The Jewish Agency
Board of Governors (“BOG”) Code of Ethics
[Updated version, approved by the Board of Governors July 2022]
The fundamental relationship between a BOG Member and the BOG should be one of trust; essential to trust is a commitment to honesty and integrity. Ethical conduct within this relationship imposes certain obligations. The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to set out standards of ethical conduct expected of all members of the BOG of The Jewish Agency and regular participants in Jewish Agency BOG meetings.
The provisions of this Code of Ethics apply to all: (i) members of the Executive (ii) members of the BOG; (iii) honorary members; (iv) associate members of the Executive; (v) associate members of the BOG; (vi) committee members; (vii) observers and regular invitees to the Executive and BOG meetings and (viii) professional staff, including Jewish Agency employees, who regularly participate in Executive and BOG meetings. Throughout the code, the term “Member” will refer to any of the above.
Each of the above will be required to accept and abide by this Code of Ethics as a condition of his/her appointment before taking office or when renewing a term of office or before being invited for the first time to regularly attend meetings of the Executive, the Board of Governors or its committees – as the case may be. In addition, each of the above will be required to sign this undertaking once a year. The signed undertakings shall be kept in the Office of the Secretary General.
2. Core Principles
Throughout this Code of Ethics, the BOG promotes these core principles:
Honest and Ethical Conduct
Courtesy, respect and dignity
3. Civil Discourse
It is expected that members will engage in respectful dialogue and discussion. While we value robust and vigorous debate about pressing issues, when differences spiral down into uncivil acrimony, individuals may be hurt in the process.
4. Committee of Ethics
A Committee of Ethics shall be constituted as a Committee of the BOG, and its role will be to handle inquiries and complaints relating to this Code of Ethics.
The committee will be appointed by the Chair of the BOG in consultation with the Chair of the Executive, with 50% members from the WZO, 30% members from UIA/JFNA and 20% members from KH. There will be a Chair and a Deputy Chair. The Chairperson of the Ethics, Standards and Governance Committee will serve as a member of the Ethics Committee.
A complaint may be submitted to the Chairperson of the Ethics Committee directly or via the Secretary General or via the Commissioner on Sexual Harassment (as the case may be). The Comptroller will examine complaints about Members that are not Jewish Agency employees, and the Deputy Director General for HR and or the Commissioner on Sexual Harassment (as the case may be) will examine complaints about Members that are Jewish Agency employees. The Comptroller and the Deputy Director General for HR and the Commissioner on Sexual Harassment will consult with the Legal Advisor during the examination of complaints, to the extent required.
Following the receipt of complaints and their examination by the Comptroller, the Deputy Director General for HR or the Commissioner on Sexual Harassment (as the case may be as detailed in Section 7 below), the committee will examine the findings regarding a Member that is not a Jewish Agency employee, and decide upon appropriate actions and discipline steps as needed. An interim report will be submitted to the Ethics Committee within 30 days of receipt of the complaint and additional reports shall be submitted every 30 days thereafter, pending the conclusion of the examination of the complaint.
The findings regarding a Member that is a Jewish Agency employee shall be reviewed by the Director General that will decide, together with the Deputy Director General for HR and the Commissioner on Sexual Harassment, upon appropriate actions and discipline steps as needed. The Director General of the Jewish Agency will report to the Ethics Committee on the actions and steps taken following a complaint regarding a Member that is a Jewish Agency employee, within 14 days from the conclusion of the examination and decision making.
An examination of a complaint in this Code of Ethics shall include, but not be limited to conducting interviews with the complainant, the alleged offender who is accused of misconduct and other persons, as well as scrutinizing readily available relevant circumstantial evidence such as email and phone text messages, and audio and video recordings. The examination of complaints will be done with the required sensitivity and confidentiality.
5. Confidentiality and Internal Information
Members are expected to respect the confidentiality of materials provided on a confidential basis as part of their duties as members. No member shall knowingly divulge any such information to any person other than another member unless the member is legally required to do so.
Members shall not use information obtained as a result of their involvement on the BOG for their personal benefit. Members shall avoid activities which are likely to create the impression that they have personally benefitted from confidential information received during the course of their duties as members.
A Member shall not directly or indirectly offer or accept payments, gifts, gratuities, privileges or other personal rewards which could be construed as interfering with the activities or affairs of the Jewish Agency.
The code prohibits any form of harassment, and in particular sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may include applying any force of a sexual nature, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of sexual nature including pictures as well as texting and other verbal, visual and technological harassment of a sexual nature. Allegations of harassment will be taken seriously and severe actions against a Member harassing another will be taken. Any Member found to have acted in violation of this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include a request to immediately resign from the BOG.
The Jewish Agency Commissioner on Sexual Harassment Complaints (Adv. Ayelet Noy Reinhorn, Tel: 02-6202106; email: AyeletN@jafi.org) who is assigned and trained under Israeli law to receive complaints on sexual harassment in the organization, will be the contact person to receive complaints in this context. Following receipt of a complaint from a Member, that is not a Jewish Agency employee, she will contact the Comptroller who will examine the complaint and report to the Ethics Committee that will discuss the complaint according to Section 4 above. In a case of a complaint regarding a Member that is a Jewish Agency employee, the Complaint will be examined in accordance with the Israeli law for the prevention of sexual harassment and the related procedures published by the Jewish Agency to its employees and according to section 4 above.
8. No Retaliation
If a Member becomes aware of any illegal or unethical conduct, or possible violation of this Code, he/she should report the information to the Committee of Ethics.
This Code of Ethics prohibits any and all forms of retaliation against any Member who: (a) in good faith provides any information or reports any corrupt conduct and/or activity; or (b) makes a good faith and appropriate complaint regarding violation of this Code; (c) assists in any investigation or the examination of an alleged violation of this code.
9. Conflicts of Interest
A Member is required to disclose the nature and extent of situations of conflict of interest. Such disclosure shall be made according to the provisions of Chapter X of the Jewish Agency By-Laws.*
10. Professional Staff
The handling of a complaint regarding professional staff and employees will be done according to Israeli law and Jewish Agency procedures which, where applicable, will prevail.
For proper disclosure, reporting and consulting on any questions regarding the Code of Ethics, (except for matters related to sexual harassment, which have a different reporting procedure) a member may choose to contact at any time any of the following: The Secretary General; The Comptroller; The Chairperson of the Board of Governors, The Chairperson of the Ethics Committee.
This Code of Ethics may be amended by a resolution of the BOG after appropriate consultation.
*Regarding Conflict of Interest, those who are required to disclose are defined in Chapter X of the By-Laws and not in this code.
I hereby undertake to accept and abide by this Code of Ethics:
Date ________________Name __________________Signature _______________________