In what appears to be an admission of the growing divide between Israel and Jews living outside the country, the outgoing Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett warned against what he sees as "assimilation" of Jews with communities around the world, describing it as "one of the greatest disasters in the history of the Jewish people".
The remarks, which were reported by Arutz Sheva, were made at the annual International Bible Quiz in Jerusalem, which takes place each year on Israel's Independence Day. It's reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in audience.
Expressing grave concern over Jewish "assimilation", Bennett who heads the New Right party with Ayelet Shaked, is reported saying: "The State of Israel has experienced the most prosperous and successful era it has known, but during these very days, one of the greatest disasters in the history of the Jewish people is taking place – we are losing millions of our Jewish brothers and sisters in the diaspora. Like an iceberg melting away, so many of our people are slipping away before our eyes."
He called on the state of Israel to act "without delay, with all [our] strength, creativity, and determination, in order to save [our] brothers and sisters, members of the Jewish people around the world, from assimilation and anti-Semitism."
Bennet insisted that the task of stemming the tide of Jewish "assimilation" needed to be "the project of the state of Israel", explaining that "whenever we needed financial or political assistance, the Jews of the world mobilised to help".
Bennet concluding his addressing saying: "We have a duty to ensure that we will be a sovereign and united Jewish state for all eternity."