A SURPRISE change of president has capped off the year for the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), with Dr Andre Oboler announcing his resignation after only five weeks in the role.
He will step down on January 29.
News of his departure – which, according to a JCCV statement, will see vice-president Frank Greenstein taking the reins of the roof body as interim president – came amid reports of tension between Oboler and members of the JCCV executive.
The AJN understands the friction developed over a range of governance issues, specifically involving the relationship between the JCCV and the Community Security Group (CSG).
“I’m aware that CSG were not very happy with my presidency,” Oboler, who became president at the organisation’s AGM on November 16, told The AJN this week.
Invigorating Victoria’s Jewish community, building stronger bridges outwards, and combating antisemitism are goals Dr…
“I’ve come in as a new broom … someone used to running organisations on minimal resources and having a significant impact. I’ve been working on trying to increase JCCV’s standing within the community, increase its connections with our affiliates and with members of the community … and be what JCCV can and should be.
“Part of the issues we’ve had I think is that perhaps not everyone’s ready for that change and maybe it’s going to take longer. I think it’s a change that needs to happen.
“JCCV plays a critically important role on behalf of the community, overseeing and managing a whole range of functions that facilitate other organisations. And on behalf of the community, it’s critical that we get the governance on these things right,” he said.
According to the JCCV statement, Doron Abramovici will step into Greenstein’s shoes as interim vice-president. However, with the next AGM not due until November 2021, the body did not specify if or when a permanent president and vice-president would take over.
Regarding the reason for Oboler’s departure, the statement indicated only that “following a very busy month” he was stepping down and would be taking on “a new international leadership role” with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society.
Oboler – a JCCV delegate since 2012, a member of the executive since 2014 and CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute – confirmed to The AJN he has accepted a senior position at the global body, where he will foster the organisation’s use of technology to combat social evils such as online antisemitism.
The departing JCCV president described the US-based institute, for which he has been volunteering for 11 years, as “the leading international organisation that advances technology for the benefit of humanity” and that his new post “will elevate the discussion within the global technology sector about online antisemitism and other forms of online hate”.
Oboler stated that his resignation date, as agreed with the JCCV executive, is intended to allow for a smooth handover period early in the new year.
Meanwhile, Greenstein said in the JCCV statement that the executive “is disappointed that there will be a change of leadership so soon after the elections, but recognises Andre’s passion remains in pursuing advances on combating antisemitism across Australia and the world”.
Greenstein further acknowledged Oboler’s dedicated service as a member of the JCCV executive for six years and wished him success professionally and personally.
The JCCV statement went on to stress that the executive “will be working closely with Judy Fetter, executive director, to ensure the shared vision to expand community connections, collaborate more closely with affiliates, and represent the Jewish community in a cohesive and meaningful manner across local and state government, while continuing to contribute to a robust multicultural Victoria”.
Greenstein was approached by The AJN for further comment but did not respond.
The CSG also declined to comment.