Oren, Kashriel 'giving up' on getting Jewish Agency job

Sources in the Agency said the US Jewish leaders are pushing for four candidates.

May 29, 2018 14:29
1 minute read.
People hold U.S. and Israel flags as they chant during a Pro-Israel rally.

People hold U.S. and Israel flags as they chant during a Pro-Israel rally outside the Israeli consulate in New York November 19, 2012.. (photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky will be leaving his post by next month’s Board of Governors meeting, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American Jewish leaders have still not agreed on a successor.

A search committee of agency, World Zionist Organization, Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod officials led by agency board chairman Michael Siegal and WZO chairman Avraham Duvdevani is set to meet in three weeks to decide on Sharansky’s successor, just ahead of the June 24-26 Board of Governors meeting.

Sources in the agency said the US Jewish leaders are pushing for four candidates: Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Deputy Minister Michael Oren, former ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, or Energy, Water, and National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz.

Oren spent some three hours with Sharansky on Sunday, but they did not discuss the position. Both Oren and Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said in private conversations that they have “given up” on getting the job.

“I am no longer an official candidate,” said Kashriel, who was chosen to be the candidate of World Likud, which received the agency chairmanship in a WZO agreement. ‘The Americans don’t want me, because I am a settler.”

Ahead of the last Board of Governors meeting, Netanyahu told US Jewish leaders that he wanted to give the job to then-Jerusalem Foundation president Yohanna Arbib-Perugia. Netanyahu offered the post to Arbib-Perugia, 49, after a public outcry over all the rumored candidates for the job being men.

She responded that she would be willing to take the post, and revealed on Tuesday that she has remained in touch with Netanyahu’s aides about it.

“I am not looking for anything, but I consider it a great honor to be asked by the prime minister,” she said. “I have devoted 30 years of my life to Israel and the Jewish people. I never expected this call to come, but if Am Yisrael [the Nation of Israel] needs me, I am here.”

Sources in the agency said Arbib-Perugia’s candidacy was opposed by US Jewish leaders, because they considered her an outsider.

“The Americans don’t think she would be up to the task of running the agency,” an agency official said. “They need someone who can work the Israeli political system,” said a former agency official.

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