June 1995-Sivan 5755
Part Three: Global Jewish Information Network
Adapting our National Institutions to the Challenges Ahead
In light of the extraordinary challenges which the Jewish People faces in the century ahead, it is critical that we shape our National Institutions as effectively as possible.
The decision to restructure a worldwide organization which represents religious streams, Jewish communities, political parties and a wide range of Jewish interests should not be taken lightly. However, change is imperative, as all partners in the organization are coming to realize.
Organizations exist to serve goals and objectives and have no intrinsic value in and of themselves. The structures and the functional instrumentalities they create are merely a means of putting their policies into practice. Nevertheless, in the current situation of the Jewish People, as we face serious danger and challenges which require the mobilization of all our resources, organizational structures are not without importance. We cannot afford to make do with structures which are far from optimal. In order to succeed in our mission, we need an organization and structure which are optimally suited to meeting the goals the Jewish People has set for itself.
From "The Jewish Agency for Israel" to "The Jewish Agency of The Jewish People"
Our National Institutions will require a redefinition of their function. Israel will continue to be central to the Jewish world, but the activities of the Jewish People will no longer radiate entirely from the periphery to the Israeli center. They will become two-directional between periphery and center. The only way to protect the interests of the entire Jewish People, including the Jews in the Land of Zion, is to take an unfettered look at reality and accept the fact that the continuity of the Jewish People, an indispensable component of Israel’s strength, will demand both enormous investment in the Diaspora by Israelis as well as enormous investment in Israel by the Jews of the Diaspora.
Unifying the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization
Two of the central institutions of the Jewish People, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization and its affiliated agencies, currently operate in most areas independently of each other. They must function as one body. Unification will result in a more economical operation, greater efficiency and more effective use of human resources.
In 1997, the Zionist Congress will meet in Jerusalem to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Zionist Movement. It must convene on a new foundation. Starting at the 10th Congress of the Zionist Movement, the representative National Institutions of the Jewish People will work in a united framework: one People, one body.
At the June 1995 meetings of the Zionist General Council and the Jewish Agency Assembly we will begin the process of determining the organizational and representational structure of the unified institutions, delegating authority and laying down guidelines for funding and operation. At the June 1996 convention, the proposed options will be discussed and voted upon. The National Institutions will convene in their unified format one year later.
On that occasion we will create a new covenant between the partners in the management of the affairs of the Jewish People, the Jewish National Institutions and the Government of Israel. The new covenant will supersede all prior covenants and agreements.
Changing the Image of the National Institutions
The National Institutions of the Jewish People face the difficult challenge of changing their negative image in the eyes of the Israeli public and Diaspora Jewry. A Gallup poll conducted in Israel revealed that most respondents had no idea what the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization actually do.
The Jewish National Institutions will, within the framework of their new policy and structure, work vigorously to change existing perceptions, thus helping to cultivate the conditions necessary to fulfill the goals of the Jewish People.
Within a month, a tender will be issued for the centralized public relations management of the National Institutions. Toward the beginning of the Jewish New Year, we will embark upon a public relations campaign with budgets and objectives determined by an internal steering committee. The purpose of the campaign will be to bring about the desired change in the public perception of the functions and importance of the Jewish National Institutions.
Restructuring the National Institutions on a Regional Organizational Basis
The objectives of restructuring our Jewish National Institutions include both the unification of all the major bodies which represent the interests of the Jewish People, and their reconfiguration to meet the present and future needs and goals of the Jewish People. We must conduct a comprehensive discussion on this matter and examine the options of organization on the basis of departmental function (education, aliyah, etc.) versus organization on a territorial basis. It appears that organization on a territorial basis, augmented by professional staff units in various functional spheres, can provide an optimal response to the needs of those who use the services of the National Institutions both in Israel and the Diaspora.
For years, due to a constellation of historical, economic and personal factors, the National Institutions of the Jewish People have placed particular emphasis on activity in the Jewish communities of North America.
One of the objectives of a new territorial organizational structure will be to ensure that appropriate attention is given to all communities of the Jewish People, including those outside of North America.
