Communal leader Bennett Aaron is honored by the Jewish Agency for Israel for his role in helping to make apartments available to low-income Israelis at a reasonable cost.
Bennett Aaron, the illustrious Philadelphia attorney and longtime Jewish communal leader, was recently honored by the Jewish Agency for Israel in Jerusalem, where he has long played an active role.
The JAFI honor specifically saluted him for the leadership role he played in helping the agency seal a deal to sell apartments to low-income tenants at a substantially reduced rate.
The apartments had been managed by Amigour, the Jewish Agency’s housing branch. As the former chair of United Israel Appeal, Aaron served as a chief architect, playing a major role in brokering the deal.
The $650 million in sales proceeds relieves the heavy debts incurred by the JAFI decades ago when helping the mass influx of refugees from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia settling in Israel strained the agency’s budget to the breaking point.
Addressing the JAFI’s board after being feted, Bennett discussed how dispersing the apartments wasn’t an easy sell — he had to pay nine visits to the Knesset to discuss legalities and convince officials it was the right and proper thing to do.
“Opportunities come along to do something with special significance,” says Aaron, a former president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia as well as a former board chairman of the Jewish Publishing Group.
This, he says, was one of them.