Jewish Agency’s Hagoel: Unity of our people must be preserved

Hagoel is chairman of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and acting chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency.

 Yaakov Hagoel (photo credit: FLASH90)
Yaakov Hagoel
(photo credit: FLASH90)

“My blessing for the Jewish people this Yom Ha’atzma’ut,” says Yaakov Hagoel, “is that we preserve and strengthen the unity of our people, with respect and consideration for each and every Jew.”

Hagoel is chairman of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and acting chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency. In that capacity, he has been leading the Jewish Agency’s efforts in Ukraine, which has provided crucial assistance for Jews caught in the conflict. 

“God has given us an opportunity at this time to lead a rescue operation that has saved 30,000 Ukrainian Jews,” he says. Hagoel adds that 12,000 of those who left Ukraine have decided to immigrate to Israel. 

“This is just the beginning of an operation that we have not experienced for decades, combining complex rescue efforts with aliyah, led by the Jewish Agency, with the mobilization of Jewish organizations of the entire Jewish people, both in Israel and the Diaspora, to help a part of our people that is in danger.”

Regarding the WZO, which this year is marking the 125th anniversary of its founding at the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, Hagoel notes, “The First Zionist Congress led to the awakening of the Jewish people and the establishment of the State of Israel. We are proud of this amazing Zionist enterprise.”

Hagoel has traveled to Ukraine numerous times during the past several weeks in his role as Jewish Agency head. He emphasizes the leading role that Israel has assumed in caring for the Jewish people around the world. 

“Every time I have been in Ukraine,” he notes, “I thank God that we have the State of Israel, which is the home of the entire Jewish people. Even those Jews who have decided not to live here know that it is their home, and in times of difficulty, there is someone here who will care for them.”

Both the WZO and the Jewish Agency, says Hagoel, are actively combating assimilation and antisemitism, which he says are two of the major challenges confronting the Jewish people currently. 

“Together, the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization have 1,000 Israeli shluchim (emissaries) around the world who are working to increase Jewish identity, Jewish education and Jewish pride,” says Hagoel. “We are certain that strengthening Jewish pride, Jewish education and Jewish identity can be a major part of a solution to these difficulties.”

According to Jewish Agency statistics, 38,000 immigrants have arrived in Israel since Independence Day 2021. Hagoel says that Israelis – both native-born sabras and those who have come on aliyah – need to welcome them with open arms. 

“We should do as much as possible to help them in their integration as Israeli citizens to help them realize their Zionist dream,” he says. And for those who are celebrating their first Israel Independence Day as Israelis, Hagoel says, “Welcome home!”