ZFA NEWSLETTER APRIL 04 2014 SPECIAL EDITION 

ZFA Biennial and Sharansky events

180 delegates, including large contingents of young adults from the Australian Zionist Youth Council and AUJS, gathered in Melbourne on Sunday 30 March for the ZFA’s Biennial Conference.

With keynote addresses from the Hon Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition, Yariv Levin MK and of course our very special guest, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, the audience was treated to an engaging and informative program.

Mr Shorten opened with “I have long been a supporter of Israel”. He praised Israel – “I was curious, how can a country with a population of less than 8 million support a thriving venture capital industry that produces more successful start-ups than much larger economies like Japan and Korea? The answer was simple. Israel embraces science and isn’t afraid of failure…it is an inspiring story that shows Israel is determined to let every citizen fulfil their potential.”

Please read more here

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Speech from The Hon Bill Shorten MP addressing the ZFA Biennial

Sunday 30 March 2014

The Hon Bill Shorten MP“It’s great to be here today. I’ve long been a supporter of Israel – and an admirer of its success and its many accomplishments.

In 2012 I led a Ministerial delegation to Israel. I was keen to learn how it has made high-tech exports and entrepreneurialism its point of competitive advantage.

I was curious, how can a country with a population of less than 8 million can support a thriving venture capital industry that produces more successful start-ups than much larger economies like Japan and Korea? The answer was simple. Israel embraces science – and isn’t afraid of failure. Israel’s commitment to innovation – and commercialising that innovation – is hard-wired into key institutions.
There is a Chief Scientist in every Government Department, and a defence industry that drives innovation for industrial use. Above all, there is a tolerance for risk and failure, because investors realise that it’s often an entrepreneur’s second or third business that will be their most successful. It’s an inspiring story that shows Israel is determined to let every citizen fulfil their potential. It’s an example that Australia can draw a lot from – and I think there is much more we can do in the way of innovation partnerships with our good friends in Israel.

Today is an important chance for me to lay out the principles that inform Labor’s view of the Middle East. The Labor Party will always be proud of the role it played in the birth of modern Israel. We continue to have mutual security interests in the safety of our people against international terrorism and governments that support them, and I am proud of the elevated levels of defence cooperation that were reached during our Government. This included significant procurement of Israeli equipment in the areas of Battlefield Management Systems, UAVs, helmets, combat bandages, Typhoon weapons stations and other systems on our vessels, and the joint Thales and Plasan Protected Mobility Vehicle project. We also cooperate closely on methods of dealing with those insidious and indiscriminate Improvised Explosive Devices that have maimed and killed so many in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Labor’s belief in the right of the Israeli people to live within secure and recognised state boundaries has never wavered. We also have great hopes for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The best way to achieve this just peace is a two-state solution. And let me be very clear what I mean by that: One state for the Palestinian people. One state for the Jewish people. Two homelands for two peoples. We believe both sides need to demonstrate a willingness to engage in direct negotiations without pre-conditions and to move as quickly as possible to resolution of final status issues. It is at the negotiating table that these issues should be resolved. This is why I strongly support the efforts underway by Secretary of State John Kerry to reach a framework agreement – and ultimately a comprehensive peace treaty. Both sides face a moment of truth in these negotiations.

I have no doubt in the courage of the people of Israel to make the hard decisions in the interests of a just and lasting peace. And I firmly hope the same pertains to the Palestinian Authority. Labor acknowledges that the settlements and infrastructure Israel has built in the West Bank will need to be considered in drawing a final border. We will support an approach that enables  agreed border adjustments, including through the principle of a land swap which has been under discussion between the parties for a long time. We do acknowledge that some settlement activity in the West Bank is illegal under Israeli law and we encourage the Israeli authorities to act effectively with respect to this. But this issue, as difficult and emotive as it is, also has a solution:  a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine. The issue of Israeli settlements will be definitively concluded when there is a peace treaty, with defined borders – and then everyone knows the territory that Israel has, and that Palestine has. So the real answer to the settlements is to reach a settlement. And the sooner that is done – the better.

