Podcast: Haviv Rettig Gur on the Jewish Agency in 2021

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The Jewish Agency for Israel is the largest Jewish nonprofit in the world. Founded in 1929, it incubated the state of Israel’s proto-government, and, upon the state’s declaration of independence, its officers became Israel’s ministers. Since then, it has brought thousands of Jews to the land of Israel, and it has invested in agriculture, housing, social services, and other programs crucial to Israel’s survival and prosperity. But that’s all mostly in the past. Now that a state has been established, and that most Diaspora communities are not in danger, what should the Jewish Agency do? What is its purpose?

Haviv Rettig Gur, a senior analyst for the Times of Israel, was a former communications director of the Jewish Agency, and so he has a few ideas about what it should be doing today. That question is especially pertinent now, as later this month a new agency chairman will be elected. In conversation with Mosaic’s editor, Jonathan Silver, Gur tries to make sense of the history, governance, strategy, and future of the Jewish world’s biggest nonprofit.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

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