Beginning his tenure last week as the chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog has been seeking to bridge the divide between Jews in Israel and Jews outside of the country by calling for unity and pluralism between the two groups.
The former Zionist Union leader visited Jewish Federations in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, promoting the Jewish Agency’s mission to “inspire Jews throughout the world to connect with their people, heritage, and land, and empower them to build a thriving Jewish future and a strong Israel.”
Herzog has viewed these meetings “to be of utmost importance in a reality of growing misgivings and misconceptions between Israel and Jews around the world in the Diaspora,” according to a statement.
He is expected to visit Cleveland and other Jewish communities in North America in early September.
“I intentionally went out to the field in my first week in office to learn about the unique needs of American communities and to explain my vision for the Jewish Agency to Jewish leaders and activists,” said Herzog. “In the coming weeks and months, I’ll continue these meetings in North America and the rest of the world. I also look forward to seeing many of them at [the Jewish Federation of North America’s] upcoming General Assembly that’s taking place in Israel this October.”
“Jewish people around the world and in Israel share a love for the Land of Israel and the State of Israel. While we have a sincere desire to maintain and strengthen the connection between us, I’m very aware of the growing feeling that Diaspora Jews are drifting away from Israel,” the former Knesset opposition leader continued. “I will do everything in my power to act against this trend that’s increasingly dividing us. We are one nation, small amongst nations, that’s facing huge challenges. Only when we are together can we overcome them.”
Herzog replaced Natan Sharansky, who served as the agency’s head for nine years.