JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - The Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky addressed the opening plenary of the February Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency which is taking place this week In Jerusalem. In his address, Sharansky told the audience that the new Knesset includes many more members who share an interest in promoting issues of Jewish identity.
“It is increasingly clear that world Jewry depends on Israel and Israel depends on world Jewry. From left to right, the new Knesset includes many new members who share this belief. Today, we have many new partners in the Knesset for our work.” He added that “Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu has addressed this forum many times and it is clear that he is strongly committed to supporting the interests of world Jewry.”
Sharansky noted that the new Knesset includes many professors, educators and rabbis who have helped promote Jewish identity in Israel: “For the first time the Knesset now includes many members who were involved in educational activities to strengthen both the Jewish identity of Israelis and their connection to the Diaspora.”
Sharansky highlighted the new Israel Experience programs that The Jewish Agency is developing to connect Jews to Israel which include Taglit-Birthright programs, Onward Israel—a new medium length program recently launched by The Jewish Agency and Masa Israel (a joint project of the government of Israel and The Jewish Agency). Sharansky noted that: “There is a continuum of participation in our programs, from short term to long term to Aliyah. For example, we have Birthright and Masa Israel programs for doctors which then lead many doctors to make Aliyah through The Jewish Agency.”
The Board of Governors also received a briefing on the situation of Jewish communities in the Arab and Muslim world.
The Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency is comprised of organizations from around the world and meets three times a year under the leadership of the Chairman of the Board of Governors James S. Tisch, to hold in depth strategic discussions about issues affecting the Jewish world and Israeli society and to formulate Jewish Agency policy.
Tisch also wished Sharansky Mazaltov on his Bar Mitzvah which he celebrated recently on his 65th birthday, where he was called up to read Parashat Bo.