Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog calls for unity and pluralism in first US visit.
(photo credit: PR)
Isaac Herzog, the new chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, emphasized the importance of uniting world Jewry during his first visit to the United States since assuming his position earlier this month.
Herzog’s first destination outside of Israel was the US East Coast, where he visited Jewish Federations in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
“I’m very aware of the growing feeling that Diaspora Jews are drifting away from Israel,” Herzog told leaders of the federations and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) on Thursday.
“I will do everything in my power to act against this trend that’s increasingly dividing us. We are one nation, small amongst nations, that’s facing huge challenges. Only when we are together can we overcome them,” he added.
Herzog was unanimously approved
by the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors in June to replace Natan Sharansky as Jewish Agency chairman.
In his acceptance speech, Herzog immediately urged action to unify world Jewry.
“We need to do whatever we can to unify the Jewish people make sure the Jewish people are not torn apart,” Herzog said. “A Jew is a Jew is a Jew, and it doesn’t matter what kippa he wears or does not wear and what stream he belongs to. We are one people.”
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Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of JFNA, accompanied Herzog on his East Coast visit. Silverman praised the new Jewish Agency head as the “right man at the right time” to deal with the growing rift between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel.
“There are few people as qualified as Isaac Herzog to take the helm of The Jewish Agency for Israel at this critical moment. His knowledge of Israeli-Diaspora relations and his familiarity with the issues and concerns we are currently grappling with make him the right leader at the right time,” said Silverman.
Herzog is scheduled to return to North America in September, when he plans to visit Cleveland and other Jewish communities.
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