Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recommended on Monday that Natan Sharansky be appointed to a second four-year term as chairman of the Jewish Agency.
“I have come to request that the Board of Governors extend your term by another four years,” Netanyahu said, addressing the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency.
Netanyahu called Sharansky a “symbol of Jewish unity and triumph of the Jewish people over adversity,” saying he has “always worked tirelessly to secure the Jewish future.”
“The de-legitimization of Israel in the face of attempts to destroy it is one of the great moral failures of our time”, the prime minister asserted. “We should stand up for Israel and the truth. I cannot think of anyone better suited for that than you. I value your commitment to Jewish education and values and to the Jewish state.”
Netanyahu further emphasized the need for the Jewish people to remain united in order to confront the many challenges that lie ahead.
“We face great changes in the regimes around us and the weapons around us. I don’t believe that we can do that without unity,” he said. “I am trying to build a broad national unity government which will extend to the whole Jewish world,” the prime minister added, reflecting on coalition negotiations.
During his tenure, Sharansky, whose term as chairman of the international Jewish organization is due to end this June, sparked controversy by deciding to place greater emphasis on building bridges between Israel and Diaspora Jewry and less on the organization’s traditional mission of promoting aliyah.
While previously the prime minister of Israel had the authority to appoint the chairman of the quasi-governmental agency at his own discretion, recently the decision has required the approval of the Board of Governors.
The Jewish Agency Board of Governors is comprised of organizations from around the world and meets three times a year under the leadership of the Chairman of the Board of Governors James S. Tisch and the Chairman of the Executive Natan Sharansky to hold in depth strategic discussions about issues affecting the Jewish world and Israeli society and to formulate Jewish Agency policy.