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Sam Grundwerg Listed Among Israel’s Top Senior Figures
Home PageOur ImpactnewsSam Grundwerg Listed Among Israel's Top Senior Figures
New Makor Rishon Reports Spotlights Our World Chairman

“For 100 years, your organization has been one of the most influential Jewish organizations in fundraising for and building the Jewish state and assisting programs supporting world Jewry and international programs spanning diplomacy, education, science, and culture.” This is how President Vladimir Putin opened his speech in front of the heads of Keren Hayesod, leaders of other Jewish organizations and major Jewish donors. They had come to meet with the Russian president at the initiative of Keren Hayesod’s World Chairman Sam Grundwerg.

Grundwerg navigates the economic arm of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency with the help of an extensive global network. His institute, Keren Hayesod, coordinates all contributions to the activities of the two bodies mentioned above, except for donations from the United States. When Keren Hayesod was established in 1920, it concentrated on financing aliyah (immigration to Israel), assisting immigrants and developing new communities in Israel. Over the years, Keren Hayesod has adapted to new challenges faced by the people of Israel. Today, Keren Hayesod also ensures resources for strengthening the connection between Israel and world Jewry, reducing social gaps in Israeli society and assisting victims of terrorism and their families.

Grundwerg was born in Florida and immigrated to Israel at 17 years old. He served in the IDF as a lone soldier in the Armored Corps. After marrying Julia and graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Bar-Ilan, he returned to Miami due to family needs. He went on to obtain master’s and doctorate degrees and worked for several years as a lawyer. After 11 years in Hollywood, Florida, he returned to Israel with his family and settled in Efrat. As someone who immigrated to Israel twice – first at the age of 17 and then as with a family, including three children – the issue of aliyah is close to Grundwerg’s heart. He personally understands the difficulties experienced by immigrants at different stages of their aliyah and absorption.

In Israel, Grundwerg has previously served as a director of the World Jewish Congress, an international body that represents Jewish communities around the world vis-à-vis local governments.

Prior to assuming his current role at Keren Hayesod, Grundwerg served as Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles. During this time, Grundwerg forged valuable connections and led important diplomatic efforts on behalf of the State of Israel.

Grundwerg was appointed in 2018 as World Chairman of Keren Hayesod by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Two years later, Netanyahu sought to oust Grundwerg from the post after the latter seemingly attempted to hire a new CEO for Keren Hayesod that was apparently affiliated with the left. Following political drama and fierce opposition from senior officials, Grundwerg remains in his post.

Translated from original Mekor Rishon 2021 report (pictured).