JAFI: Past, Present and Future

JAFI’s opening plenary, continued:

We have to find the money to carry on our responsibilities“. This simple straight-forward sentence was spoken by Zeevik. While it was in the context of remarks about children at risk, especially in the Negev and Galilee regions, the underlying message was visible not only Friday but through-out the various Assembly programs and the multitude of articles appearing in the Israeli press Friday and today. Everyone recognizes the world has changed in light of the financial meltdown, but as Chuck Rattner said at a different session an hour ago,

we must pursue every ounce of vigor and financial resources available. We’ve (referring to JAFI) accomplished extraordinary things and we must continue to accomplish extraordinary things”.

Returning to Friday morning, Zeevik told us that the top priority of the Jewish Agency, past, present and future, is Aliyah – it is the oxygen that makes the Agency tick. Even though he recognized that Aliyah has changed and is now an Aliyah by Choice, I think he surprised more than a few in the room with this emphasis.

He had a lot more to say, including speaking about MASA and Jewish education – the themes of both will follow in future posts, and how he determined a year ago that Obama would win the recent election (you had to be there) but I wanted to go to his closing remarks. Picking up from the Prime Minister’s comments at the last JAFI Board meeting, he told us we are…

“on the eve of a new dialogue between the government of Israel, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish world…today world Jewry IS the business of the Israeli government, regardless of which party succeeds in the upcoming elections. Sixty years ago, the UJC, Keren Hayesod and others built Israel – today the government must take responsibility for education in South America, the FSU and around the world…

with the government, the UJC and Keren Hayesod behind us we will do what we (JAFI) have to do.”