Deadline for the chairman of the Lapid Jewish Agency today

The race for the presidency of the Jewish Agency faces a fateful deadline on Wednesday, when Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid will reveal the government’s candidate for the position.

The presidential selection committee decided a month ago to allow new candidates to enter the race until November 17. Since then, many test balloons have been lifted, but Lapid has continually asked for more time before the deadline.

As reported Sunday, there is a strong possibility that the committee will receive a request from Lapid to extend the deadline.

The test balloons that have come and gone include appointing Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai, transferring Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan to the post, and appointing a current cabinet minister to his post in New York.

DIASPORA Affairs Minister Nachman Shai arrives at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem with the new ministers sworn in in June (credit: YONATAN SINDEL / FLASH 90)

Strategic Planning Minister Eli Avidar, who is a former diplomat, rejected the option of sending him to New York to take Erdan’s place to resolve the dilemma.

“I rejected all diplomatic posts,” Avidar said. “I graduated from diplomacy in 2007.”

Lapid’s coalition partners said they had no problem with him making the decision. Labor leader Merav Michaeli told her faction on Monday that she would not require that the post go to a woman. He said that gender was one of several important criteria, but not the only one.

However, recent appointments of members of Lapid’s family to positions in Zionist institutions have been scrutinized, making Wednesday’s deadline especially problematic. His sister-in-law, Ilil Keren, resigned from her volunteer position on the board of directors of the National Jewish-Israeli Fund Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael following bad press, but a cousin who received a paid position did not resign.

Lapid’s candidate had been Yesh Atid’s minister Elazar Stern, who dropped out of the race following a scandal over the destruction of anonymous complaints when he was a senior IDF official.

Stern’s departure left eight candidates: the director of the Museum of the Jewish People of the UNA, Irina Nevzlin, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, the law professor of the University of Bar-Ilan, Yaffa Zilbershats, and the ex MPs Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Danny Danon, Uzi Dayan, Michael Oren and Yankelevich.

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