Jewish Agency, interfaith group deal angers U.S. Jewish leaders
Last update - 06:23 01/01/2008Jewish Agency, interfaith group deal angers U.S. Jewish leadersBy Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz CorrespondentAn agreement on increased cooperation between the Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has upset many American Jewish leaders.
The agreement was signed two weeks ago by Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski and IFCJ President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. IFCJ will give the agency NIS 180 million over three years, to be used for its immigration and absorption programs. In exchange, Eckstein, who already sits on the agency's Board of Governors, will become a full executive member, with voting rights.
The agreement has infuriated the heads of major U.S. Jewish federations, which provide about two-thirds of the agency's budget. They charge that it will give evangelical Christians, whose donations finance IFCJ, a say in the agency's management.
American Jewish leaders have not yet drafted a formal protest. However, they conveyed their objections to agency officials informally, and, as a result, the formal signing ceremony that had been scheduled for this week has been postponed.
An agency spokesman denied that federation leaders are exerting pressure against the deal.