MK Isaac Herzog.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog cannot become chairman of the Jewish Agency, because the job belongs to World Likud under World Zionist Organization agreements, the head of World Likud in the WZO, Yaakov Hagoel, said on Wednesday.
Sources in the agency said US Jewish leaders are pushing four possible candidates to replace Natan Sharansky when he leaves the post during the June 24-26 Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem: Herzog, Deputy Minister Michael Oren, former ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, or Energy, Water and National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz.
WZO head Avraham Duvdevani, who co-chairs a search committee of agency, WZO, Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod officials, has said the US Jewish leaders would ideally want Herzog, who is the most liberal of the four, but all four men are acceptable to them.
“As the largest faction in the WZO, World Likud will continue to lead the national institutions, in order to achieve the Zionist dream for the people and Land of Israel,” Hagoel told The Jerusalem Post when asked about Herzog.
Hagoel does not speak for Netanyahu, who heads the Likud, but he is the only one of authority in the Likud speaking about the matter.
Duvdevani has been trying for months to get a meeting with the prime minister to discuss the issue, which is coming down to the wire. Sharansky has reiterated that after nine years, he does not intend to remain a single extra day on the job, even to train his successor.
If Netanyahu does not end up recommending a candidate, the search committee is expected to meet with the four candidates and propose one of them on its own. If the committee turns to Herzog, it is possible that he will reject the offer and remain in national politics.
One possible scenario is that the American Jews will ask for Herzog, while Netanyahu will say he wants former Jerusalem Foundation president Yohanna Arbib-Perugia.
With both those candidates ruled out by the other side, the Americans could push for Oren, and Netanyahu for Steinitz. The wild card is Prosor, whose views and allegiances are the least known of the candidates.
Another possible scenario is that no Jewish Agency chairman will be appointed. While the agency has a vice chairman in David Breakstone of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement, its bylaws are unclear about who would run the organization in such a case.
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