Home and Away – Israelis living outside Israel

Home and Away – Israelis living outside Israel

On Sunday November 10th in Jerusalem we asked: If Israel has changed radically in the past few decades, and Jewish identity has changed radically in the past few decades, and the transfer of information has changed radically too - how should Israel Education transform itself in response?

Global Jewish Forum

Three times a year the Jewish Agency gathers Jewish leaders from around the world for deep consideration of the pressing issues of the Jewish People. Makom designs and facilitates a day dedicated to moving beyond the communal headlines to examine the deep issues that drive them. At the GJF International Jewish leaders deliberately does not take decisions, but together decides to deliberate… Young committed adults sit around the table with institutional leaders, sharing perspectives and gaining understanding.

GJF IV – Home and Away – Israelis living outside Israel


The phenomenon of Israelis living outside Israel has been a loaded one throughout Zionist history. In the days when the Zionist enterprise was built upon a deep and heartfelt rejection of the Diaspora, the idea of a “sabra” choosing to live permanently in this “exile” was seen as the ultimate betrayal.

As understandings of Jewish Peoplehood have developed, as key strands of Zionism have evolved beyond the negation of the Diaspora, and as the world has become more fluid and interconnected, attitudes towards Israelis leaving Israel have likewise shifted. 

With this in mind on October 29th 2012 the fourth Global Jewish Forum chose to address the identity issues that Israeli Jews engage with when bringing up their children outside of Israel.

While most Israeli emigrants show high indicators of Jewish engagement – often higher than locals – research shows that their children tend to distance themselves from Jewish life at a dizzying rate.

  • What might explain this phenomenon? Is it avoidable?
  • Does “Israeliness” lead to a distancing from Jewish life in the Diaspora? Or can it offer new opportunities for connection?
  • Did Israeli secular culture evolve into a new Jewish “denomination” with little in common with other denominations?
  • Or does the newly evolving Jewish-Israeli arts scene provide all Jews outside Israel with a refreshing new perspective on their identity?

Assaf Inbari on “Ben Gurion’s Big Mistake”

Source Book

Click here for free download of the source book

Interview with Alma Zohar

All opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of Makom!

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