Jewish Agency CEO Amira Ahronoviz to step down in 6 months after 30 years with the group

Organization’s leaders thank her for ‘remarkable leadership’ for the past five years, say they are starting search for a successor

Jewish Agency for Israel CEO and Director-General Amira Ahronoviz will step down from her position in six months after more than five years in the role and nearly 30 at the organization, she informed staff on Monday.

“With great pride and love, at the end of a long and intensive journey that has filled me with endless meaning, I am preparing to complete my chapter in the leadership of this organization,” she wrote in an email to staff.

“This is not a farewell letter yet — the time will come for commencement addresses later — and I am ready and dedicated for the next six months to proudly, vigorously and rapidly continue leading this organization’s efforts. We have more important peaks to scale together in the coming months,” she wrote.

In her missive, Ahronoviz did not give a reason for her decision to step down or what her plans will be after leaving the organization, where she has worked for nearly 30 years. She indicated to staff plans to relax, following a particularly stressful period as CEO of the international organization.

Ahronoviz, who served in a variety of positions at the Jewish Agency before becoming CEO and director-general in 2019, helped develop the organization’s 10-year strategic plan, which was approved in Oct. 2019 under its then-executive chairman, current Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Under that plan, the Jewish Agency expanded its focus beyond encouraging aliyah to also advocating for Diaspora communities in Israel, combating antisemitism and “healing the rifts and building connections between the Jewish people.”

She helped lead the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic; waves of immigration from Ethiopia; the massive rise in immigration from Ukraine and Russia following Moscow’s invasion in February 2022; the political turmoil in Israel last year; and through the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terror attacks and the ongoing war in Gaza and fighting along the northern border.

In addition to the external challenges facing the organization, Ahronoviz also steered the Jewish Agency through a nearly year-long, contentious search for a new executive chair after Herzog stepped down from the role to become the president of Israel.

“We wish to express, already at this time, our gratitude and deep appreciation for Amira’s remarkable leadership of this organization… she has led us during a period full of challenges that our people have never known since the establishment of the State of Israel,” wrote Jewish Agency Board Chair Mark Wilf, Chair of the Executive Doron Almog and Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee Bruce Sholk in a joint letter to employees.

“Her remarkable contributions have driven the organization to new heights and achievements. These accomplishments under her leadership will leave a legacy that will positively impact our work long into the future,” they said.

Ahronoviz was the first female CEO of the nearly 95-year-old organization. The Jewish Agency said it was creating a search committee to find her successor. As Ahronoviz said she will remain in her position for the next six months, an interim replacement has not yet been selected.