Jewish Agency to conduct ‘uncompromising assault on antisemitism’

Herzog: antisemitism and white supremacy in US ‘worries me a great deal’

Issac Herzog (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Issac Herzog
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Jewish Agency will conduct an “uncompromising assault on antisemitism” as part of a new strategic plan the organization has set itself for the coming decade.
It intends to partner with the Israeli government to work together with Jewish communities and organizations in the Diaspora to address the heightened levels of antisemitic sentiment and actions that have been witnessed in Europe, the US, Latin American and beyond, in recent years.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night, Herzog said he was particularly worried about the high levels of antisemitism witnessed in the US in recent years, saying that violence against Jews in the country, such as the Pittsburgh massacre, had never before been witnessed.
Along with its focus on antisemitism, the Jewish Agency’s 10-year plan will also seek to address and repair Israel’s relations with the Diaspora, particularly Jewish communities in North America; bolster Diaspora involvement in shaping the face of Israeli society; and continuing with its traditional role of encouraging aliyah.
The new plan will be approved by the Jewish Agency Board of Trustees when it convenes this week for three days starting Sunday.
“This is an historic moment for an organization that has held an historic role in life of the Jewish people,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog ahead of the launch of the new 10-year plan. “We will work to provide concrete solutions to the challenges facing the Jewish people – mending the rifts among our people, building a two-way bridge between Israel and world Jewry, encouraging aliyah and providing security for Jews around the world.”
Herzog said that hardly a day goes by without a new antisemitic attack somewhere in the world, pointing to an attack last week on a Jewish community center in Budapest, the attack on a synagogue in the German city of Halle, and ongoing incidents in Brooklyn, New York.
But he said that the heightened levels of antisemitism in the US are particularly worrying.
“The US which was always least troubling worries me a lot, because for the first time in the hundreds of years of Jews living in the New World, 12 Jews have been assassinated for being Jews,” said Herzog. “White supremacy is a challenge.”
In its focus on antisemitism, the Jewish Agency will tackle the issue in three ways: politically through contacts with heads of state, governments and parliaments; security through bolstering physical protection measures for communities; and education on antisemitism, xenophobia and racism.
On the educational level, the Jewish Agency will work with governments and transnational organizations such as the EU and the UN, to introduce educational programs “to tell story of Jewish people and of antisemitism” Herzog told the Post.
The organization also plans to utilize Israeli emissaries to engage in educational activities and to conduct research into antisemitism and significantly increase the number of emissaries serving on its behalf in Jewish communities around the world, which even now numbers more than 2,000.
In terms of it goal of healing rifts between Israel and the Diaspora, the Jewish Agency noted the points of conflict including the lack of religious pluralism in Israel and the failure to implement the Western Wall agreement.
Herzog said that connecting Jewish communities was of crucial importance for the global Jewish people.
“I see an enormous importance of connecting the Jewish people to each other, to get to know each other, to hold dialogue amidst differences, to respect and love Israel at heart, and understand the needs of Jewish communities in different countries, and to make sure all Jews feel safe,” he said.
Herzog also underlined the programs the Jewish Agency runs in sending emissaries around the Jewish world, as well as providing summer camps with counselors from Israel, and communities with its Shinshinim program in which young men and women perform a year of service abroad before their IDF service.
“The Jewish Agency founded the State of Israel and brought three million Jews on aliyah and established hundreds of communities throughout Israel,” noted Herzog. “Today we are refining our strategic mission for the coming decade, based on the challenges Jews are facing today.”