Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai will be considered for the position of Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Israeli media reported late on Saturday night.
Shai is among several candidates to head the Jewish Agency since Intelligence Services Minister Elazar Stern withdrew his candidacy last Tuesday in the wake of a political scandal in which he admitted to shredding anonymous complaints submitted while he was the head of the IDF's Manpower Directorate. Stern was scheduled to meet with the 10-member Jewish Agency chairmanship selection committee last Wednesday, a day after ultimately withdrawing from his nomination.
Shai, 74, has previously served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, as well as an IDF spokesman. He began his career in New York as press secretary for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations. He is the newest among several names raised recently for the post.
Other candidates include former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, former IDF Gen. Uzi Dayan, and several others. Former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who has not officially declared her candidacy, is speculated to have the support of Yair Lapid for the run.
Founded in 1929, the Jewish Agency for Israel is the foremost organization for facilitating “Aliyah”, or the immigration of diaspora Jews into Israel.
David Ben Gurion, who chaired the agency from 1935 to 1948, was central in the immigration of Jews into pre-state Israel during his leadership, part of which led to him ultimately being elected the first leader of the State of Israel.
The Jewish Agency chairmanship selection committee will convene on Monday afternoon to determine which candidates will be the finalists for the coveted post, sources on the committee said Thursday.