WZO to elect an American-Israeli woman as its first ever President

The new role of the President of the WZO will be mainly symbolic, with no jurisdiction or authority.

 Tova Dorfman. (photo credit: ELAD GUTMAN, GPO)
Tova Dorfman.
(photo credit: ELAD GUTMAN, GPO)

For the first time in the history of the World Zionist Organization, a president will be introduced. The Expanded Zionist Executive is expected to vote for Yesh Atid member Tova Dorfman to be president of the WZO, a new role that is mainly symbolic, with no jurisdiction or authority, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The vote is expected to take place on Wednesday evening. Dorfman, an immigrant from the US, currently serves as the voluntary deputy chair of the organization and is the chair of the Israel Department and Holocaust Commemoration Worldwide. She has been executive director of the Steinhardt Family Foundation for the past 17 years.

Gil Segal will replace Dorfman

Her replacement as chair of WZO’s Israel Department is Gil Segal, who served as director-general of the Knesset during the Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government. One of the founders and leaders of the Yesh Atid Party, Segal had actually been in this position before joining the Knesset. Dorfman and Segal approved the expected appointments.

In 2020, the Post reported that Yesh Atid leader Lapid appointed Talmud scholar and former MK Dr. Ruth Calderon to be WZO president. Calderon, whose appointment needed to be approved by the organization, was supposed to become its first president and the first woman to hold any president or chair post in any Zionist institution.

 Gil Segal. (credit: GPO) Gil Segal. (credit: GPO)

The post comes with the automatic privilege of burial in Mount Herzl’s section of leaders. Yet, for a variety of reasons, Calderon didn’t take this role upon herself and it hasn’t been filled since. Therefore, Dorfman will be the first woman in a senior leadership position in the WZO and also the first American-Israeli in this type of position.

Raised in Oak Park, Michigan, Dorfman pursued her undergraduate and graduate studies in Los Angeles and upon their completion, she made aliyah in 1984. From 1984-93 she worked for Melitz – The Center for Jewish Zionist Education in Jerusalem.

Throughout her professional career, Dorfman has always been at the forefront of innovative, creative programming and has been singularly successful at bringing to the table of all of these programs key individuals and institutions that provide them with invaluable synergy. Tova lives with her husband, Dr. Raviv Schwartz, and their two sons, Matan and Yaniv, outside of Tel Aviv.