Israel opposition leader named head of Jewish Agency

June 24, 2018

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s opposition leader has been appointed chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, a non-governmental organization responsible for bridging Israel and Jewish communities worldwide.

The organization issued a statement Sunday that its board of governors unanimously elected Isaac Herzog, a former Labor Party leader, as its new chairman. Herzog was selected over Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His appointment is seen as a defeat for Netanyahu, but Herzog vowed to work closely with his political rival.

Herzog, who starts Aug. 1, succeeds outgoing chairman, former Soviet political prisoner Natan Sharansky. The Jewish Agency is a non-governmental umbrella organization that works closely with the Israeli government to encouraging Jewish immigration and developing ties with Diaspora communities. It had a $362 million budget in 2018.

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