New Research from the Reut Institute: 2017 Likely to be a Critical Year for Israel-Diaspora Relations

In the last decade, the State of Israel’s position in the Jewish World has changed dramatically, in a way that is likely to constitute a strategic threat to the continued prosperity and cohesion of the Jewish People. This dynamic is fueled by a conceptual gap that exists in Israeli society, especially among Israel’s professional and volunteer leadership. Decision makers in Israel, and those educating the next generation of Israeli leaders have the responsibility to close this gap.

2017 is likely to be a critical year for Israel-Diaspora relations. In 2017, Jews in Israel and the Diaspora will commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the beginning of the 70-year anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, as well as the 50-year anniversary of the Six Day War and 50 years of Israeli control over the West Bank and its Palestinian population. In Israel, 2017 will be a central year in determining how these events are remembered and commemorated, as well as a central year in defining their influence on future outcomes. In the Diaspora, these events, combined with the unknown implications of the new Trump Administration, will lead to even greater tensions within Jewish communities. These tensions are likely to further contribute to the divide between Israel and the Diaspora.

The Reut Institute creates transformative models to tackle challenges facing Israel and the Jewish People through innovative research and strategic thinking. For the last two years, a Reut Institute team has researched Israel-Diaspora relations, in order to examine how the State of Israel can continue to fulfill its original mission to be the nation state of the entire Jewish People.

This team has identified a widening gap that endangers the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, and challenges the legitimacy of the State of Israel. These findings are summarized in a document that outlines a Conceptual Framework to understand this challenge, and proposes policy changes and actions to resolve it.

Additionally, building on the insights of this research, the Reut Institute will host a number of workshops and seminars, in cooperation with the Ministry for Diaspora Affairs, with various leadership groups in Israel in order to wrestle with this central question: What does it mean to be a leader in the nation state of the Jewish People in the 21st Century?

The Future of the Nation State of the Jewish People: Consolidation or Rupture?

Coverage in the Jerusalem Post:
‘Ties Between US Jews and Israel Could Reach Breaking Point in 2017’ March 27, 2017
JPost Editorial: AIPAC Lessons, March 29, 2017

Agenda for the 21st Century September 2017

What does a 21st century community look like?

What’s been driving us at Reut for many years has been our effort to realize the Israel 15 vision. The Israel 15 vision calls for Israel to become one of the leading 15 countries in the world in terms of the quality of life of its residents. How can we bring about the leapfrog that will get us into the top 15?

The human infrastructure holding up Israeli society is its communities. Israel is organized as a collection of communities which can also become a network of communities. Smart Communities is a network of geographic communities with an anchor of institutions which can be found in every community in Israel. Institutions such as baby wellness clinics, sports centers, schools, youth movements and similar places.

The central role of every community is to ensure employability, productivity, inclusivity and quality of life. If the State of Israel manages to re-create each of these institutions, as well as all of them together, we will create the model Israeli community for the 21st century.

Smart communities are communities which demonstrate a real meeting between community institutions, social entrepreneurs within the community and external technological tools. This meeting creates a ‘culture of smartness’, smartness which trickles down from the individuals and the institutions into the community at large. The entrepreneur and the institution must learn to get to know each other, and know when to work together.

Click here to watch a short video about smart communities