Establishing an Information Unit
The National Institutions are in urgent need of centralized information on a variety of subjects to assist the departments and staff responsible for operations which take place under the aegis of the Executive.
The gathering of information, its analysis and evaluation will be entrusted to an information unit which will report to the Chairperson of the National Institutions. The unit will amass information on the condition of Jewish communities throughout the globe, follow events in the Jewish and non-Jewish world and analyze their potential impact on relevant Jewish communities. It will assemble information about anti-Semitic incidents, economic upheavals and military actions and analyze their ramifications for the Jews. Angry words can sometimes escalate into violence in a matter of days. The tenor of relations between Jewish communities and their surroundings can also change quickly. Thus there is vital importance to the continuous availability of up-to-date information.
The information unit will also supply research, analysis, evaluation and survey services to the various agencies of the national institutions. It will examine economic issues, perceptual issues, positions and viewpoints In the Jewish world, and various marketing issues.
The unit will serve as an instrument for understanding trends in the Jewish world, evaluating the success of the projects and operations of the National Institutions, and providing decision-makers with feedback on the effectiveness of their policy.
Guaranteeing the Operating Budget of Jewish National Institutions
The current budgetary constraints affecting our National Institutions seriously limit their ability for long-term strategic planning as well as their ability to meet existing commitments to objectives already mandated by their leadership.
We must therefore reorganize the income mechanism of the National Institutions while examining expenditures with a critical eye and attempt to improve fiscal management.
The National Institutions will enter into discussion with the bodies which fund its activities and examine the principles which determine the allocation of funds. The entire leadership will take an active part in fundraising efforts and joint projects will be financed by the anticipated increase in resources in the wake of the reordering of budgetary priorities.
Establishment of "Keren Matat" – our Gift to Future Generations
While redesigning their organizational and financial mechanisms, the Jewish National Institutions will establish a new fund for the Jewish People. This fund will be the gift of the Jewish People to its future generations. At the end of this century, on December 31, 1999, Keren Matat will become the contribution of this generation to ensuring the continuity of the Jewish People and its security in the generations to come.
The purpose of the fund will be to finance projects that will assure the viability and continued existence of the Jewish People by ways and means to be determined by the leadership of the National Institutions in a democratic process representing the whole of the Jewish world. The fund will provide the monies necessary to win the battles against the dangers looming before the Jewish People: assimilation, alienation, the disappearance of community life and a widening gap between Israel society and Diaspora Jewry. It will operate under the auspices of the Jewish National Institutions, using income from the principal, and will be supervised by an independent body to evaluate its effectiveness.
The establishment of this fund will hopefully ease some of the financial constraints presently hindering the work of the National Institutions of the Jewish People.
Through Keren Matat, we will move from a system of repeated one-time contributions to a financial endowment, the fruits of which can be used for many decades. Our goal is to enable future generations to work for the good of the Jewish People, relieved of the constant necessity to search for sources of funding.
Uncertainties constitute a serious management constraint for the institutions of the Jewish People. When we attempt to shape the spiritual and organizational future of the Jewish People, we must look ahead – not past the end of the fiscal year, but past the next generation. In this context, one of the gravest mishaps which can befall the Jewish People is that its leadership will be unable to plan for the long-term. It goes without saying that in order to plan for the long-term, we must allocate resources for the long-term.
The transformation we must effect in the condition of the Jewish People calls for planning programs to be implemented over the course of many years, supervision which will guarantee the feasibility of long-range initiatives, and a system which continuously evaluates and learns from itself so as to maximize and optimize its effectiveness in the future. Keren Matat will provide the Jewish People with the fiscal means to fill these requisites for success.
The funds for Keren Matat will come, first and foremost, from the Jewish People. Every member of the Jewish People will be invited to contribute, according to his/her means. Keren Matat will be more than a vehicle to raise money to ensure the continuity of the Jewish People. It will be a vehicle through which every Jew can demonstrate his/her identification with the Jewish People, his/her commitment to its continued existence and vitality, to its values and inheritance by future generations. The fund will be based on multi year, rather than one-time, donations of every size and will strive to become the beneficiary of bequests by Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.
