In the past, those who left the Jewish people by converting to other religions, or by simple assimilation, were the scum.
Morally, they were lowly and despicable human beings.
Today it is no longer so, and not because the world has become a better place, but because our people do not know.
It is their lack of awareness that is causing this depletion of our resources.
People give all their energies to the outside world because they are totally unaware that there is something worthwhile inside.
They do not know anything about themselves as a nation, and they lack the feeling of being united.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From "The State of the Nation, 1996" by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz