Director general Alan Hoffmann under fire, critics say “unable to balance a budget or actually accomplish much at all.”
The triannual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency opened on Sunday following days of quiet and not so quiet grumblings regarding the leadership of director-general Alan Hoffmann.
The campaign has evidently gained so much traction that agency Chairman Natan Sharansky was forced to draft a letter to employees worldwide to defend the administrator while attending the funeral of slain Jew Dan Uzan in Denmark last week.
Sharansky continued defending Hoffmann at the opening of the meeting Sunday, repeating the content of his letter and pushing back against the agency’s critics.
In a series of blog posts, Richard Wexler, one of the founders of the national federation system, blasted Hoffmann over allegations of mismanagement, which were quickly picked up and distributed to journalists, Jewish activists and others by a mysterious man named Jacob Levy, who later identified himself as the front for a collective of “mostly past and some currents employees” of the agency.
According to Wexler, who is a vocal critic of both the federation system he helped establish and the Jewish agency, Hoffmann has been “unable to balance a budget or actually accomplish much at all.”
He also accused the administrator of “forcing out, time and again (or conspiring to force out), those with competence and a demonstrated ability to get things done, whom he may have perceived as a threat to his constricted ‘circle of trust.’” Wexler pointed to the departure of figures such as aliya head Eli Cohen, who left the agency when his department was shut down and its functions shifted to others.
Cohen declined to speak with The Jerusalem Post.
“The record suggests that this incredible professional brain drain – one that has sorely weakened the Jewish Agency – was on the watch of Alan Hoffmann, pure and simple,” he continued, adding that it is possible that Hoffmann had worked to prevent the election of Sharansky, the current chairman.
“He championed the Jewish Agency’s shift from being the State of Israel’s/the Jewish people’s premier and singular agent for aliya from around the world to nothing more than a travel agency. He has sat in silence while the agency’s sacred and covenanted aliya franchise is taken away by the government’s [Immigration] and Absorption Ministry, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Ezra youth movement.”