putting the diaspora in harm's way

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    Israeli President Unveils Plan For 'World Knesset'

    (Forward) JERUSALEM — Israel's government took its first public step last week toward the formal creation of an international Jewish "parliament," whose purpose would be to represent Diaspora Jews in the formation of Israeli government policies that have potential impact on Jewish life in other countries.

    The initiative was unveiled at a special Monday meeting of the Knesset's committee for immigration and absorption, which has responsibility for Diaspora affairs. The meeting was held at the official residence of Israel's figurehead president, in an apparent effort to emphasize the ceremonial significance of the initiative, and was formally introduced by the president himself, Moshe Katzav.

    The proposal for a world Jewish consultative "parliament" was initially raised last July in a strategic policy report submitted to Prime Minister Sharon by the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel's legally designated liaison to the Jewish communities of the Diaspora. The 50-page report, an executive summary of a 600-page document due out this month, reviewed security, political, religious, cultural and economic conditions in Jewish communities on every continent and made a host of recommendations ranging from Internet use to summer camp staffing. Among the key proposals was the formation of an international representative body to consult with the Israeli government on decisions that may affect Jewish security or culture in other countries.

    The report was prepared by a newly-formed Jewish Agency think tank for global Jewish policy, chaired by the former American diplomat Dennis Ross.
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