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Lauder re-elected to head WJC

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ronald Lauder was re-elected president of the World Jewish Congress.

The 13th Plenary Assembly on Monday in Jerusalem also confirmed Eduardo Elsztain of Argentina as the new chairman of the WJC Governing Board, succeeding Matthew Bronfman.

Speaking to the delegates, Lauder emphasized Diaspora Jewry’s unwavering support for the State of Israel, especially in the face of threats by terrorist organizations. He criticized countries and international bodies such as the United Nations for applying "double standards" when it comes to Israel.

Israeli President Shimon Peres told delegates that Israel was right to defend itself against thousands of rockets launched by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

"Instead of investing in the future, the Palestinian people, Hamas is buying arms to fight against Israel," Peres said.  

Two candidates in the Feb. 10 race for prime minister — Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Labor Party leader, and Likud Party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu — addressed the delegates. Diaspora Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog also spoke.

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