Billionaire Tisch to be next Jewish Agency board chair

Businessman has held several prominent positions in the Jewish establishment before.

February 21, 2011 05:13
1 minute read.
James Tisch and Natan Sharansky

Tisch Sharansky 311. (photo credit: Brian Hendler)

Billionaire businessman James Tisch is expected to be voted in as the next chairman of the Jewish Agency’s board of governors on Tuesday during its meeting in Jerusalem.

The expected chairman of the body tasked with overseeing the Jewish organization’s activities has held several prominent positions in the Jewish establishment before, including tenures as the chairman of the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and president of the New York Jewish Federation.

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Tisch, 58, is a scion of the one of the wealthiest Jewish families in the US, which owns Loews, a holding company which started out as a theater chain, and donates millions to Jewish causes in Israel and around the world. On Sunday he was made a member of the board of governors so he could become a nominee ahead of the scheduled vote. Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency’s proposed strategic plan that would put a new emphasis on building Jewish identity in Israel and the Diaspora passed another hurdle on Sunday after it was approved by the board of governors in a vote.

“It’s a new era,” agency chairman Natan Sharansky said. “Motivation to make aliya today stems from a strong Jewish-Zionist identity and not distress related to the economy or personal safety.”

The proposal needs to be green-lighted by the organization’s assembly in June in order for it to be officially adopted, Jewish Agency officials said.

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