Jewish Agency for Israel announces first female CEO

December 23, 2018 by JNS
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For the first time in its 90-year history, the Jewish Agency for Israel will have its first female CEO and director general.

Amira Aharnovich

Amira Aharonovich was named by Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog to the senior position, while Josh Schwarcz was promoted as director of external relations.

“I am leading the Jewish Agency toward a period of significant change, together with our excellent management and employees,” said Herzog, who took over after Natan Sharansky, 70. “I’m confident Amira will be an outstanding CEO who will bring great energy to the position and our organization.”

“I’m also certain Josh will draw on his tremendous experience to lead his new areas of responsibility, both in Israel and around the world,” he said.

Aharonovich, 47, will become acting CEO and director general on Jan. 1, as her promotion is subject to formal confirmation by the Jewish Agency executive and board of governors, scheduled to meet in February.

She will replace longtime CEO, Alan Hoffmann.

Aharonovich has served in a variety of management positions at the Jewish Agency, including as director of partnerships, head of the finance division and vice president of strategy, planning and content. Most recently, she was deputy director general and chief operating officer.

Schwarcz, 48, will serve as the organization’s director of external relations, alongside his current role as secretary general, which he has held for 17 years. His new position will include more responsibilities under Herzog and the chairman of the board of governors, including supervising the Jewish Agency’s global affairs.

He also manages the group’s security division and leads its government-relations unit. Previously, Schwarcz directed the organization’s companies bureau and advised past Jewish Agency chairman Sallai Meridor.


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