Over the Rainbow: the center of gravity of the Zionist movement can be in the diaspora

Over the Rainbow (OTR) is a worldwide Zionist movement that aims to shift the center of gravity of the Zionist movement towards Jewish communities in the diaspora. OTR argues that most of the world's Jews live outside the State of Israel, and most have no intention of immigrating to Israel, and therefore the connection of Jewish communities in the Diaspora to Israel and the Zionist idea must be strengthened and cultivated. OTR also encourages the younger generation to take part in local Zionist leadership and thus strengthen their own Jewish identity. OTR emphasizes the Israeli diaspora communities, where most of its leaders come from.

In Portugal, the branch was created by the lawyer Itay Mor, who animates and presides over the local association and, in addition to the general guidelines of the association, its daily mission is to show that the bridge between Portugal and the Jewish community is maintained and works daily to strengthen it. This strengthening involves minimizing cultural differences.

OTR Portugal has played an important role in strengthening the bridge between the two cultures through a media strategy that makes its messages broadcast in the main Portuguese newspapers and maintains contact with the main Portuguese government entities. OTR also has a website and a Facebook group, which transmits all kinds of useful information to the community. But the association's main role is played on the ground where it acts as a guide for the growing and vibrant Jewish community in Portugal and for the thousands who want to reunite with its history and move to the land of their ancestors.

Despite the historical connection of their ancestors to Portugal, when they arrive in the country, Sephardic Jews need support in various areas of their lives, from business to personal life. OTR helps with all kinds of bureaucracy, such as registering a new company, as it is already familiar with Portuguese culture. From a personal point of view, OTR locally supports the community in whatever way it can. Recently, in a tragic episode, the brother of a community member committed suicide. The association responded to the family's request for help with local support that helped to deal with practical and bureaucratic issues. Also during the pandemic, OTR has been guiding all those who want to fly to Portugal. On the one hand, constantly informing about changes in Portugal, on the other, pressing the authorities for a speedy opening of borders.

For the future, the association is open to ideas and initiatives from the community, but it already has several activities planned, starting right away with a major event on cybersecurity Israel-Portugal. The intention is for this conference to bring together leading experts from Israel and Portugal in a climate of sharing and cooperation.

Itay Mor, President of Over the Rainbow Portugal says with his eyes towards the future: “We believe that the connection between the Jewish World and Portugal will go stronger in the future and more and more Israelis and Jewish People will want to be a part of the growing community and therefor we are building the structure for this growth. We aim to make this process easier for our community members as well as for the local environment, living together in coexistence and prosperity.”