With the leadership of the Jewish Agency gathered in Jerusalem for the first time in two and a half years because of COVID, Josh Schwarcz, Secretary General of the Jewish Agency, tells Israel National News that the meeting included some of the most important Jewish leaders in the world.

The meeting involved the board of governors of the Jewish Agency, which is composed of 200 international Jewish leaders.

“I would say that this is probably the largest gathering of Jewish leaders in Israel in the last two and a half years,” Schwarcz says.

The meeting also major significance because of their two new leaders.

“We’re very excited to have elected the new leadership of the Jewish Agency, first of all Major General Doron Almog, who is a hero of Israel. We elected him to be the new chairman of the Jewish Agency for a four-year term. We’re very excited. We’re also very excited to welcome Mark Wilf who just finished three years as chair of the Jewish Federations of North America to be our new chairman of the board.”

What spirit is Almog bringing to the Jewish Agency?

“He brings tremendous spirit and commitment and Zionism and a true love of the Jewish people and I think he'll be a great force for good,” Schwarcz says.

With the controversies regarding the various streams of Judaism, how does he see the Jewish Agency’s role?

“The Jewish Agency sees the unity of the Jewish people as one of our greatest goals and under the tent of the Jewish Agency are all walks of life in Judaism. We welcome everybody and we think it's important that the Jewish people be represented in the Jewish Agency by all walks of life,” he explains.

They are continuing to focus on aliyah, and he describes the current era as a “historic time.”

“We’re in historic times. We're going to be bringing this year to Israel, because of the war in Ukraine and from Ethiopia and other places, 50,000 olim at least. This is the largest number since the 1990s and this is something historic. We've had a decade of twenty, twenty-five or thirty thousand olim a year, and to go to over fifty thousand in one year is really historic.”