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Business first at the Jewish Agency’s BOG

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OK. The G.A. is over. Time for the Jewish Agency’s board of governors’ meetings.

There wasn’t even a half hour break Wednesday between the closing plenary of the G.A. and the opening plenary of the Jewish Agency’s gathering.

A much more intimate affair, the BOG is taking place over the next two days at the Crown Plaza Hotel, a couple of hundred meters away from the international conference center that housed the G.A.

The opening plenary certainly contained less glitz than that of the G.A. No dancers. No singers. No video.

But that also allowed the JAFI brass to get right to business, voting in a number of new board members:  Andy Gai, Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, Zvi Hasson, Kenneth Bob, Liat Ravner and Zeev Shor from the World Zionist Organization, and Cheryl Fishbein of the UJC.

The agency is in the middle of revising its bylaws — a draft of some of the proposed changes was proposed at the opening plenary.

Next, the agency’s chairman, Zeev Bielski, gave an address about the needs of the Jewish Agency.

Bielski said that the agency must focus on South Africa as a place where it  should turn its attention to recruiting prospective immigrants to Israel. South Africa is becoming an area of priority for the Jewish Agency, according to a spokesman for the organization, which expects some 500 new immigrants from the country in the next year.

But he saved the biggest news for last, announcing officially that he was taking a leave of absence to run for an office in the Knesset with the Kadima Party.

The leave of absence would take effect Wednesday or Thursday, Richie Pearlstone, the board of governors chair, told me.  A decision on who would replace Bielski should he win will be made after the primary.

Check out the JTA brief

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