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Bennett to speak at US Jewish Federation meet as gov’t ups outreach to Diaspora

In October 3 address, PM to discuss challenges facing Israel, rising antisemitism and Israel-Diaspora relations as Israel works to heal ties marred during Netanyahu era

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a memorial ceremony for the fallen Israeli soldiers of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, at the National Hall of Remembrance, Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, September 19, 2021. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a memorial ceremony for the fallen Israeli soldiers of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, at the National Hall of Remembrance, Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, September 19, 2021. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will speak at the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual conference next month, as his government seeks to expand its engagement with Diaspora Jewry.

Bennett will address the virtual General Assembly on October 3rd and is expected to speak about the the “major challenges facing Israel, the rising tide of antisemitism and the relationship between the Jewish state and North American Jewry,” in a conversation with Jewish Federations Chair Mark Wilf, JFNA said in a press release on Monday.

Prominent US politicians from both parties will also attend the GA, which will include a performance by Israel’s Eurovision star Eden Alene, said the JFNA, which is an umbrella group representing 146 Jewish Federations and over 300 Network communities in North America.

The 2021 GA will focus on the theme, “What’s Next?” after a year marred by the pandemic and war in Israel.

Since taking office in June, Bennett has held several meetings with another umbrella organization representing American Jewry, The Conference of President of Major Jewish Organizations.

Earlier this month, Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai penned an op-ed in which he reached out to American Jewry asking for its forgiveness over the manner in which recent Israeli governments had neglected the relationship, namely through the freezing of a deal to expand the pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall.

Shai and others in the government have pledged to move forward with the matter, which was halted by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, causing a rupture in ties between Israel and American Jewry, where a majority are not Orthodox.

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