save the Jews. We are going to be asked 50 years from now, you knew that you are losing Jews at an unprecedented pace, what did you do to fight this? This is, I think, our big mission. On campus, before you defend Israel, reach out to the Jews.”