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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘JAFI’

Thousands Participate in French Aliyah Fair

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

PARIS – Thousands of Jews from throughout France participated in an Aliyah information fair held in central Paris earlier today (March 30) and organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the World Zionist Organization. Participants met with representatives of dozens of Israeli organizations and institutions, including government ministries and local authorities, and received information on opportunities for life in Israel, Aliyah programs for young people, educational programs for teenagers, employment counseling, and more.

According to Jewish Agency figures, Aliyah from France has risen sharply since the start of the year: 854 new olim (immigrants) from France arrived in Israel during the months of January and February, compared to 274 during the comparable period in 2013. This threefold (312%) increase is due in part to increased efforts by The Jewish Agency to strengthen the French Jewish community’s relationship to Israel through educational programs, information sessions, and Aliyah fairs, as well as to the economic situation in France and communal insecurity due to anti-Semitism. 2014 is thus set to continue the significant upward trend in French Aliyah, which saw the arrival of 3,280 new olim in 2013, a 70% increase compared to the 1,917 olim who arrived in 2012.

In addition to the increase in Aliyah from France, The Jewish Agency has seen a significant rise in the number of Jewish young people interested in participating in Israel experience programs. Some 1,000 Jewish high school students recently participated in The Jewish Agency’s Bac Bleu Blanc (“High School Seniors in Blue and White”) program, which enables students at Jewish schools to explore opportunities for life in Israel following their graduation from high school. Additionally, 1,000 French Jewish young people are currently participating in Masa Israel Journey, a partnership between the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency that enables young Jews to experience life in Israel, compared to 500 just two years ago. Some 70% of French Masa participants make Aliyah upon completing the program.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency unveiled a new government plan to encourage Aliyah from France. The plan includes boosting the number of Jewish Agency shlichim (emissaries) in France, increasing marketing efforts, developing new immigrant absorption programs, and establishing a special committee headed by the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office to remove obstacles to French Aliyah. The plan also sets clear benchmarks for increasing the number of olim, seeking to double their numbers in the coming years. This groundbreaking plan is the result of intensive cooperation between the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency, along with the World Zionist Organization, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, and Keren Hayesod-UIA, all of which are working together for the first time in order to strengthen French Aliyah. The plan was developed in consultation and cooperation with French Jewish organizations, both in France and in Israel.

Greece Jews to Receive an Entire $1 million in Emergency Aid from JAFI

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Shalom Life reports that the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel voted to provide emergency aid to the Jewish community of Greece, in order to address immediate needs in the wake of their country’s crippling financial crisis.

Agency Executive Natan Sharansky convened the urgent leadership meeting of the organization’s leadership, which decided to provide around $1 million over two years to help the Greek Jewish community prevail.

Earlier this month, the Jewish Press reported on salary levels at JAFI, and from that report it appears that the agency’s current emergency support for the Greek Jewish community each of the two years will be just $250,000 short of the agency’s chief fundraiser, Dr. Misha Galperin, who will be taking home $750,000 a year.

Shalom Life reports that the funds will enable communal institutions to continue operations, including programs to strengthen their ties with Israel and the development of unique aliyah tracks for those wishing to immigrate to Israel.

The aid package will be funded by the Jewish Agency and by its partners, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal (UIA) and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

Around 7,500 Jews live in Greece, with 3,500 in Athens and an additional 1,000 in Thessaloniki. The Jewish community operates synagogues, a Jewish school, a museum, and a soup kitchen.

The Jewish Chronicle reported last week that “the main reason for the tanking incomes of Athens community members is that many rely for business on the property market, which like elsewhere in Europe, has come crashing down. Rents have tumbled along with property prices.” The JC explains that tenants demand a 30 per cent reduction in rent from their landlords, and many leave, breaking their contracts, since their businesses had gone under.

Perhaps the JAFI Board of Governors should be encouraged to spend their vacations near these two Jewish centers and trickle down some of their income, which is alleged to be among the highest in the world of Jewish fund-raising, into the pockets of the near-bankrupt Greek Jews.

JAFI officials could visit the Jewish museum in Athensn (see image) – and maybe leave a nice tip for the staff.

JAFI: No More Hebrew Ulpanim for Olim

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Israel Today reported Monday that the Jewish Agency is pulls funding for ulpanim – intensive Hebrew-language classes for immigrants – including classrooms and school supplies, potentially leaving thousands of new immigrants with nowhere to learn Hebrew upon arriving in Israel.

