The following is most of a message, dated September 4, from Rany Trainin, the new chair of the Jewish Agency committee for Israel. He was mayor of a regional council in the south, whom some of us met for the first time during the World Union of Meretz conference and the World Zionist Congress in June.
Unfortunately, the byzantine workings of the Jewish Agency engendered acrimony in the ranks of the World Union of Meretz; it had ignored the majority decision of the WUM in selecting Mr. Trainin over Haim Hayet, but this portfolio seems to be in good hands nevertheless. Our hope remains that the Jewish Agency and its partner, the World Zionist Organization, will function more democratically and efficiently in the future, or will be replaced by a better structure that links Diaspora Jewry with the State of Israel. – R. Seliger
More than two months have passed since we parted at the closing of the Zionist Congress. … [D]ue to the war and all that has happened in the country, it has been a very intense period of time. This letter is too short to contain all the thoughts, feelings and positions that are taking form and facing the future. To my regret, during the Congress and the World Meretz convention, the atmosphere during the debates and discussions did not give us an opportunity to deal with the central issues at hand.
… I have started my active position in the Jewish Agency. I now have an established office with all of the conveniences at my disposal…. [Contact the Meretz USA office for his office phone and fax numbers.]
During the war, the Jewish Agency … organized summer camps in the center of the country and in youth villages for thousands of youth from the north, with the assistance of the [Zionist] youth movements. This was their hour of glory (with the Shomer Hatzair in Israel at the forefront).
The Jewish Agency supplied all the shelters in the north with the supplies they were missing such as air conditioners, televisions, bedding, etc. There was no place or person who wasn’t thankful and appreciative of their active support. A solidarity mission of the Zionist and Jewish Federations was impressive and important. This I say as the head of a mission who hosted his partners and was deeply moved by the visit. Now there is a new and younger executive of the Jewish Agency with ambition, a quest for action and a driving need to get things done with a change of atmosphere.
I represent the Labor-Meretz [joint faction] in the committee for rejuvenating the Zionist Movement and am chairman of the committee for reorganization of the future structure and composition of the Zionist movement. I would be happy to receive input and suggestions from each of you and I will make it my business to inform you of all occurrences.
Practically, I become more and more occupied with the Committee for Israel wherein establishing myself in my current position has been delayed, because we are awaiting the results of the committee that was established to redefine the relationship of the Zionist Movement and the Jewish Agency (meeting for the first time this week). It is planned to summarize the subject at the latest by December with the possibility that the status of the chairmen of the committees will be finalized by the end of the Board of Governors which will be held in October 2006.
The Meretz Executive in Israel held three meetings during the war (the only Party in Israel that did so) with very actively involved participation from the members. In addition, the Party committee also met. Meretz backed the government with the outbreak of the war, but called from the start to avoid a sweeping ground attack (which in reality is actually what happened), to reach a speedy cease-fire, to establish international forces, and to turn the war into a catalyst for peace agreements with Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinians. There was an indirect influence to this approach and all of us are asking to find, in the final analysis of the war, a basis for future political negotiations.
To the entire Jewish people, there is a position and a place in the future struggle, as to the immediate direct aid that was given during the war – the needs are many. I send you my blessing for a Shana Tova, a year of peace and tranquility and a year of renewal for the Zionist Movement and for the International Meretz.