Sallai Meridor is the Ambassador of Israel to the U.S.. He served as the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization from 1999-2005. Prior to this, Mr. Meridor served as the Treasurer of the Jewish Agency and WZO and as the Head of the Settlement Division of the WZO. During the years of his chairmanship, the Jewish Agency underwent a major transformation. The strategy and activities of the Agency were focused on dealing with the Jewish future - the young generation of Jews. Major initiatives included the Masa national effort to bring 20,000 young adults per annum from the Diaspora for a year-long formative experience in Israel, focusing the activities of the Agency in Israel on young Israelis and young Olim, special Aliyah efforts from FSU, Ethiopia, Argentina, and France, and strategic preparations for dealing with the future challenge of Aliyah choice. In response to the war of terror against Israel, a global Jewish mobilization effort and a major emergency campaign was launched. Internally, the budget of the Jewish agency was balanced, agreements to eliminate $700M in debt (which put the agency at risk) were reached, and the Agency took a historic step by restructuring its governing bodies to include significant nonpolitical representation from Israeli society. Finally, with a view towards the Jewish future, the first ever Jewish People Policy Planning Institute was established.
Prior to his work with the Jewish agency, Mr. Meridor served as an advisor to the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel. In his governmental service, he was involved in the designing of Israel's foreign and defense policies, played a role in the peace process leading to the Madrid Peace Conference, participated in the negotiations that followed as the representative of the Ministry of Defense, and led Israel's Inter-Agency Steering Committee on Arms Control. Born and educated in Jerusalem, Mr. Meridor earned his B.A. degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He served as an Intelligence Officer in the IDF. He lives in Kfar Adumim with his wife No'a. They are the proud parents of three daughters.
Sallai Meridor: Well it’s very difficult to say that there is one point in time or one particular reason. We do see the trend. It’s a challenge to try and analyze and try to look for the roots. We only . . . Our eyes can only show us the symptoms. I think that one of the contributors to that may be a growing level of frustration in Muslim societies of their inability to make it in the world, and that their systems are not allowing the value which there is there in their societies to reach, speak and contribute to them, and to contribute to world societies. So one thing is where they are, vis-a-vie
. . . vis-a-vie a fast-advancing western society. At the same time, I assume that there are internal intentions within these societies between different segments of societies and others . . . between elements and societies of the regimes of those societies. So in a way, I’d say there are internal conflicts that are being exported to us, unfortunately. And these internal conflicts are enhanced by maybe a sense of frustration of not being able to cope in a competition for ideas, for new technology, and for progress.