Breaking Story: Pearlstone to Netanyahu


June 17, 2009

The Honorable Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister of the State of Israel


Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

This coming week, hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world will converge in Jerusalem to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Jewish Agency at our Board of Governors and Assembly meetings.

Over the past 80 years the Jewish Agency, as Diaspora Jewry’s partner with and link to the State of Israel, has literally built the State of Israel. Together, we have brought three million Jews on Aliyah, developed the Galilee and the Negev and connected hundreds of thousands of Diaspora youth to their homeland. We look forward to 80 more years of outstanding partnership with the Government and people of Israel.

As we have discussed in our previous conversations, the Jewish Agency, as a dynamic organization which aspires to renew itself and to constantly adapt to changing environments, has over the past two years developed a series of Governance reforms designed to modernize and enhance our transparency, efficiency and governing processes.

This process has involved the leadership of Jewish communities and organizations worldwide and with the full participation of Keren Hayesod, United Jewish Communities, the World Zionist Organization and our other partners.

Under the proposed reforms, which were first submitted to our Board in November 2008, the WZO will retain its 50% ownership of the Agency and for the first time, both the WZO and the Prime Minister will have formal participation in the selection process all of the Agency’s top leadership, including the Chair of the Board. In addition, the proposed reforms contain a series of proposals to modernize and enhance the Agency’s governing bodies.

Let me reiterate that we view Natan Sharansky as a candidate of outstanding stature and we extremely appreciate your recommending a candidate of his renown. We look forward to considering his candidacy in the Leadership Nominating Committee which the proposed Governance reforms will create.

The Jewish Agency will continue to work to enhance the relationship between Jews in Israel and around the world and to work to reach out to new elements and new partners. This is the culmination of a longstanding process which in these days is coming to fruition. I am proud to say that the Jewish Agency is a non-political organization that is dedicated to embracing all elements of the Israeli society and the Jewish world.

I am convinced, Mr. Prime Minister, that the new Chairman, as Diaspora Jewry’s senior partner with the Government, will take the Jewish Agency to new heights in dealing with the majors challenges that are facing the Jewish People and the State of Israel.


Richard L. Pearlstone

Chairman of the Board of Governors

Cc:  MK Yuli Edelstein, Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs