JERUSALEM – The Jewish Agency for Israel's Board of Governors, comprised of hundreds of Jewish communal and organizational leaders from around the world, will hold its October meetings in southern Israel—rather than in Mexico, as originally planned—as an expression of solidarity with the Israeli people and the residents of Israel's south in light of Operation Protective Edge.
Chairman of the Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency Charles Ratner said: "When we at The Jewish Agency say kol yisra'el arevim zeh la-zeh – that all Jews are responsible for one another – we mean it. This decision by the Board of Governors is a tangible expression of the Jewish world's sense of solidarity with all the people of Israel and especially the residents of southern Israel, and we all look forward to conveying that support in person in October."
Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said: "This is a continuation of the Jewish people's massive expression of solidarity with Israel. Jewish communities and leaders around the world are doing whatever they can to strengthen their brothers and sisters in Israel, and particularly the residents of Israel's south. Thanks to the swift action of our partners in the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA, The Jewish Agency has taken 65,000 children and teens from southern Israel for recreational activities outside of the line of fire and has provided immediate financial aid to families impacted by rocket attacks."
During the course of the Board of Governors' October meetings, participants will tour Israel's south and meet with local residents. Sharansky added: "The Board of Governors' meetings in southern Israel will both express the solidarity of world Jewry with the residents of the region and help boost local businesses, which have been significantly hurt by the recent events."
The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel, which is comprised of hundreds of leaders from Jewish communities and organizations around the world, determines organizational policy and discusses strategic issues facing Israel and the Jewish world. The Board of Governors meets three times a year in Israel, generally in Jerusalem. Once every few years, the meetings take place in a Jewish community outside of Israel in order to explore the community's needs. This year, the October meetings were to have been hosted by the Jewish community of Mexico.
World Jewry's solidarity with Israel during Operation Protective Edge has been expressed via pro-Israel rallies and events in Jewish communities around the world, as well as through the arrival of dozens of solidarity missions to Israel and the southern part of the country. According to Jewish Agency data, more than 2,000 new immigrants chose to make Israel their home during the current escalation. Additionally, some 6,500 Jewish young people from abroad are currently participating in Jewish Agency programs in Israel.