(JNS.org) It is “difficult to overstate the importance of the American Jewish people to the State of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday at an event in the Israeli Knesset that honored U.S. Jewry’s 100 years of contributions to Israel.
“American Jewry’s contribution to the state has been enormous and it will continue to be important to the future of the Israeli people,” said Netanyahu. “We must be more familiar with American Jewry and we must know more about them, and I’m convinced we will continue to see many young Americans making aliyah (immigration to Israel).”
The first-of-its-kind Knesset ceremony was organized by the Ruderman Family Foundation, which focuses on strengthening Israel-Diaspora relations. The foundation takes annual delegations of Knesset members on trips to the U.S. in order to help them gain a deeper understanding of American Jewry.
“I want to thank the Ruderman Family Foundation for this wonderful initiative and all the work they do to educate our delegates on better understanding the American Jewish community,” Israeli opposition leader Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said Wednesday, on the heels of failed negotiations to bring his party into Netanyahu’s governing coalition. “It’s been a difficult few days between myself and Prime Minister Netanyahu, but one thing we have in common is our roots to the American Jewish people. We must do all we can to keep this golden bridge standing forever.”