WATCH LIVE: click here to watch live coverage of the WJC Governing Board - beginning Sunday, 19 June 2011, 7 p.m. Jerusalem time (6 p.m. CET, 5 p.m. BST, 4 p.m. GMT, 12 p.m. EST).
On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the world’s foremost political Jewish organization, leaders of Jewish communities from around the world will gather in Jerusalem from Sunday evening, 19 June, to Tuesday, 21 June 2011, for the annual meeting of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress (WJC). The Governing Board, chaired by Eduardo Elsztain from Argentina, will elect a new secretary-general of the WJC to succeed Michael Schneider. The WJC Executive has unanimously nominated the respected foreign policy expert from Israel, Daniel Diker, for the most senior WJC professional position.
The meetings come at a time of unprecedented volatility in the Middle East and for Israel. The meetings will be dedicated to presenting unified perspectives of the global Jewish community on issues like the Arab Spring and the proposed United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood. The centrality of Jerusalem – historically, spiritually and culturally – to the Jewish people will find its public expression in a ceremony at the Western Wall (Kotel) on Monday, where a Sefer Torah will be presented by the WJC to members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
“Perhaps more than ever before, the international community is witnessing a variety of pivotal changes which will impact very heavily on the global Jewish community,” said Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (pictured below speaking). “The purpose of this gathering is to enable the Jewish world to offer a united voice on these developments so that the vital interests of the global Jewish communities are recognized and acted upon.”
Israeli leaders, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (tbc), Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni will address the WJC gathering.
Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner, chairman of IDB Holdings, was presented with the WJC Herzl Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, a co-founder of the Friends of Israel Initiative, addressed the opening dinner on Sunday, and former president of Uruguay Luis Alberto Lacalle is scheduled to speak at a dinner on Monday celebrating the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the WJC.
The meeting in the Israeli capital is attended by around 150 leaders representing the 92 WJC member communities and affiliated organizations.
A video webcast is available on the WJC website - click here to watch proceedings from Sunday, 19 June 2011, 7 p.m. Jerusalem time (6 p.m. CET, 5 p.m. BST, 4 p.m. GMT, 12 p.m. EST).
SUNDAY, 19 JUNE 2011
19:00 OPENING DINNER
Address by the president of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, introduced by WJC President Ronald S. Lauder
WJC Herzl Award presented to Nochi Dankner, chairman, IDB Group
Address by Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru and founding member of the Friends of Israel Initiative, introduced by WJC Governing Board Chairman Eduardo Elsztain
MONDAY, 20 JUNE 2011
09:00 SESSION 1 – formal business
Call to Order and Remarks: Eduardo Elsztain, WJC Governing Board chairman
President's Report: Ronald S. Lauder
Treasurer's Report: Cobi Benatoff
Secretary General's Report: Michael Schneider
Election of secretary general
Acceptance remarks by incoming secretary general
Other Business (Minutes of Last Meeting; Presentation of Resolutions)
10:30 SESSION 2 – The Arab Revolutions
Panel: The Arab Revolutions and Iran: Strategic Implications for the Middle East, Israel, and the Jewish People
- Giora Eiland, Senior Research Associate at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University (former national security advisor of Israel)
- Oded Eran, Institute of National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University (former Israeli ambassador to Jordan; former Israeli ambassador to the European Union)
- Sima Shine, Head of Strategic Division, Ministry of Strategic Affairs of Israel
- Moderated by Dan Diker, WJC secretary general designate
12:00 ADDRESS by Avigdor Liberman, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Israel
14:00 SESSION 3 – REGIONS & COMMUNITIES
Reports from Regional Affiliates
- Shai Hermesh, WJC-Israel
- Moshe Kantor, European Jewish Congress
- Alexander Machkevitch, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress
- Evelyn Sommer, WJC-North America
- Jack Terpins, WJC-Latin America
15:00 SESSION 4: INTERNAL DEBATE & RESOLUTIONS (Closed Session)
16:30 PRESENTATION OF SEFER TORAH TO IDF AT THE KOTEL
Dancing of Sefer Torah into Kotel by WJC Executives
Presentation of Torah by WJC Governing Board Chairman Eduardo Elsztain
Acceptance by Rabbi Rafi Peretz, Chief Military Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces
19:30 DINNER: CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF THE WJC
Remarks by WJC President Ronald S. Lauder
Address by Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel (t.b.c.)
Address by Luis Alberto Lacalle, former president of Uruguay
TUESDAY, 21 JUNE 2011
09:00 SESSION 5 – The palestinian bid for recognition of statehood at the United Nations (September 2011)
PRESENTATION: Palestinian Unilateralism and the State of Israel: Freedom and Democracy or Chaos and Instability?
- "The Palestinian Manoeuvre": Khaled Abu Toameh, Arab affairs correspondent, Jerusalem Post
- "The National Security-Defense Perspective": Yosef Kuperwasser, Director General, Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs
- “The Legal-Diplomatic Perspective”: Alan Baker, Director of ICA, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (former Israeli ambassador to Canada)
11:00 PANEL: Israel, the Palestinians and the Middle East: Between Liberal Democracy and State Failure
- Amichai Magen, Head of Political Development and Senior Researcher, International Institute for Counterterrorism, IDC Herzliya, and World Jewish Diplomatic Corps member - Moderator
- Harel Ben-Ari, Law Lecturer, Bar-Ilan University
- Lisa Levy, World Jewish Diplomatic Corps member
- Elizabeth Samson, Visiting Fellow, The Hudson Institute, and World Jewish Diplomatic Corps member
12:00 ADDRESS: MK Daniel Ayalon, deputy minister of foreign affairs of Israel
CLOSING ADDRESS: MK Tzipi Livni, leader of the opposition