A unique Knesset committee session was held on Thursday, concentrating on Chabad outreach activity around the world.
The session was called by Absorption Committee Chairman Danny Danon, a Knesset Member of the Likud Party. The objective was to obtain State support for the Chabad movement’s activities, specifically from the Foreign Affairs and Education Ministries.
Chabad representatives, including “shlichim” who set up Chabad Houses around the world, were present for the session. They said that some cooperation with official Israeli bodies exist, but that budgeting for security protection is sorely lacking.
Rabbi Nechemia Wilhelm, Chabad’s emissary in Thailand, said that Chabad Houses receive guidance from the Defense Ministry, “but we are forced to pay for the security itself. For instance, in Thailand we have to pay between $60,000 and $80,000 each year.
Religious Affairs Minister Yaakov Margi (Shas) said, “This session is a few years late. We have to release funding for the very welcome activities of Chabad around the world, in which individuals become full-fledged spiritual centers.” He also called on the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Agency to review its distribution of resources in the Diaspora.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said, “Every day around the world, 500 Jews assimilate… Tens of thousands of Israelis tour around the world, and their only contact with Judaism is Beit Chabad.”
(IsraelNationalNews.com) Published: 03/05/11