The De-Zionization of JAFI?

The Jewish Agency Assembly opens two weeks from today – with the Board of Governor’s Meeting immediately following. The issues of governance, that have been in discussion for the past two years, are high up on the agenda. If the proposed changes are voted in, the most visible difference will be the new nomination process for both senior lay and professional leaders. And this means Natan Sharansky’s candidacy for CEO is in trouble.

Rabbi Dick Hirsch, speaking to The Jerusalem Post, thinks these changes in governance will “de-zionize” JAFI. But as chairman of the WZO’s Zionist General Council he has everything to loose if they pass. Personally, I think he has gone to far and is injecting fear tactics into the discussion. Besides, the implication that “to separate the Jewish Agency from Israeli politics may have the effect of ‘de-Zionizing’ the agency” is, in my mind, absurd.

Interestingly, the last public battle between the WZO and the diaspora fundraising community was over Sharansky’s candidacy [for the same position] in 2005. The WZO lost that one.

from The Jerusalem Post:

Sharansky chairmanship of JA in danger

American funders’ wish to reform the leadership of the Jewish Agency may “de-Zionize” it by cutting its ties to the Israeli political system, a longtime member of the Jewish Agency Executive warned on Thursday.

The reform process, being pushed most strongly by the United Jewish Communities of North America, will weaken the representation of the World Zionist Organization – which brings together Israeli political parties and overseas Zionist groups and religious movements – in the leadership ranks of the Jewish Agency.