Doron Almog has been nominated as the next chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, ending a more than year-long period during which the agency - the largest Jewish non-profit organization in the world - has been led by an interim head after the previous chairman, Isaac Herzog, was named president of Israel last year.
The news of Almog’s nomination was greeted positively in religious Jewish circles.
“We congratulate general (retired) and recipient of the Israel prize Doron Almog on his being chosen as chairman for the Jewish Agency for Israel,” remarked Rabbi Pesach Lerner, chairman of the Eretz Hakodesh chareidi faction of the WZO. “His contributions to the security of the State of Israel and his many important contributions to the greater society are a source of Jewish pride for all of us. We wish him much success in his future activities on behalf of the Jewish people.”
Born in Rishon Letzion, Almog and his wife Didi have been sources of inspiration to many, having endured various personal challenges with strength and faith. Their son Eran – named after Almog’s brother Eran, a soldier in the IDF Armored Corps who was killed in action during the Yom Kippur War - was born with brain damage, suffered from severe autism and mental retardation, and died at age 23 in 2007. Their daughter Shohamwas born with a severe injury to an artery in her heart and died a month after her birth in 1991.
Almog founded Aleh Negev, a village for the disabled that provides residential, medical and social services to the handicapped of southern Israel.
His nomination will need to be approved by the Jewish Agency board of governors at its plenary hearing next month.
The 71-year-old nominee fought in the Yom Kippur War as a company commander on the Sinai front and later led a force of officers and soldiers in Operation Entebbe, and was the first soldier to land on the runway at Entebbe.
Almog was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement – the country’s highest honor – in 2016.
Eretz Hakodesh had lobbied strongly for the new head of the Jewish Agency to be an individual not involved in the political world, but someone who would focus on the primary task of the agency of “bringing Jews to Israel and Israel to Jews around the world.”
“Doron Almog is well respected in all circles,” remarked Rabbi Nechemya Malinowitz, director of Igud Yeshivos and Seminaries Bnei Chul and director of Eretz Hakodesh in Israel. “He is someone who will be focused on the Jewish Agency’s goals, while protecting the religious community and its ideals.”
"I congratulate my friend, Doron Almog, winner of the Israel Prize, for his appointment as chairman for the Jewish Agency," said President Isaac Herzog. "This is a very important role that aims to connect the State of Israel to the Diaspora. I'm certain that his experience and his abilities will take this important organization far.”
Rabbi Pesach Lerneris Chairman of Eretz HaKodesh faction, WZO