JERUSALEM – Orthodox Union leaders from throughout the United States and Canada met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed the need to increase and expand initiatives focused on Diaspora Jewish education and identity. The prime minister, while agreeing that more should be done, did tell the group of American Jewish leaders that he has had the Government of Israel invest tens of millions of dollars in these programs already, but he agreed this priority deserved more funding.
“It is time that instead of Israel receiving from the Diaspora, we are giving now. We are increasing tens of millions of dollars, but it is not enough, we need to do more,” said the prime minister.
“I was very much encouraged by the Prime Minister’s commitment to Jewish students in the diaspora. We look forward to continuing to partner with him and the State of Israel to expose all Jews to their heritage,” said OU President Moishe Bane following the meeting.
OU Executive Vice President Allen Fagin said following the meeting, “We were delighted to have the opportunity to explain to the Prime Minister how youth and adult programming around greater exposure to Israel increases their Jewish identity and their attachment to the State of Israel.”
The OU leadership group was in Israel for an annual celebration with all participants of its summer programs in Israel, a number that this year reaches 3,000. The record summer attendance, and the fact that the OU has become one of the largest operators of first-time group travel to Israel by young adults from North America, validates the need for more funding to support these programs.