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June 16, 2022 1:39 pm

Retired IDF General, Disability Advocate Tapped as Next Jewish Agency Chair

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Didi and Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, founders of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left). Photo: ADI.

A retired Israeli general was unanimously chosen on Thursday to serve as the next chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog was selected by the organization’s nominating committee to assume its highest post for the next four years. “We are confident he will be dedicated to our mission of keeping the Jewish people connected to each other and to Israel,” the Jewish Agency said.

Founded in 1929 by Chaim Weizmann, the Jewish Agency seeks to help Jewish development of, and immigration to, the State of Israel.

Isaac Herzog, who served as the organization’s most recent chairman of the executive before assuming the presidency of the State of Israel, welcomed Almog’s nomination. “This is a very important role in the Jewish world that seeks to connect the State of Israel and diaspora Jewry, and the Jewish world and our state; that influences Israeli society, and aliyah and absorption,” he said. “I am confident that his talents, experience, and capabilities will drive this important organization forward.”

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During his military career, Almog gained extensive experience in special forces operations, having participated in the rescue of more than 100 hostages from Palestinian and German terrorists in Entebbe in 1976, as well as the covert airlift of thousands of Ethiopian Jews during Operation Moses in 1984. He helmed the IDF’s Southern Command between 2000 and 2003, overseeing the border with Gaza during part of the Second Intifada.

Almog is also the founder and chairman of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, a rehabilitative village in southern Israel that provides care for individuals with special needs. The village was established in memory of Almog’s late son, Eran, who was born with autism and developmental delays. Named after Almog’s brother, who was killed in the Yom Kippur War, Eran passed away in 2007 at the age of 23.

Almog was honored in 2016 with the prestigious Israel Prize for “Lifetime Achievement” for his work in advancing care for people with disabilities.

Commending his nomination on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Almog “represents everything that is beautiful in Israel.”

“Doron expresses military and civilian heroism, a deep love for the nation of Israel, to the land and its people,” he added.

Almog’s appointment was also applauded abroad, with the Jewish Federations of North America describing him as “a highly admired professional who has dedicated his life to the Jewish people, tikkun olam, and empowering the most vulnerable in Israeli society, values that our North American Jewish community deeply cherishes.”

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