Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Diaspora Leaders Tap Meir Shitrit for Wzo-jewish Agency Treasurer

March 24, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Diaspora leaders representing half of the 74 members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors have approved Knesset member Meir Shitrit, of Likud’s Herut wing, to be the next treasurer of the Jewish Agency.

The move virtually assures the former Yavne mayor’s election to the post. His candidacy is contingent on the approval of the Herut Central Committee in Israel, which is expected.

In a telephone interview, Shitrit said he viewed the treasurer’s post as a personal “mission.”

“It is a historic moment now, and I want to be part of this change,” said Shitrit. He was referring to the December elections of Mendel Kaplan as chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors and Simcha Dinitz as chairman of the World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency Executive.

Shitrit is in New York for interviews with the diaspora leaders, sometimes referred to as fund-raisers, who exercised their “advise and consent” role in filling the second most powerful position in the World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency Executive.

The diaspora leaders already had rejected three other Likud candidates for the position, since the World Zionist Congress convened in December. Under a power-sharing agreement, the offices of chairman and treasurer are divided between Labor and Likud. Dinitz is a member of the Labor Party.

Shitrit cannot be formally elected to the treasurer’s post until the Board of Governors meets again, during the Jewish Agency Assembly that convenes June 26 in Israel. If approved by both the diaspora leaders and Herut, his election would then be a formality, as he would run unopposed.

Shitrit, born in Morocco, became mayor of the mostly Sephardic development town of Yavne in 1973, when he was only 24 years old. During the 1981 elections, he was one of six people under the age of 40 placed high on Herut’s slate of candidates.

Unlike many of his Herut counterparts, however, Shitrit maintains moderate views concerning the building of settlements in the West Bank, preferring that the money for those settlements be diverted to address social problems in the development towns.

Recommended from JTA