Hundreds of Jewish leaders from the Diaspora and Israel are meeting Sunday in order to participate in The Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting, JAFI said in a statement issued over the weekend. Among the leaders set to address the group are Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog, Board of Governors chairman Charles A. Ratner and Executive Board chairman Natan Sharansky.“That Jewish leaders from around the world are gathering in Jerusalem at this time is a massive expression of solidarity with the people of Israel. The Jewish Agency will continue to extend a hand to the people of Israel in real time and offer immediate, practical assistance wherever and whenever necessary,” Sharansky said.The discussions during the three-day gathering will center on efforts by The Jewish Agency and by world Jewry to support the people of Israel in light of the security situation, as well as on the organization’s ongoing activities aimed at strengthening the State of Israel and the Jewish world. Representatives of Israel’s Arab, Beduin, and Druse communities who are involved in The Jewish Agency’s efforts to promote coexistence in Israel will also participate in the event.The Board will also discuss the increase in aliya (some 30,000 new immigrants have already come to Israel this year); efforts to strengthen young Jews’ connections to Israel; programs to promote coexistence in Israel and strengthen Israel’s socioeconomic periphery; and the fight against rising anti-Semitism and efforts to delegitimize Israel.In light of recent events, The Jewish Agency and UJA-Federation of New York have announced that they will assist dozens of small and medium businesses in Jerusalem in receiving loans to help offset the effects of the violence, at a total investment of more than NIS 5 million. An emergency fund will grant loans of up to NIS 100,000 per business at favorable rates. The UJA-Federation of New York Entrepreneurial Fund for Jerusalem is funded by UJA-Federation of New York and managed by The Jewish Agency Loan Funds. The fund has helped establish and expand some 300 businesses in Jerusalem and the surrounding area with loans totaling some NIS 48 million, creating more than 1,200 new jobs in the city and serving as one of the primary funding sources for businesses in the recreation and restaurant industries.At the same time, the Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror continues to provide immediate financial assistance to Israelis affected by the recent wave of terror attacks. The grants are made possible by contributions from The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod-UIA, and other donors. The initial assistance of some NIS 4,000 per family is meant to address urgent needs in the wake of an attack. Additionally, the fund will provide supplemental assistance of up to NIS 25,000 to each family recognized as victims of terror by Israel’s National Insurance Institute. Meanwhile, leaders of Jewish communities from around the world will gather in Rome on Tuesday for a meeting of the World Jewish Congress’s Governing Board. Nearly 150 delegates and guests will discuss the situation of Jews around the world, as well as the current tensions in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe and the Iranian threat. The following day, Pope Francis will receive the WJC leadership on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Vatican’s landmark declaration Nostra Aetate, which will be followed by a press conference by WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.The Governing Board meeting will be chaired by David de Rothschild. Discussions by Jewish community heads, delegates and young Jewish diplomats will focus on the implications facing Jewish communities in light of the various conflicts in the Middle East, including the threat of jihadist terrorism, the aftermath of the nuclear agreement with Iran, the growing attacks on Israel by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and the state of relations with other faith communities, the WJC said in a statement.