Israeli Religious Affairs Minister Yakov Margi, who visited a Chabad school in Ukraine last week, called Monday for state funding of Chabad-Lubavitch centers around the world.

Margi, who helped students at the Ohr Avner Chabad Day School celebrate the first day of classes, made his recommendation during a cabinet meeting, the Jerusalem Post reported. He told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that in light of the worldwide economic downturn and the fact that many Israelis utilize Chabad Houses across the globe, Israeli investments were needed to help the institutions “strengthen Jewish identity and the connection with the Land of Israel.”

Rabbi Menachem Brod, publications director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization in Israel, told the newspaper that “it would be great if Minister Margi’s request is granted to help fund what Chabad does for the Jewish people around the world.”