Selection committee to vote on next chairman of Jewish Agency

The candidates to be voted on include IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Doron Almog. It isn't clear if other candidates will also be nominated.

The Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
The Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The final vote for the next chairman of the Jewish Agency will take place on Thursday and the 10 member search committee hopes to be able to finish a year’s work.

The candidates to be voted on are IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Doron Almog and Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll. It is unclear if other candidates, such as former ambassador Mark Regev and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, will also be nominated.

Almog, the committee’s most popular candidate, is founder and chairman of ADI Negev Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village (formerly ALEH Negev Nahalat Eran), which provides residential, medical and social services to the disabled.

The village was named in memory of Eran Almog, the late son of Doron and Didi Almog. As OC Southern Command in the early 2000s, Almog was in charge of securing the border with the Gaza Strip.

Since most candidates’ names have been leaked to the media, a new and nonofficial subcommittee has been created to finalize a list of candidates who can win a consensus.

Their names will then go to the full committee. The four subcommittee members are WZO chairman and interim Jewish Agency chairman Yaakov Hagoel, incoming Jewish Agency Board of Governors chairman Mark Wilf, outgoing Board of Governors chairman Michael Siegel and Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal) World Board of Trustees chairman Steven Lowy.

A packed race

This has been the race with the most candidates ever in the history of the agency. The candidates until now have been former MK Ruth Calderon, former MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh, ambassador Danny Danon, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, ambassador Michael Oren, Belgian businessman Roby Spiegel, former minister Omer Yankelevich, Anu Museum chairwomen Irina Nevzlin, former consul-general in New York Dani Dayan (who quit the race and became chairman of Yad Vashem), Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who was mentioned as a candidate. The frontrunner at the beginning of the race was Elazar Stern, who pulled out after a controversial radio interview.

One of the candidates, Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, has decided to quit on Wednesday. “Last week I examined the possibility of running,” he tweeted. “I understand there is a leading and worthy candidate for the position.”

Prior to entering politics, Roll was a model and a lawyer. He is married to famous Israeli pop singer Harel Skaat and the two are fathers to two children. Roll is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has been promoting an agenda of connecting young Jews in the US to Israel and Zionism through social media, mainly TikTok.

If one of the candidates receives nine out of 10 votes, they will become the next chairman of the Jewish Agency.