Let The Feud Lead to a Transformation

from today’s Haaretz:

Mental health warning: If, dear reader, you find the interminable business of the ins and outs of Jewish Agency politics brain-deadeningly boring, my full sympathies are with you

His [Sharansky’s] steadfast right-wing views and estrangement from the Reform and Conservative movements do not bode well for the man who proposes to speak for the entire Jewish people. But none of this current fracas threatening to tear the Zionist movement apart has anything to do with Sharansky or his suitability. The various gladiators are interested solely in control and prestige. Benjamin Netanyahu’s team wants to consolidate its current hold on power by shoehorning another Bibi ally into a senior position. The Americans, meanwhile, want greater acknowledgment of their bankrolling of the organization over the decades and the satisfaction of seeing the Agency run under their own strict rules…

The Israeli-American war of the Jews will end, or at least reach a cease fire, but whoever is finall elected chairman should not let things calm down. The chairman should seize the opportunity and formulate a plan that would abolish both organizations; in their place, he should found a state-of-the-art operation that will coordinate Jewish education and identity initiatives and offer support to every Jewish community worldwide, jettisoning activities in which it can have only limited influence (like aliyah) and others in which it has no business being involved (like social programs in Israel). As the former president of the Jewish People Policy Planning institute, Yehezkel Dror, said last year, in order for the Jewish Agency for Israel to survive and remain relevant, it must transform itself into the Jewish Agency for the Jewish People. This week’s squabbling may actually bring about that outcome slightly earlier.