As process stalls, candidates to lead Jewish Agency warn of urgent world challenges

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The race for the chairmanship of the Jewish Agency has become surprisingly compelling.

With parties in the unwieldy government coalition putting forth competing candidates, and the powerful opposition Likud party backing its own contender, there was already some intrigue over who would run the massive semi-governmental organization.

The Yair Lapid-backed front-runner, Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern, withdrew his candidacy in October, amid a growing controversy over comments suggesting he had ignored sexual harassment complaints as head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate.

Since then, the coalition’s actions have done little to inspire confidence in the process, or in an organization that is often seen as an arcane holdover whose chairman is selected through back-room dealing.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai of the Labor Party initially threw his hat in the…

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