Flying Beneath the Radar, Keren Hayesod Touches Down in the U.S.

With a core donor base that is both drying up and dying out, Keren Hayesod (KH) has set its’ sights on greener pastuers – in this case California’s Silicon Valley – with a three day forum last month. Called, Forum 2012: Building the Next Generation of International Jewish Leadership, KH describes the initiative as follows,

“The future will be here faster than we think. A future where the only constant will be ongoing change at a constantly accelerated rate.

Are we ready? Are Israel and the Jewish People ready? Do we have, as individuals and as an international community, the tools to deal with such an unpredictable future?

Keren Hayesod – UIA is launching an exciting new initiative – the Forum – which aims to create the new generation of international Jewish leadership that will deal with the challenges of the future.

The Forum will bring together one hundred prominent business and communal leaders (age 25-50) from all around the world and Israel – who care about the future of Israel, the Diaspora and the relationship between them, and wish to get involved in a significant way as part of an elite international leadership group.

The three day conference which will take place on May 13-15, 2012 in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, will include an exciting, thought-provoking program with significant content, high caliber speakers, and an opportunity to network with a young international group.

The first day will examine the future of the world in general terms through the perspective of innovation and the concept of accelerated growth, focusing on the cutting edge technologies of Silicon Valley and Israel as a “Start-Up Nation”. The second day will focus on the future of the Jewish People, Israel, the Diaspora, and the relationship between them, social responsibility and leadership.

Both days will include lectures, panels and roundtable discussions, where you will be able to express your ideas and brainstorm. The program will also include social elements with celebrities, special tours of the region, fun evening activities and an opportunity for social networking with high tech and local business people.

We truly believe that this new and exciting initiative has the potential of shaping the future of the Jewish People and we hope that you will be able to join us.”

As eJP understands, this is the first time KH has organized any type of gathering in the U.S. In fact, their own website states, “The central fundraising organization for Israel worldwide, with the exception of the US [emphasis added], Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal operates as a partnership between local Jewish communities, friends of Israel and the State of Israel. Through a network of emissaries, the Head Office in Jerusalem runs over 60 campaigns on five continents, for the purpose of ensuring the future and wellbeing of the Jewish state and people.”

While a list of funders does not appear on the Forum website, eJP hears one key funder for the Forum, and the Los Angeles Post-Conference program, was American Sheldon Adelson.

While the Forum had both a Facebook and website presence, media attention was non-existent (confirmed by a Google search). Was KH flying under the radar on purpose?

One also wonders, was JFNA consulted? After all, California is in the U.S. – and one would think building the next generation of leadership would be high on their communal agenda.