Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett was at Bar Ilan University Monday, for a special sendoff for religious-Zionist "shlichim", or emissaries, who will be leaving Israel shortly for various communities in the Jewish Diaspora.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Bennett summed up the importance of the work of the young activists – members of the Mizrahi Movement – as no less than a mission "to save the Jews."
"The Jewish people are losing an extraordinary amount of Jews to assimilation, to intermarriage," the Jewish Home party leader said.
The key to fighting that trend was to strengthen Jewish identity, on the one hand by keeping Diaspora Jews "connected to Am Yisrael (the nation of Israel) and the State of Israel," while on the other working to "connect the people of Israel (i.e. the Jewish nation) to Yahadut (Judaism), to our identity."
"Every Jew in the world is part of one big family," he emphasized.
Apart from educating and working within the various Jewish communities where they will be living for the next few months or even years, the activists will also be helping to fight the battle for Israel against a growing wave of anti-Israel hate, particularly in Europe.
Bennett said he was confident they would succeed in that mission as well, but stressed any such advocacy had to be grounded in a strong sense of Jewish identity.
"It all starts in believing in the Jewish people… First and foremost we have to connect to Judaism, to Jewish identity – and then they'll be capable of defending Israel."