Elazar Stern: I withdraw candidacy with clean hands and a full heart.

Intelligence Minister explains decision to withdraw candidacy for leadership of the Jewish Agency.

Tags: Elazar Stern
Minister Elazar Stern ,

MK Elazar Stern
MK Elazar Stern
Photo: Miriam Alster, Flash 90

For forty-seven years I have served the Israeli public. As a soldier of Israel and the Jewish people. Committed to Israel’s security, to Israeli society, and to the Jewish people. Committed to advancing the values and goals which I’ve stood for my entire life in every role in which I’ve been called to serve or for which I’ve volunteered.

I’ve initiated and promoted social enterprises, from conversion and the IDF’s Nativ course, to the IDF’s bone marrow donation system and Witnesses in Uniform, which has brought thousands of IDF commanders and soldiers to learn first-hand about the horrors of the Holocaust and in doing so, has helped define the IDF’s unique social and educational role in both Israeli society and the Jewish world. I’ve led the Foundation for the Welfare of Holocaust Survivors, the National Project for Ethiopian Immigrants, and helped safeguard Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. All of these efforts were an expression of the deep responsibility I feel for our future as a people and as a state.

I’m not always politically correct and sometime maybe not well-spoken. But I’m always faithful to the truth, to my values, and to doing good. This was also the case when I came out in an interview against unfairness that took place in the process of appointing the new chief of the Israel Security Agency.

I chose to run for Chairman of the Jewish Agency in order to give further expression to the two pillars of my parents’ home: the promise of Never Again and never to discriminate between people, not according to religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation. According to these values, I educated and trained many thousands of IDF officers and soldiers and I am proud of them. In every place I have been, I have acted for equality, for the preservation of dignity, and for a space which allows for complaints and their proper handling. I have always shown zero tolerance for sexual harassment or the harming of any woman or man.

With that, in the current atmosphere, I do not find it right at this time to present myself for election as Chairman of the Jewish Agency. I do so with clean hands and with a full heart, and I know all of my years and past actions are evidence of my true ways.

I apologize to anyone who was hurt by my words and the interpretation given to them, and to my family who stand firm despite the difficulty. I will continue to act to the best of my ability, wherever I am, to secure a better future for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.