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Lahis Resigns from Agency Post

February 20, 1981
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— Shmuel Lahis, for the past three years Director General of the Jewish Agency, resigned yesterday. The Agency Executive confirmed his resignation, and chairman Leon Dulzin said a small appointment committee would be set up at once to search for a successor.

Lahis’ resignation had been brewing for more than a week — ever since he publicly criticized the Agency and the government for their approach to “yerida.” He recommended that a Deputy Premier be named to lead the “national struggle” against yerida which, he warned, threatened the future of the State. But his recommendation was rejected by both the government and the Agency. Following this, he openly criticized the Agency — his employer — in a radio interview.

Max Fisher, chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, said yesterday that following Lahis’ open criticism it would have been unthinkable for him to stay on. “It is not a matter of freedom of speech,” Fisher said, but of fundamental rules of administration.

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