For First Time Ever, American Jewish Committee to Hold Annual Mega Conference in Israel

2,000 participants expected to attend Jerusalem forum ■ Austrian, Bulgarian leaders will address conference ■ Excursions include trip to West Bank settlement

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a memorial ceremony in Givatayim, May 30, 2018.
מארק ישראל סלם

For the first time in its 112-year history, the American Jewish Committee is holding its mega conference of the year in Israel. The Global Forum, its signature annual event, will be held in Jerusalem from June 10-13.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will deliver a keynote address to open the event on Sunday night. Israeli speakers will also include President Reuven Rivlin, Labour Party leader Avi Gabbay and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, who also serves as chairman of the Orthodox right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party.

Addressing the conference will be Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov – whose country holds the current EU presidency. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will deliver an address via video.

An estimated 2,000 participants are expected to attend.

Jewish religious pluralism, defined as a “priority concern” for the AJC, will be a major theme at the event.

On the conference’s final morning, participants are scheduled to visit the designated egalitarian prayer section of the Western Wall, as a show of solidarity with non-Orthodox movements.

The conference will also devote considerable attention to the growing rift between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

A number of excursions have been scheduled for participants, including one to West Bank settlements in the Samaria region.