Keren Hayesod gets new chairman

Unlike the previous Keren Hayesod chairman Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, who resigned over allegations in the “Case 3000” submarine affair, Grundwerg is not a politician but a professional appointment.

October 25, 2018 18:42
2 minute read.
Sam Grundwerg

Sam Grundwerg. (photo credit: KEREN HAYESOD)

Sam Grundwerg, who has served as consul-general of Israel in Los Angeles since 2016, has been appointed World Chairman of the Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal (UIA) organization.

Keren Hayesod announced that the Miami Beach, Florida-born lawyer was appointed “following consultations with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu” and subject to approval by the World Zionist Organization in the coming weeks.

Unlike the previous Keren Hayesod chairman Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, who resigned over allegations in the Case 3000 “submarine affair,” Grundwerg is not a politician but a professional appointment. Keren Hayesod officials previously said that after the Jewish Agency picked Isaac Herzog as its chairman despite Netanyahu’s opposition, Keren Hayesod’s selection would be coordinated with the prime minister.

Keren Hayesod, one of Israel’s so-called national institutions, is the official fund-raising organization for the country around the world, outside of the US. In 2017 it had a total budget of $162 million, of which $140m. went to programs and projects, including for aliyah and absorption, strengthening Israeli society and programs for Jewish youth in the Diaspora.

Traditionally, Keren Hayesod has raised funds among Jewish communities in Western Europe, South Africa and Australia, as well as from Jewish philanthropists in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union, having campaigns in 45 countries.

Grundwerg was appointed Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles by Netanyahu in 2016, and was therefore the senior representative of the country to the southwestern United States. During his tenure as consul general, Grundwerg organized an Iftar fast-breaking meal during the month-long Muslim fast of Ramadan with basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 2017, and also helped bring US talk-show host Conan O’Brien to Israel in August of that year.

Before being appointed consul general, Grundwerg served as director general in Israel for the World Jewish Congress (WJC). Before that he worked as an attorney at a international law firm in Florida, and held positions in the fields of law and finance in the US and Israel.

Grundwerg moved to Israel in 1990. Chairman of the Keren Hayesod UIA World Board of Trustees David Koschitzky welcomed Grundwerg’s appointment, saying that he has “an impressive record of work in the Jewish world and in representing Israel.”

“World Jewish Congress CEO and executive vice president Robert Singer described Grundwerg as “a true professional with deep commitment to the well-being of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”

Gil Hoffman contributed to this article.

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