Eran Shayshon, Reut Institute
The controversial set of commercials was pointless and irresponsible, but they were not aimed at “negating the Diaspora”. In fact, an increasing number of Israelis today acknowledge that a strong and vibrant Diaspora is a clear imperative for Israel and Zionism.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews in Israel evolved into a unique blend, which is very different from the rest of the Jewish world. This new identity served to dismantle the traditional Jewish communal life as there was no threat to the collective identity of Jews living in the Jewish state.
The dichotomy between ex-pat Israelis and Diaspora Jews is embedded in the mind of Israelis.Encounters between Diaspora Jews and Israelis pushed to the surface the differences.
These set of commercials embedded a tacit assumption that the Israeli-Jewish identity could only be maintained in Israel.
With hundreds of thousands of Israelis that are living abroad, it is an imperative to also try to encourage ex-pat Israelis to communally organize in their current residence, to connect them to the local Jewish community and its institutions, and support the new emerging type of “Israeli ex-pat,” who volunteers, contributes to the community and is connected to Israel and the Jewish People.
Eran Shayshon, Reut Institute, Director of National Security & Global Affairs