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July 08, 1994 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-07-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Board Of Governors
Extends Leket's Term

For 24 Months



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Jerusalem (JTA) — As antici-
pated, the Jewish Agency's board
of governors extended Yehiel
Leket's term as acting chairman
of the agency and the World Zion-
ist Organization until its next
meeting in October.
The move essentially buys
time for the Diaspora fund-rais-
ers to try to find another candi-
date for the post, while Mr.Leket
will use the extension to demon-
strate that the best man already
occupies it.
Mr. Leket was appointed act-
ing chairman in February to re-
place Simcha Dinitz, who stepped
aside after being indicted on
charges of fraud related to the al-
leged misuse of agency credit
cards.
The struggle over the chair-
man's post reflects the compli-
cated organizational structure of
the agency, whose $500 million
budget represents the bulk of the
money raised for Israel by the
United Jewish Appeal and by
Keren Hayesod, UJA's interna-
tional sibling.
The structure attempts to bal-
ance power between Diaspora
fund-raising organizations and
the WZO, comprised of democra-
tically chosen representatives of
Israel's political parties and Di-
aspora Zionist organizations.
The chairman is elected with-
in the Israeli party system but
must be ratified by the fund-
raisers.
The board of governors was
meeting against the backdrop of
calls by Deputy Foreign Minister
Yossi Beilin to dismantle the
Jewish Agency because it is an
outmoded form of Israel-Diaspo-
ra partnership.
Mr. Rabin has dismissed such
calls as nonsense and damaging
to the fund-raising campaigns.
At the board meeting, board of
governors chairman Mendel
Kaplan, who represents the fund-
raisers, praised Mr. Leket's job
performance "under very difficult
circumstances" and said "there is
nothing more we could have
asked of him."
But Mr. Kaplan appeared to
go to great lengths to explain that
the extension was a technical-
requirement and not an en-
dorsement of Mr. Leket for the
top job.
Mr. Leket's acting chairman-
ship ended officially on June 10,
rendering him unable to sign of-
ficial agency documents without
a board-approved extension.
Mr. Kaplan said that while it
is in the "best interest of the
organization" to pick a perma-
nent chairman as soon as pos-
sible, the board has been unable
to come to an agreement with

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on
a candidate.
Mr. Rabin heads the Labor
Party, whose central committee
must elect the chairman of the
Jewish Agency and WZO.
Mr. Kaplan and members of
the board's committee which

Yossi Benin calls for dismantling the
Jewish Agency.

must approve the candidate for
chairman have, in recent days,
informed Mr. Rabin they want
former Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo
Lahat for the job.
Mr. Lahat recently resigned
from the Likud Party but does
not belong to Labor.
That means he cannot be put
forward by Mr. Rabin without
Mr. Rabin flouting the rules and
antagonizing his party at a time
when the party is already riddled
with chaos and infighting.

South Africa
Embargo Lifted

Jerusalem (JTA) — The govern-
ment this week lifted Israel's sev-
en-year embargo on the sale of
arms to South Africa.
The original ban, passed in
March 1987, did not impose a full
arms embargo. It allowed for ex-
isting contracts with South Africa
to be honored but prohibited any
new agreements from being
signed.
South Africa ended its
apartheid system and held its
first all-race democratic elections
in April.
Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres told the Knesset that a del-
egation from South Africa had
visited Israel last November to
work out a cooperation agree-
ment with the Israel Defense
Force on pre-conscript paramil-
itary training.

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