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February 20, 2013 5:03 pm

Sharansky Re-elected as Jewish Agency Chairman

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Former Israeli minister and political prisoner, Natan Sharansky. Photo: wiki commons.

Members of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Board of Governors has re-elected Natan Sharansky for another term as JAFI’s chairman of the executive, Israel Hayom reported. He was first elected to the position in June 2009.

Elections for Jewish Agency chairman are held at the closing session of the board meeting, which took place in Jerusalem this week. The Board of Governors meet three times a year, with participants from Jewish communities and organizations from Israel and around the world.

Sharansky, perhaps the best-known “refusenik,” famously spent nine years in the Soviet Gulag. He established the Yisrael B’Aliyah party in Israel and served as deputy prime minister, and for the last few years has overseen JAFI’s shift in attention from aliyah to building global Jewish identity.

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“Many Jews in the world are spending time in ‘repairing the world activities,’ or tikkun olam activities,” Sharansky said in an interview with last year. “But unfortunately, for many of them, that is a way for them to abandon their Jewishness, to abandon their identity. We believe that it has to be absolutely the opposite. It is very important that they understand that the source of the energy, the motivation to make the world better all comes from your connection to your identity and to your family.”

Meanwhile, the JAFI Board of Governors on Tuesday called on U.S. President Barack Obama to take immediate action for the release of Jonathan Pollard, who has been imprisoned in the U.S. for 27 years on charges of espionage.

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