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Diaspora Education Programs United Under Single Authority

After more than two years of tough negotations, Diaspora leaders and Israeli officials agreed this week to set up a Jewish Education Authority to serve youth and schools around the world.

The final decision was made Monday by the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is meeting here this week. The Jewish Agency is a partnership between the World Zionist Organization and the main Diaspora fundraising bodies: the United Jewish Appeal in America and Keren Hayesod in other countries.

The new authority will bring most of the Diaspora Jewish education programs run by the Jewish Agency and the WZO under one roof. Together, the two organizations now spend about $50 million annually on Jewish education outside Israel.

The authority is also supposed to enable the Diaspora communities and organizations served by these programs to have more influence over their design and operation.

The authority, which is to start operating next April, was approved by the Board of Governors despite the vehement opposition of Likud leaders in the Jewish Agency, who felt they were not allotted enough key positions on the new body. Likud leaders tried to get Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to block the establishment of the authority, but failed.

The ruffled Likud feathers were eventually smoothed when it was agreed to name one of their leaders, Shlomo Gravetz, as deputy chairman of the authority’s Executive. The chairmen will be Simcha Dinitz, representing the WZO, and Irwin Field, representing UJA and Keren Hayesod.

The authority will be composed of a 12-member Executive and a 36-member Commission, which is supposed to set policy and oversee the work of the Executive.

Dotan is suspected of offering and accepting millions of dollars in bribes in connection with the purchase of American aircraft engines and spare parts for the Israeli air force. He served with the IDF’s procurement mission in New York in 1984 and 1985.

Dotan is believed to be the highest-ranking IDF officer ever charged with fraud.

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