Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky (C). (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90) (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Chairman of the Jewish Agency Nathan Sharansky

For the first time ever, the Jewish Agency chairman and Israel’s education minister spoke directly to Jewish students around the world in celebration of Diaspora Jewry Week, connecting them with one another.

Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett on Tuesday night spoke simultaneously to Jewish children and teenagers on three continents in celebration of the new government-established Week of Strengthening the Connection to Diaspora Jewry.

The conversation, which took place in the Jewish Agency’s situation room in Jerusalem via videoconference, centered on the connection between Israel and the Jewish world and involved students from five schools—Golda Ochs Academy in West Orange, New Jersey; the Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Academy in Palm Beach County, Florida; the Begin Interdisciplinary School in Tzfat, Israel; the Merchavim Regional School in Merchavim, Israel; and Ulpanat Noga in Beit Shemesh, Israel—as well as campers at a Bnei Akiva summer camp in South Africa, where it is summertime.

The students are all connected to each another via the Jewish Agency’s Global School Twinning Network, which pairs Israeli schools with Jewish schools throughout the world. The program began three years ago with three schools; 650 schools and tens of thousands of children and teens are now connected, touching the lives of tens of Jewish young people on six continents every year.

Speaking of the continually expanding program, Sharansky said he hopes that the “striking growth continues until all schoolchildren in Israel and the Jewish world are connected and in dialogue with one another.”

“Israel and the Jewish world are attached and dependent on one another in the two great Jewish battles of our generation: the battle against assimilation for the sake of the Jewish people’s future, and the battle against delegitimization for the sake of the State of Israel’s future,” Sharansky stated. “We will prevail only if we work together, in full cooperation, and it is important that that conversation start amongst schoolchildren.”

“I am Minister of Education for Israeli students, but as Minister of Diaspora Affairs, I also feel a sense of responsibility for the education of Jewish students around the world,” Bennett said. “I see great importance in strengthening the ties between all Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora. We are one big family.”

By: United with Israel Staff

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