New York, NY (July 29, 2021) - Today, UJA-Federation of New York, representing the largest Jewish community outside of Israel, announced that former Israeli Minister Itzik Shmuli would become the new director-general of its Israel office. Shmuli begins his new role on August 1, working from UJA’s office in Jerusalem.
Shmuli, a well-known public figure in Israel, most recently served as Israel’s Minister of Labor, Welfare, and Social Services, and as a Labor Party MK in the Israeli Knesset. He started his political career as the chairman of the National Union of Israeli Students and was a recognized leader of the 2011 Israeli social protest movement.
Widely recognized as one of Israel’s most effective public policy voices, Shmuli has received numerous awards over the years, including being elected as the Knesset’s “Outstanding Acts for Social Inclusion Member of Parliament MK” five times. He is also the winner of the “Ometz” Award, Outstanding Parliamentarian Award from the Israel Democracy Institute, Medal of Light from the Holocaust Survivors’ Organization, Medal of Honor from the Foundation for the Welfare of Holocaust Victims, Rotary Award and more. He has an M.A. in public policy and government with honors from The Hebrew University.
UJA-Federation has invested billions of dollars in Israel and is today one of Israel’s largest philanthropic funders. In his new role at UJA, Shmuli will lead a team of professionals charged with advancing UJA’s strategic priorities, including caring for the vulnerable, promoting shared society among diverse groups of Israelis, supporting multiple pathways of Jewish engagement, and helping to bridge the divide between world Jewry and Israel.
“I’m thrilled that Itzik is assuming this critical leadership role at UJA,” said Eric S. Goldstein, UJA’s CEO. “Itzik brings invaluable expertise and will significantly elevate our work in Israel. His very impressive track record of achievement, coupled with his demonstrated commitment to an equitable and fair Jewish and democratic state, make him the ideal person for the role.”
Mr. Shmuli commented on his new appointment: “I'm proud and honored by the New York Federation's decision to appoint me to lead its Israeli office. The Federation has been supporting the State of Israel even before its inception and has made a tremendous contribution to its security, prosperity, and development to this day. My decision to join UJA is rooted in a desire to help strengthen the critical connection between Israel and American Jewry in general and with a deep gratitude to the Federation for all it does here in Israel."
Shmuli added that "I fully identify with the Federation's uncompromising commitment to ensure Israel as the homeland for all of the Jewish people as well as its stubborn aspiration to realize the values of a Jewish and democratic, equal, pluralistic, and unified Israel. I believe this is Israel's best guarantee for its future and prosperity. I am touched by the fact that thanks to the generosity of many, the Federation is leading among the largest philanthropic social investments in Israel, giving a chance to so many Israelis who are still being left behind —and I see this new role as a direct continuation of my activities in the Knesset and government.
I would especially like to thank the CEO of the New York Federation, Eric Goldstein, and its president, Amy Bressman, and chair, David Moore, and all of the excellent UJA staff. I'm very excited for this opportunity, and would also like to thank my predecessor in office, Uri Leventer-Roberts, and the entire Israeli team for their extensive and successful activities in recent years."
About UJA-Federation of New York:
Working with a network of hundreds of nonprofits, UJA extends its reach from New York to Israel to nearly 70 other countries around the world, touching the lives of 4.5 million people each year. To date, UJA has allocated $67 million to help respond to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. For more information, please visit www.ujafedny.org.