As of March 15, thousands of new immigrants to Israel will have to find new ways to learn Hebrew, as a sudden pullout of funds by the Jewish Agency will force the closure of dozens of ulpanim, schools for the intensive study of Hebrew.

The news was broken by an alarmed letter attained by Israel Hayom that was sent by Absorption Ministry Director Dimitri Apartsev to the heads of the Education Ministry, the Jewish Agency and the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as to the cabinet secretary. “As a result of the Jewish Agency’s unilateral announcement to cease funding the ulpanim for new immigrants, I must warn that starting March 15 ulpan activity will be halted,” Apartsev wrote. He claims that the Absorption Ministry had tried to discuss matters with the Jewish Agency, but that planned meetings had been delayed three times by the agency, and a new date had not been scheduled.

JAFI Bosses Making Record Salaries While Employee Pay Is Cut

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky is a heroic figure in anyone’s book, a survivor of Soviet repression who rose to a position of influence in the Jewish state. As head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Sharansky presides over a markedly increased aliyah, and an effort to stand ready “as the Jewish world’s first responder to crises both in Israel and around the world” (as the JAFI websire declares). In addition, “these days, the Jewish Agency is redirecting its primary focus toward the greatest challenge we currently face as a people – strengthening the Jewish identity of young Jews in both the Diaspora and Israel.”

Add to that another, less frequently discussed mission: making a lot of money for JAFI officials – not Goldman Sachs kind of money, but way more than most anyone else in the world of Jewish not-for-profits.

According to Haaretz, the unofficial arrangement at the Jewish Agency for Israel of matching the pay of the agency’s head with that of the prime minister of Israel, has been broken by Natan Sharansky, who in 2010 made $214,000, compared with Benjamin Netanyahu’s $164,000 in the same year.

But Sharansky was only number four on the list of high earners in what is officially a Jerusalem-based, Israeli institution. The CEO and president of Jewish Agency International Development (JAID ), the agency’s chief fundraiser, Dr. Misha Galperin who is based in New York, earned $478,000 in 2010, according to JAFI’s IRS report. And that sum was his pay for only seven months, having begun to work for the agency in June of 2010. Galperin’s annual remuneration, including expenses and benefits, should reach $750,000.

Except that a major decrease in donations from the US – due to the financial crisis and the dollar devaluation – supposedly caused the Jewish Agency to take drastic measures earlier this year. The Jewish Agency’s management, together with the employees committee, decided to send all the employees out on mandatory leave for two weeks in August, four days of which were at the expense of the employees’ vacation fund and six days were be taken without pay.

In order to finance the planned mandatory leave the agency is taking cuts from each employee’s monthly salary – one day a month for six months. And the employees’ committee decided to donate $500,000 of its budget to the Jewish Agency.

The Jewish Agency management released a statement last summer, saying: “Many not-for-profit organizations in Israel are collapsing due to the weak dollar which has decreased the extent of contributions. The fact that we work with the poor sectors of society means that we can’t make cuts in our activities.

“The Agency was forced to choose between layoffs and no layoffs and chose, together with the employees’ committee who are also on board, not to lay off employees. We expect an increase in income over the next few years.”

Sources close to the negotiations that took place in early 2010 over Galperin’s pay package explained to Haaretz that Sharansky had agreed with Galperin that he would not lose out financially due to his move from Washington to JAFI’s North American headquarters in New York. But Galperin almost doubled the salary of about $400,000 he was due to make that year as head of the Washington federation. While the base for Galperin’s JAFI salary is half a million dollars, it was padded with an $11,000-a-month rent for his 2,880-square foot townhouse in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, tuition for his two children at the Hannah Senesh private day school, a car and his pension fund.

According to Haaretz, Galperin’s supporters claim that his salary reflects the norm for CEOs of big U.S. Jewish organizations, but according to The Forward’s annual salary survey of Jewish communal leaders, only one head of a national organization makes more than $750,000, Yeshiva University President Richard Joel, who earned $848,000 in 2010. Next on the Forward’s list is Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who made $722,000. Eight senior executives in Jewish organizations made over half a million dollars in 2010.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/jafi-bosses-making-record-salaries-while-employee-pay-is-cut/2012/02/17/

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