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 the U.S. has a role in the Middle East and a global role in the world. The western society and our system of values is today under a major attack by religious fanatics from, unfortunately, the Middle East. And the U.S. is leading the world for the children of all of us in trying to confront this terror, and trying to bring about a better situation for the future generations. So the U.S. is, as we see it is active, and we are trying to be as ______ as possible in the war against terror in different fronts; trying to see to it that terrorist don’t find safe havens in different places; that we have better intelligence and gaining cooperation to make sure that if we can’t find terrorists before they attack, that we will find them before they find us. We cooperate on different levels in the area of counter terrorism from offense to defense. At the same time we’re trying with the United States to see if there is an opportunity to work with moderates in the Middle East to try to confront these trends of extremism and religious fanaticism to something that is more reasonable, that is more appreciative of the very universal human values that we all believe in – be it the sanctity of human lives, or basic human rights to every individual, and respect for the other, and peace. So while we are fighting a very difficult war against terror, at the same time the U.S. with Israel are trying to look for every opportunity to advance peace in the region, and hopefully in the world.