The Zionist leadership will invite the governments of nations around the world to contribute to Keren Matat. Thus it would be only fitting that this year, as the world celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Allied victory over the Nazis who annihilated one-third of the Jewish People, the enlightened nations of the world should be asked to take part in efforts to guarantee the continuity of the Jewish People.
An additional and important source of funding is within reach of the Jewish People: the considerable assets left by the victims of Nazi destruction. It is only just that the economic assets of the people slaughtered simply because they were Jews, be dedicated to assuring the well-being of the Jewish People. Our National Institutions will therefore appeal to governments, organizations, banking institutions and any other body or agency, which makes use of, or has benefited from, the property of Jewish victims now or during the last fifty years. These institutions will be asked to transfer the assets or the income from them to the fund for upbuilding the Jewish People in the twenty first century. A concentrated and forceful effort in this direction, backed by governments and international organizations, can bear fruit.
Ongoing Participation of Community Leaders in the Decision-Making Process
One of the operational spheres needing change is the degree of participation by of Diaspora community leaders in daily decision-making processes, which concern the Jewish People as a whole. It is not enough for Diaspora leaders to meet in Israel once every few months at the Assembly or Board of Governors. The Diaspora partners must take an ongoing part in issues at hand.
Technologies now at our disposal enable electronic conferences, which do not require the participants to be together in one physical location. The Jewish National Institutions must establish a regular, efficient and inexpensive mechanism to allow ongoing contact between all members of the leadership of the Jewish People. Telephone and video conference calls should become routine. The Jewish People’s leadership should meet at least monthly, by phone or video, to discuss their agenda and to receive progress reports on plans and operations.
Establishing Communications Channels for Every Jew Who Wants To Be Heard
It is important to create accessible opportunities for every Jew to speak his/her mind on Jewish public affairs. Ever since the inauguration of popular democracy, 2500 years ago, democratic bodies have been set back by the lack of tools allowing every person to make his/her voice heard directly by the leaders.
Those tools are available today. Attached to this document is a list of electronic means by which anyone who wishes may send messages to the Office of the Chairman of the JAFI/WZO. These means include facsimile and electronic mail via international communications networks such as Compuserve and Internet.
All messages will be checked on a daily basis, studied and considered in the formulation of policy.
Negotiating a New Division of Responsibility With the Government of Israel
The law which established the special status of the Jewish National Institutions also granted them the right and responsibility to operate broadly in a variety of spheres. However, since the enactment of the law and the signing of covenants and agreements with the Israeli governments, the State of Israel and the Jewish world have undergone fundamental changes which necessitate a redivision of labor between the parties.
The Jewish National Institutions will open immediate negotiations with official representatives at every level of the Government of Israel to formulate a new covenant for cooperation between the parties. The covenant will redefine the tasks and spheres of responsibility of the Jewish National Institutions and modes of interaction with the Government of Israel.
Changing the Organizational Culture of our Jewish National Institutions
Although our National Institutions operate efficiently in many spheres and in accordance with the norms of proper public management, their organizational culture is sometimes far from satisfactory. Some of its operations are characterized by excessive bureaucracy and insufficient personal responsibility of those in charge at various levels of the system. There is sometimes expensive redundancy in the work of certain units; units sometimes operate at cross ends to the work of other units; departments sometimes compete among themselves for resources, status and influence, at the expense of effectiveness; lack of coordination between departments sometimes causes mismanagement; there is not always the desired correlation between authority and responsibility.
We must invest, in the near future, a considerable effort in transforming the organizational culture of the Jewish National Institutions so as: to cultivate staff commitment to the organization; to strengthen the staff’s philosophy of service to its external and internal consumers; to establish clear criteria for evaluation of staff and measuring the efficacy of operations; to build incentives for staff excellence and executive management tracks which will encourage involvement and identification with various spheres of organizational activity; to limit terms of office in certain positions; to increase job mobility and to open horizontal lines of job movement; to advance the role of women in the organization; and to create a culture of excellence at every level of management and operation.
The Office of the Chairman, JAFI/WZO
Jerusalem 91 000