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: I think that we see developments in America, and we see the public debate in America. And it’s only natural in our western societies. And the same happens in Israel. There is this trend of suggesting that there is a need to find ways to put an end to the war and the like. And I’m not dealing now with the issue of what exactly needs to be done in Iraq, and whether in the future there should be that number of soldiers or that number of soldiers. I think that what’s important – and I hope it’s understood in America; and I hear it from candidates for presidency, not only from the President; and candidates from both parties – that America, and our values, and our life, and our lives are under threat. And the threat is emanating from this region. There are two leaders at the moment of this threat. One is Iran, that is so dangerous a combination of religious fanaticism or almost messianic terror state and an ambition to have nuclear military power. And at the same time Al-Qaeda. And we have to face this threat and we have to confront it. And we meet it in different theaters in the Middle East and out of the Middle East. Yesterday it was . . . or the day before it was London. So we have to be resolute. We have to make our choices with regard to this tactic or that tactic, this theater or that theater. But if we don’t fight them where they are, we will – God forbid – have to fight them where we live.