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New Progressive Judaism Dept. established in Diaspora Affairs Ministry

CM 04/08/2021

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Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai has secured NIS 40 million in the state budget for the purposes of funding progressive Jewish movements and activities in Israel. 

The money will be used within the framework of a new Department for Progressive Judaism which will use the funds for projects in Israel and abroad. 
Chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party MK Arye Deri criticized the allocation of funds for non-Orthodox groups, calling it “a sad moment for those who think the Jewish identity of the country is important,” and lamented that “The Reform [movement] which caused terrible destruction and assimilation for American Jewry, is getting recognition and funding by the Bennett-Kariv-Kahana government.”
More generally, the budget of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry will be doubled under the new state budget, and the funds will be used for various purposes, including formal and informal education in the Diaspora. 

The money will be spread across programs starting with those at high school age, through to university students, and including projects for young professionals. 
Funds will also be used to fight the rise in antisemitism in several countries where there are large Jewish communities, both to tackle physical threats and antisemitic incitement, including on social media. 
“We are now at the starting line for intensive activity in the ministry’s fields, and the budget we have approved is just the opening shot,” Shai said. 
“In recent years the relationship between the State of Israel and the Diaspora has faded and the challenges have piled up,” he said. 
“We anticipate a drastic rise in antisemitism, manifestations of extremism among American Jews, and knowledge gaps in relation to Israel. All of these are a warning light that must not be ignored. We will lay out long-term infrastructure plans in Israel and in the Diaspora to correct the problems and to deal with the challenges that will arrive on our doorstep.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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