November 1, 2006 / 10 Cheshvan 5767
The fall session of the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors meetings, held last week in Jerusalem, was a wonderful example of the support and solidarity of the Jewish people with the North. During the conference, the activities of the Jewish Agency were widely recognized and discussed, along with the new challenges as we begin our work to help rebuild the northern region over the coming years.
I am delighted to report that members of the Board, delegates from the Jewish communities throughout the world together with Israeli representatives, were afforded the opportunity to spend a day touring the North. It was during these trips that they experienced and learned firsthand from the residents – many of them children and youth – of the many new initiatives of Jewish Agency. At the end of the day, we gathered for a celebratory salute to the north where many of the mayors of northern cities and towns expressed their deep appreciation and gratitude to us, the Jewish Agency and our staff, for standing beside them during the war. They further expressed their hope and desire for continued partnership in the future.
A tribute dinner was held, honoring members of the business community of Israel who answered our call and stepped up during the war to help us evacuate 40,000 children from the North to safe summer camp programs in the center of the country. I would like to offer my personal gratitude to the many Israeli companies and businesses that placed their trust in us, the Jewish Agency, to act as their loyal partner in this spectacular endeavor. I am confident that this partnership will serve as the foundation for continued cooperative efforts in the future in a variety of projects and initiatives at the top of our agenda.
I would like to say a few words about our 2007 budget. I am proud to share with you that, in comparison to years gone by, we are currently undergoing a process of expansion and growth. This new budget is one of vision, advancement and boldness; all reflecting our collective faith in the future of the Jewish Agency and further solidifying our role as a central entity in the Jewish world, responsible for encouraging Aliyah to Israel, expanding Jewish education and connecting the next generation with Israel and finally, reducing the gaps in the education of youth living in areas of national priority in Israel.
I would like to utilize this platform to express my gratitude to the donors, namely the United Jewish Communities of North America (UJC) and Keren Hayesod, who, through their trust and support, allowed us to increase and expand our activities in all of our areas of operation.
In the next few days, I will see many of you in Los Angeles at the General Assembly (GA) of the UJC, along with the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Ehud Olmert, who will be participating for the first time in six years, together with a number of Israeli Knesset Ministers. I have no doubt that this representation illustrates the importance attributed to the GA, and exemplifies the key positions the UJC and its donors hold with respect to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
I am certain that this will be another opportunity for us, the Jewish Agency, to present our activities and expand our circle of partners from within the central organizations and entities of World Jewry.