Joint List MK Ayman Odeh.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky issued a statement Friday following Joint List Head Ayman Odeh's refusal on Thursday to address a meeting of the Conference of Presidents because the meeting was held at premises shared by the Jewish Agency for Israel and other “Zionist entities.”
"It is unfortunate that members of Knesset from the Joint List are more interested in scoring cheap and expedient political points than they are in advancing the well-being of their communities," Sharansky said.
“We have had leaders of virtually every faction and party in the United States, Israel, from friendly and unfriendly countries, and none ever refused to appear. For a member of the Knesset to assert that he will not enter a premises because it has an association with Zionist entities, like the Jewish Agency, is disturbing and dismaying. Representatives of a broad spectrum of organizations came to hear him and were rightly upset by his decision not to appear, although he was in the building lobby,” said Stephen Greenberg, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president, of the organization.
The Conference of Presidents added, “We hope MK Odeh will reconsider his stance if he, indeed, wants to advance coexistence in Israel and promote understanding abroad.”
Sharansky called on Odeh and his colleagues to accept the Jewish Agency's programs, which don't cater exclusively to Jewish families.
"Thousands of Arab Israeli families enjoy a range of Jewish Agency programs, including our Youth Futures mentorship program, which has placed a particular emphasis on schoolchildren in Israel's Arab community; Masa Israel Journey and Project TEN, which run programs focused on Arab-Jewish coexistence and on serving underprivileged Arab citizens of Israel; and an innovative Jewish Agency high school opened just this year for Bedouin youth in the Negev," Sharansky said.
"Thousands of Arab Israelis have already found their way to The Jewish Agency's programs and to the dedicated professionals and volunteers who run them. It is high time MK Odeh and his colleagues did the same."