Alan Hoffmann, the longstanding director-general of the Jewish Agency, announced on Sunday that he will be stepping down by the end of 2018, meaning the quasi-governmental institution will soon be left leaderless.
Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, will be ending his nine-year term in June, and no replacement has yet been named for him.
Hoffmann, who moved to Israel from South Africa in 1967, is the first immigrant to hold this position. Before joining the Jewish Agency in 2000 as director of its education department, he headed various Jewish educational programs. Among other positions, Hoffman served as director of the Melton Center for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University and executive director of the Council for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) in New York.
He has served for the past eight years as CEO and director-general of the Jewish Agency, for almost the entire period that Sharansky has been chairman.
In a letter notifying Sharansky of his decision, Hoffmann wrote: “I have seen the agency adapt itself to some of the more important changes which have shaped the face of Jewish life and Israel in these almost two decades. We have helped refocus the mission, restructure the organization and recruit outstanding staff while working closely with our constituent partners and with the Government of Israel.”
In his letter, Hoffman noted that during his tenure the budget of the Jewish Agency had remained stable despite a major downturn in campaign income.
He said he would agree to stay on until the end of the year in order to ensure an “orderly transition” with his replacement.
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In a letter of response, Sharansky thanked Hoffman for having “helped lay solid foundations for the Jewish Agency of the future, connecting young Jews to Israel and young Israelis to the Jewish people, strengthening and increasing Aliya and supporting the vulnerable.”
Sharansky was supposed to have stepped down last year but agreed to stay an extra year at the job at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.