'Low turnout by Israelis at GA leaves much to be desired'

MK Wilf notes that she was one of few political officials to travel to Denver: "It shouldn't be our desired relationship with Diaspora Jewry."

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER,
November 10, 2011 17:39
1 minute read.
Independence MK Einat Wilf

Labor MK Einat Wilf. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The government should have sent a higher-ranking delegation to the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Denver this week, MK Einat Wilf said on Wednesday.

“It turned out in hindsight that besides the professional diplomats of the Foreign Ministry I was the only public official from Israel to make the excruciating trip to be with the representatives of the Jewish community in North America,” she wrote on her Facebook profile.

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“Neither the prime minister, his deputy, a minister nor even the chairman of the Knesset Aliya and Absorption Committee were there.”

Besides Wilf, MK Shaul Mofaz also attended the gathering, but this year’s turnout was relatively low in comparison with last year’s, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Tzipi Livni were both in attendance.

“I don’t know if any far-reaching conclusions can be made but it certainly shouldn’t be our desired relationship with Diaspora Jewry,” she added.

The office of Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said in response that he would have liked to address the GA panel on the Negev, but there was a scheduling conflict that couldn’t be resolved. Contrary to reports that Shalom had canceled, his office said that the minister never committed to attending the GA. Instead, he sent the next-highest-ranking option, the ministry’s director-general.

“We are honored and grateful to have had senior Israeli officials such as MKs Shaul Mofaz and Einat Wilf, as well as Ambassador [Michael] Oren, at the GA,” JFNA responded. “Of course we shared the prime minister’s disappointment that he could not attend but we look forward to meeting with him and other Israeli representatives at next year’s GA in Baltimore.”

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