What are Israel’s obligations towards Diaspora communities?

From left: Yakov Rabkin, Tiphaera Ziner Cohen and Jonathan Gendler are three panelists on the fourth episode of The CJN Studios podcast 'Five Questions About Israel'.

Diaspora Jews are often expected to support Israel—emotionally, financially, spiritually. For some, making aliyah is an admirable right of passage. Reverence and defence are key themes in Diaspora attitudes towards the world’s only Jewish state.

In the last episode of Five Questions About Israel, a special podcast miniseries hosted and sponsored by Dan Brotman and Yaron Deckel, we asked a significant question about how Canadian Jewish organizations, in particular, should balance their domestic philanthropic needs with those of Israel—which is, by all metrics, as wealthy and successful a nation as Canada, if not more so.

But what about the other way around? Of course Diaspora Jews support Israel—but how does Israel support the Diaspora? If Israel is a homeland to all Jews, how is it ensuring a vibrant global Jewish community that remains strong enough to defend Israel in the broader world?

To help navigate this discussion, we turn to three members of the Canadian Jewish community. Jonathan Gendler is an Israeli-born Canadian and manager his family’s fine-art business; Yakov Rabkin is a writer and professor emeritus of history at the University of Montreal; and Tiphaera Ziner Cohen is a law clerk at the federal court of appeal in Ottawa.