Another candidate enters WJC race

Writer and activist Einat Wilf announced her candidacy for president of the World Jewish Congress.

The 36-year-old former foreign policy adviser to Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres is being backed by KolDor, an international group of next-generation leaders.

Wilf is writing her dissertation for a doctorate in political science from Cambridge University about the workings of the WJC during the 1990s, when the organization was at the center of the battle for Holocaust restitution money. She has written two books about public policy in Israel.

Edgar Bronfman, who has been the WJC president since 1979, steps down June 10. The same day in New York, WJC’s governing board will elect an interim president to serve until the organization’s next plenary meeting in 2009.

Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics mogul and Jewish National Fund president, is the only other official entrant. Mendel Kaplan, chair of the WJC executive committee and a South African steel manufacturer, is expected to enter the race. It is unclear if Bronfman’s son, Matthew, will run.

Candidates must notify the office of the WJC Secretariat in writing by Friday, June 1.

Wilf is running on a platform of reforming and revitalizing the WJC.

“My candidacy is motivated by a deep concern for the future of the World Jewish Congress and the widening gap between what it has been, what it could be and its present state,” Wilf wrote in her nomination letter to the Secretariat. “Given this critical juncture in the WJC’s history, it is imperative that a new and committed generation of Jewish activists articulate a vision for the WJC and commit to realizing it.” — jta