Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, has proposed allowing all Diaspora Jews to vote in Knesset elections.
This far from symbolic gesture would allow Jews of the Diaspora to have considerable influence on Israeli politics.
Kantor explained that “Jews of the Diaspora would become honorary citizens of Israel.” His proposal has two goals. The first goal is to “involve Jews of the whole world in the life of Israel and make them a more effective political element in the life of the Jewish state.” The second aim is “to make the life of Jewish communities more democratic.”
A similar idea was recently proposed by the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, established by the Jewish Agency (Sokhnut) in Jerusalem.
Sokhnut Chairman Zeev Bielski proposed to “make the participation of Diaspora Jews in the life of Israel more active, involving them in elections for a Global Knesset that would be an All-Jewish Parliament,” with all that implies.
This extraordinary parliament would begin defining Israeli politics. Moreover, Bielski expects that Jews taking part in the election will start “sharing their lives between their country of residence and Israel.”
The issue of granting all Jews Israeli voting rights, in one form or another, has been discussed for a long time by supporters of the idea of making Israel a state for the Jewish people, not only in name, but in practice. This approach is more complex than it seems at first sight. A large percentage of Israelis are likely to oppose the idea, and there are other, bigger obstacles.
However, the fact that one of the major Jewish Diaspora leaders has made this proposal speaks volumes. First of all, it shows that world Jewry is getting more and more anxious about steps taken by Israeli authorities. These steps may lead to a situation when the government, elected by Israelis (both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of Israel), for the first time in history creates a state run by a different people in the G-d given state of Eretz Israel, thus voluntarily and forever abandoning the Jewish people’s heritage and the national treasure of all generations of Jews.