Govn’t of Israel and Jewish Agency Sign Memorandum of Understanding on “Initiative”

After decades of lobbying, profile of high school in Israel programs raised

Initiative-flo-chart-e1416090573762It has been almost 3 months since we have heard anything about the World Jewry Joint Initiative. But behind the scenes, significant negotiation has taken place. In fact, we have learned that so much effort has but put into this agreement that if JAFI’s representative was billing his usual and customary hourly rate, the bill might exceed $100,000! In the end, the negotiation has now culminated in an initialized non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties.

While there are still many details to be worked out, the MoU lays out overall governance including structure, oversight and of most interest to our readers the “Initial Content Areas:”

  1. Teen trips to Israel – to double the numbers of teen participants
  2. Summer camps – to double the numbers of youth in Jewish summer camps globally
  3. Jewish and Israel engagement in college campuses and universities – create a critical mass of settings worldwide where an extensive, systematic, and well-coordinated plan of Jewish and Israel engagement is undertaken
  4. Career building for students and young adults in Israel
  5. Service around the world for students and young adults – in home and neighboring communities and in the developing world within a Jewish and Israeli context; service projects will include Israelis pre- and post- army
  6. Follow-up opportunities in home communities
  7. Technology – creating a single digital platform for the Jewish world that will allow communities and organizations to leverage their activity …

Also of note, the MoU states, “To minimize confusion of donors, JFNA and KH funding for the Initiative will be as designated gifts through JAFI.”

In response to the MoU being approved, The Jewish Agency provided the following statement to eJP:

“In recent weeks, significant progress has been made in moving the Government of Israel-World Jewry Joint Initiative towards implementation.

The Jewish Agency and its government partners have agreed to a memorandum of understanding according to which the Joint Initiative will be overseen by representatives of the Government of Israel, of The Jewish Agency and its partner organizations (the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod-UIA, and the World Zionist Organization), and of independent philanthropists who will be supporting the projects.

The memorandum of understanding was approved by the Jewish Agency Executive at a special meeting held on November 14.”

As to the Government side, when asked for a response, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry declined to comment.

Stay tuned, for while the MoU has been initialized, a definitive agreement – including a timetable – still needs to be finalized. And one other important item to keep in mind: where is the non-government money coming from?

For as a senior JFNA lay leader involved in the discussions told eJP, “We have a signed agreement but no money. So what does it all really mean?”