In a bid to enhance the role of Russian speakers in Israel-Diaspora relations, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has appointed a well-connected member of this community to several key functions in the Jewish organization world.
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Alex Selsky, a Russian-born Israeli who served as the CEO of the World Forum of Russian-Speaking Jewry, was recently appointed to the executive of the World Zionist Organization and to the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency. He will fill these functions as the new director general of World Yisrael Beytenu, the international arm of Lieberman’s political party whose main constituents are Russian speakers.
Lieberman immigrated to Israel in 1978 at the age of 19 from Moldova.
Selsky replaces Ronen Shoval, the founder of the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu, best known for its campaigns against the New Israel Fund and leftist academics at Israeli universities.
His appointment, said Selsky, should be seen as a part of a broader strategy of raising the visibility and influence of Russian speakers in the Jewish world. “The first goal is to make Israel stronger, and what we know is that Russian speakers living in the West tend to be more pro-Israel than other Jews there, and this is why it is important that they have more influence,” he said.
Selsky immigrated to Israel in 1993 when he was 16 years old. He came on the Na’aleh high-school program, which brings teenagers to Israel ahead of their parents. In the past, he served as a media adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Russian-language press and as a Jewish Agency envoy in New York.