Vladimir Herzberg, Russian-Israeli academic declares candidacy in WJC elections, says overhaul needed
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) needs a drastic overhaul, beginning with the ejection of wealthy businessmen from the organization, according to Vladimir Herzberg, the latest candidate to announce his participation in elections for the WJC's presidency.
Herzberg, a former scientist in Russia, and a researcher in economics at Ben Gurion University, certainly stands out among the candidates vying for leadership at the WJC. In the past, he has unsuccessfully tried to capture a number of senior positions in Israel, including the chairmanship of the Likud party, and that of the Jewish Agency.
Undeterred by those failures, Herzberg told Ynetnews he was now seeking the presidency of the WJC, adding that he was unable to travel to New York to promote his candidacy because he cannot meet the cost of the flight.
"I'm not an outsider," Herzberg admitted. "But despite that, I deserve a chance. I've never stolen a penny, and I'm very against corruption. A person must separate business from public office," he added.
Herzberg said the other, wealthy candidates contending for the WJC's presidency are out of touch with the needs of Israelis, adding that the organization must refocus itself, and place aid to the State of Israel at the top of its priorities.
"The State is in trouble. I know what it ' s like to live and struggle here in Israel. (WJC presidential candidate Ronald) Lauder and others don't know the problems we face from first - hand experience," Herzberg declared. "The first thing the WJC should do is provide aid to Israelis struggling to make ends meet, and those in Sderot facing Qassam rockets. This organization needs to come down from the sky, and come down to the level of the simple people here in Israel," he added.
"We only have one country. This is our country. I live here, and I have experience. As WJC president, I would be good for the Jews," he said. Herzberg added that his second priority would be to encourage Diaspora Jews to make aliya. "Israel comes first," he said, adding: "Then we can start to encourage those in the Diaspora to come here."