On 15 November 2021, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder and the WJC American Section were privileged to host Israeli Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked at the WJC American Section’s annual Governing Board meeting to discuss a wide range of topics affecting world Jewry.
The topics discussed during the closed-door conversation and question-and-answer session included the rise of antisemitism in Europe and in the United States, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish manifestations on university and college campuses, the importance of Jewish education in strengthening Jewish identity, and garnering support for Israel in the halls of power and in the public square.
“The WJC is deeply concerned about the challenges facing Jewish students on campus,” Amb. Lauder said in his remarks introducing Minister Shaked. “We have made our young people our top priority and have instituted new projects in the WJC NextGen department through which we will groom new Jewish student leaders and train young Jewish activists so that they will be knowledgeable and able to stand up for themselves and for Israel.”
Minister Shaked agreed on the urgent need to train young Jewish leader and reflected on several recent conversations she had with Jewish college students, which left her distressed about the state of antisemitism on campuses.
Minister Shaked discussed the responsibilities of her ministry and acknowledged the challenges faced by Diaspora Jews who wanted to visit Israel during the COVID-19 pandemic. She reassured the audience that Israel is encouraging and expediting tourism and Aliyah in as safe and accessible manner as possible.
Minister Shaked said that one of her priorities on this trip is the long-sought visa waiver that Israel has been requesting for some time to expeditiously enable Israeli citizens to visit the U.S., an issue that she raised in her meeting this week with Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Another issue she raised with senior U.S. government officials is the concern regarding the continuation of Iran’s illicit race to obtain nuclear weaponry, which presents an ongoing threat to Israel.