The government has officially voted for the change of the name of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to the Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Ministry on Sunday. The change of the name of the ministry also included a transfer of the authorities of combating boycotts, sanctions and divestments (BDS) from the Foreign Ministry.
The government also approved the appointment of Avi Cohen Scali as director-general of the ministry. Cohen Scali previously served as the director general of the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry, as well as the Social Equality Ministry. He also held senior positions in the Prime Minister's Office, the Economy Ministry and the Finance Ministry. and other government bodies. He lives in Beit Shemesh, is married and the father of six.
"Avi Cohen Scali is a talented manager and has extensive knowledge of the work of the government ministries. I am confident that his appointment will cause the ministry to move forward."Amichai Chikli
Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Minister Amichai Chikli said in a press release on Sunday that "Cohen Scali is a talented manager and has extensive knowledge of the work of the government ministries. I am confident that his appointment will cause the ministry to move forward."
Cohen Scali was quoted in the press release saying that he enters this position "with excitement and a great sense of responsibility." He explained that "the ministry is entrusted with two national issues: The relations of the State of Israel with the Jewish people in the Diaspora and the uncompromising struggle to eradicate the phenomenon of antisemitism delegitimization to the State of Israel."
Outgoing director-general of the ministry Tziona Koenig-Yair added that she wishes "great success to the new director-general of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry Avi Cohen Scali." She added that "our relations with the Jewish communities in the world and the fight against antisemitism are of strategic importance to the State of Israel."
Diaspora Affairs and Combat Antisemitism Ministry gets new staff
The Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Ministry is expected to receive close to 30 employees of the Foreign Ministry, who worked for the Strategic Affairs Ministry till 2021, then the Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government closed their ministry down. The Strategic Affairs Ministry has been re-opened, with Ron Dermer as minister, but the focus of the ministry will be totally different and none of the former employees will continue with Dermer - rather with Chikli.
The Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Ministry is expected to receive an additional NIS 120 million in its budget for the activities of combating antisemitism and combating the BDS movement. In addition, a sum of about NIS 100 million (in four years) is expected to be dedicated to a semi-government-owned company that used to be called Concert and now is called Voices of Israel. The purpose of this company, which is a joint venture with Jewish and Israeli philanthropists, is to combat BDS and promote pro-Israel narratives worldwide.