Former Jewish Agency treasurer joining Knesset

Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called former Jewish Agency treasurer Shai Hermesh on Sunday evening to inform him that he would be joining the Knesset following the resignation of MK Uriel Reichman. Hermesh was placed 30th on the Kadima Knesset list and was surprised when the party did not receive enough mandates in the March 28 election for him to enter the Knesset. He will join the Knesset later this week after Reichman's resignation becomes official. "The biggest surprise for me was not the news I received tonight but the news on March 28 when I didn't get in," Hermesh told The Jerusalem Post. "It's too bad a quality person like Reichman deprived the Knesset of his talents, but I am overjoyed that I will get to be an MK." Hermesh served as chairman of the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council for 15 years before becoming Agency treasurer four years ago. In both roles, he grew close to former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who asked him to join the Kadima list. Hermesh was instrumental in getting the Sharon family approval for burying Sharon's wife Lily on the flowery hilltop outside the family ranch. In the Knesset, Hermesh said he hopes to advance the settlement movement in the Galilee and the Negev, agriculture, immigrant absorption and the needs of the Jewish world that he learned about in the Jewish Agency, such as promoting international Jewish education and helping the Falash Mura. "I want the readers of The Jerusalem Post to know that they have a good ambassador for the Jewish world in the Knesset," Hermesh said.