Labor party leader Avi Gabbay.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
In the conflict between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and North American Jewry, the people of Israel have decided to back their coreligionists abroad and not their prime minister, Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said Wednesday on a visit to New York.
Gabbay’s first trip abroad as a candidate for prime minister began with meetings in the Big Apple with Consul-General Dani Dayan, Jewish Federations of North America president Jerry Silverman, and Meryl Lynch vice chairman Tom Nides, a former US deputy secretary of state for management and resources.
“The rift with American Jewry stems from the lack of leadership of Netanyahu, who abandoned the arena for narrow political considerations,” Gabbay said in the meetings. “I came in order to listen, to give strength to American Jews and tell them that, for the people of Israel, not everything is political, and the nation is completely with them.”
Gabbay praised American Jews for “their decisive contribution to Israel’s security capabilities.” He said US Jews were “part of Israel’s defense system.”
He said following the meetings that the Americans he met had heard of recent cases of alleged corruption in Israel and of bills that could harm its democracy and “are just as worried as we are.”
In the weeklong visit to New York and Washington, Gabbay will meet with other American Jewish leaders and with officials in Washington and will take part in the Saban Forum in the US capital.
He will return in time to deliver an address in English at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on December 6 at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem hotel.
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