Moshe Vigdor Resigns from Jewish Agency

Moshe Vigdor, Director General of the Jewish Agency for Israel, is leaving his position. Vigdor has accepted the same position with the Council for Higher Education and the Education Ministry’s council on planning and budget.

According to Richard Pearlstone, the Jewish Agency’s Board chair, “We are sorry to lose him; he was great for the agency . We will all miss him and wish him luck in his new challenge to help the State of Israel.”

Moshe Vigdor has been the Director General of the Jewish Agency since January 2005 following a 12 year career as the Vice-President and Director General of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Here’s Vigdor’s letter to the Board of Governors:

December 24, 2009

To: Members of the Board of Governors

Dear Friends,

I write to tell you that I have decided to respond positively to the request from the Minister of Education and the Chairman of the Budget and Planning Committee of Israel’s academic institutions to serve as the new director-general of the Council for Higher Education and of the Committee. I have accepted this position because I believe there is a real need to address the challenges facing Israel’s higher education.

Over the past five years I have served the Jewish Agency as its director-general with great devotion, loyalty and commitment to its mission and goals under two chairmen of the Board of Governors and three chairmen of the Executive. During this time, the Jewish Agency underwent changes and significant reforms in its management and goals.

Together with the Jewish Agency senior management and staff, we have completed the implementation of the Strategic Plan that had been approved by the Board of Governors. This plan has defined new goals and required structural changes and the adoption of revised working methods.

Today’s Jewish Agency is managed efficiently and professionally, through the use of modern management tools, the most advanced technology, and transparency in all fields. We have introduced innovative management systems that will enhance even further the way the Jewish Agency operates; we have instituted a measurement and evaluation system for our projects; we have improved the level of service; we have become more professional and more aware of the expectations of our donors and our customers.

I have been honored and privileged to serve as the Jewish Agency’s director-general, for it works to address both national and global Jewish goals. Over my years here I have struck up true and deep friendships with many of you, and I am sure that these friendships will remain for years to come.

I am now turning my attention to a national task that is no less important, education and particularly higher education in Israel, fields that are so important for the strength and future well-being of the country.

I would like to thank each one of you personally for your support and for our joint efforts during these fascinating years. It was only thanks to our shared hard work that we have managed to accomplish such impressive achievements.

I would particularly like to thank the chairs of the Board of Governors with whom I have had the pleasure of working, Carole Solomon and Richie Pearlstone. Their exceptional dedication to the Jewish Agency and the Jewish people is truly inspiring and has served as my guide over these years.

I would also like to thank the chairs of the executive under whom I have served, Sallai Meridor and Zevik Bielski, and with whom I worked tirelessly and in friendship over the past five years.

Similarly, I would like to thank Natan Sharansky for the opportunity to start working together on a number of new and innovative issues, prime among them the vision of strengthening Jewish identity. This issue, under Natan’s leadership, is a new direction that fits into the Jewish Agency’s Strategic Plan, and that holds out great promise for the future, both of the Jewish world and of the Jewish Agency. Realizing this vision offers the Jewish Agency a true opportunity to impact the Jewish future and to ensure our position at the nexus of the relationship between Israel and the Jewish world.

I have agreed with the chairman of the executive that I will remain in my position until the end of the February 2010 Board of Governors meetings which are to take place in St. Petersburg, and during this time I will also assist in the search for my replacement, and help ease the chosen candidate’s path into his or her new position.

Beyond that, I will continue to help the chairman of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish Agency itself in every way that I can and from wherever I may be.

In thanks and with deep emotion,
Moshe Vigdor