Ahead of meeting with Bennett, JFNA head downplays notion of crisis with last gov’t

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America. (Courtesy JFNA)
Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America. (Courtesy JFNA)

Prior to hosting Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at a New York event with US Jewish community leaders, Jewish Federations of North America CEO Eric Fingerhut downplays the notion that American Jewry is recovering from a crisis in its ties with the previous Israeli government.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai has spoken in recent months about the previous coalition’s neglect of Diaspora Jewry under former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Asked about the perception that the new Israeli government must work to heal rifts, Fingerhut is dismissive.

“There’s certainly great appreciation for the outreach that’s come from Prime Minister Bennett and his government,” he tells The Times of Israel. “Have their been disagreements? Yes, and I’m sure there will be with this government too.”

However, Fingerhut says that today’s event is not about highlighting those disputes. “This occasion overrides issues of disagreement. It’s a point of enormous pride when the prime minister speaks at the UN General Assembly. Yes, this time is particularly significant because it’s Prime Minister Bennett’s first such address. I think there’s enough significance in that for people to focus on.”

“We’ve worked well with every government of Israel and will always work well with every government of Israel. It’s our job to do so and it’s what we will always do. That’s why prime ministers want to come and speak to federations and to the Jewish community, because our allegiance is to the State of Israel and whoever is in office.”

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