Request by a few thousand Jews on Facebook will lead to a debate in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, of a proposal to establish a Jewish parliament or a “Jewish People’s Initiative,” said Einat Wilf, who chairs the Knesset sub-committee on ties between Israel and the Jewish People.
The sub-committee this week took the first step to creating a Knesset that will also represent the Jewish People in the diaspora.
The committee discussed a proposal by Joelle Fiss, a British Jew currently resident in the United States, to create a “Jewish People’s Initiative” on the pattern of the European Union Citizens’ Initiative.
Fiss recently published her ideas in her book: “Tiptoeing on Minefields”.
Einat Wilf, from the Atzma’ut party, reportedly partially adopted some of her proposals and announced that a request by a few thousand Jews, from at least three different Jewish communities, registered by email or by “Likes” on Facebook, will lead her to initiate a debate by the committee she chairs on the requested issue.
“Consultation between the official institutions of the State of Israel and the Jewish People are essential, and it is important to listen and to understand the issues they face,” said Wilf.
She stressed that this consultation “must be not only with heads of a few Jewish organizations who meet periodically with ministers and Prime Ministers, but also with all the many Jews around the world.”
In her proposals, Joelle Fiss called for an open dialogue in real time, with the involvement of all the existing organizations, but also of individual Jews.
She noted that any world Jewish parliament or initiative should also represent small communities just as much as the large ones and all the streams in Judaism.
On the one hand, she said, it must reflect the fact that 80% of world Jewry today lives in Israel and the United States but must also give weight to the rest of the Diaspora.
Current technology makes it possible to follow and participate in the debates from anywhere in the world. Her first proposal is that a request from a certain percentage of Diaspora Jewry should oblige the Knesset to hold a debate on the relevant issue.
Marina Solodkin, Knesset Member from Kadima added that “to a certain extent, Facebook is already doing this today, making contact with all Jews around the world simultaneously”, while Avinoam Bar-Yosef, President of the Jewish People Policy Institute, stressed that Israel must accept mutual responsibility with the Jewish People and take their needs into account.”
Dani Wassner, Media Director of the Jewish Federations of North America, also welcomed the proposal, noting that Diaspora Jews must feel that their voice is heard in Israel and specifically in the Knesset.