President of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Dr. Michael Mirilashvili took part in the 10th annual Jerusalem Post The Future is Now conference. This year’s conference speakers were also Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Benet, Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and many other honored guests.
The conference traditionally celebrates the Israel’s innovation and successes and this year mainly focused on how Israel went from ‘Start-up Nation’ to Vaccination Nation’, becoming a light and a mentor to the world’s fight over pandemics.
During the Conference speakers and panelists discussed the healthcare, economic and security challenges plaguing Israel, and the growing gap between Israelis and Diaspora Jews.
You can find the full recording of the conference as well as the speech of the EAJC President Dr. Mirilashvili with a full transcript below.
“Dear colleagues and friends!
For those gathered today and for today’s Jewish generation of the former USSR it is hard to imagine the situation in which Jews of the region found themselves relatively recently. Being a minority, cut off of significant contacts with world Jewry, international Jewish organizations, and the State of Israel.
Given that the Jews who found themselves behind the “Iron Curtain” were always remembered, they were prayed for, a symbolic empty seat was left for them at the Passover table, while the struggle for the rights and freedom of Soviet Jews became perhaps the most inspiring and unifying factor for the Jewish world at the time.
Zionist ideologists, way before the founding of the State of Israel dreamed of the central role of the new Jewish state in the Jewish world. Even back then it was obvious that not every Jew in the world would decide to live in a Jewish state and therefore the question of building relations between the diaspora on the one hand and the state of the entire Jewish people, on the other would certainly arise.
One of the models of these relations is to build a politically and economically strong state, advanced in the fields of science and culture that would serve as an inspiration for the entire Jewish world. The Jewish State was predestined to become not only the “light for all nations”, but for the Jews outside of Israel as well. And if 70 years ago the young state had to fight for its existence, solving lots of internal problems, today it’s not the case, and Israel must revise its role in the relations with the diaspora.
Today Israel is already perceived as a country that brings “light to the nations” in various fields: in social field, technologies and innovations, thinking ‘outside the box’ it terms of solving the most complex modern issues. As a businessman working in many countries, I see it with my own eyes every day. The Israelis are often seen today as some miracle workers, capable of solving almost everything.
Meaning not only transformation of air into water, which one of my business companies is successfully doing, but also the transformation of yesterday’s enemies into our friends and partners. Peace treaties signed recently opened new horizons, for cultural, academic and business cooperation, tourism as well, and as for UAE and Bahrain, the Jewish life started flourishing there with renewed vigor.
Given this, the following is quite obvious for us: the stronger the diaspora — the stronger the Israel. Last week we were in Kiev, where the tragedy of Babi Yar was commemorated. A huge tragedy of Jewish people and the entire world was once more remembered. I do mean it when I say it was a tragedy for the whole world. It’s because we shall not look at the Jewish people and Jewish State separately from the rest of the world. The fate of Israel is strongly connected to the fate of the entire world. If Israel suffers — unfortunately the world suffers as well. If Israel prospers — the world only benefits from this.
Today the impact of Israel in the world is undeniably tremendous. But the Jewish diaspora gained its power as well and today it’s stronger than ever. We have to use this strength and impact wisely not only for the sake of our people, but for the sake of the entire humanity. And that’s exactly what we try to do today.
But there is a danger, that our tradition warns us of. When we succeed and things go well we tend to forget where our success comes from. We often become too proud of ourselves, we forget who we have to be really grateful for this. And finally how to use it properly. We should and even must unite and use our power for the sake of the humanity, to solve truly global problems.
And I would like to share with you one recent example. Recently we were addressed at the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress by several European leaders, who asked us to help them get refugees out of Afghanistan. At first I was surprised and thought how are we supposed to help them? Why do such powerful states turn to us and search for help? But they were right. Several Jewish leaders from different countries united to solve this issue, and helped the group of refugees to leave the country and eventually find the asylum. I was not among those who helped, but I know them personally and I’m very proud of this. It shows us once more how being united and joining forces can help us do real wonders for the sake of Jewish people and the rest of the world.
And that’s why we are here, that is our calling and our mission. So I call for you one more time: let’s unite for the sake of the humanity.
Finally, I would also like to express my gratitude to the leadership and the team of the Jerusalem Post for organizing this event at the highest level. Thank you!”