I also want to register my profound opposition to those promoting an anti-Israel boycott. I reject it.  It has no place in our universities and it has no place in the commercial marketplace. I stand for engagement with Israel at every level.

Let me turn to Iran: On the question of relations with Iran, I am not opposed to the principle of negotiating with Iran regarding the elimination of their nuclear weapons ambitions. I am an optimist – and I believe in the power of negotiation. We need to tread carefully though. We need to have our eyes open – and all options on the table. Regardless of our instincts in favour of consensus and negotiation, there are serious caveats that we should apply when seeking engagement with Iran. We need to consider carefully any undertakings made by a regime of the kind currently in power in Iran. Any progress in talks should be underpinned by the most rigorous of verification regimes. Sanctions have proven highly effective in putting pressure on Iran to begin a serious discussion of preventing Iran’s development of nuclear capability.

Sanctions should not be relaxed in any of the key areas affecting the regime’s nuclear applications. The international community should think carefully before depriving ourselves of negotiating positions by being too quick to unwind sanction measures in other areas. I remain cautious in regard to the Iranian regime. It is a regime that brutalises its own people. It maintains a foreign policy premised on maintaining support to global terrorism. Iran’s foreign policy advocates the destruction of Israel, supporting Hezbollah and Hamas with sophisticated weapons and training, backing the brutal Assad regime and threatening the Straits of Hormuz. None of this is acceptable – and it is easy to see, if you take Iran at its word, why Israel faces an existential threat from an Iran that has nuclear weapons. And it is not only Israel that feels this way.  Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey – all these Muslim states are deeply troubled and feel threatened by Iran and its posture.

As a proud democracy, as a peace-loving nation, as a country that has always believed in a world that is free and equal and as a great friend of Israel – Australia will not be silent on these matters.

Given the events of the last week, I thought I should also speak to you about another important issue in our political debate.

This is, of course, the Liberal Government’s proposal to repeal Sections 18B, C, D and E of the Racial Discrimination Act. I believe this is a colossal mistake – and a dangerous one. Now, issues like this stir up strong passions – and so they should. I am strongly opposed to the idea of watering-down the hate speech protections in Section 18C. As the representative of an electorate where 51 in every 100 citizens speaks a language other than English at home, I am proud of Australia’s migrant tradition. I think migration has made us the greatest, most multicultural nation on earth. I believe we should treasure and welcome all those who become Australians by choice.

In the last week – hundreds and thousands of Australians have made it clear that they feel the same way. The important thing for all of us who care deeply about this issue is to make sure that our passion for the rightness of this   cause does not consume the straightforward, sensible arguments against weakening the protections in 18C.

The case for clear protections against bigotry in the Racial Discrimination Act is strong enough without indulging in inflammatory rhetoric. So let me make this point clear from the outset. In opposing the changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, I am not accusing the Prime Minister, his Attorney General, or the Cabinet of being racists or bigots – or condoning racism or bigotry. Even if Senator Brandis has reached the appalling judgment in his legalistic journey as Attorney-General that it is a core value in our society for people to have the right to be bigots. Our country is far better than that pernicious view. Surely we aspire to something far better for our society. I’m not that interested in whether this change is just a matter of Tony Abbott keeping a promise he made to a think-tank.

Labor’s major concern is not the motivation behind the changes.  It’s the effect that the changes will have – it’s the message that the changes send.

I think any move to water-down protections against hate speech is a seriously retrograde step. It sends a dangerous, insidious signal that this issue isn’t as serious as it was before. That somehow, in some way, the need to protect people from prejudice is reduced. This is wrong. There is no place for bigotry, no place for racism, no place for hate speech in the modern Australia. That’s the message we should be sending. It’s the view of more than 150 community leaders who have come forward in the last week to denounce the government’s proposed changes.I don’t propose to list them all – but I do think it is worth noting that the head of the Prime Minister’s own Council on Indigenous Affairs has called this a ‘mad’ decision and one that will let bigots off the chain. And the Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, who showed such courage in standing up against racist abuse last year, has voiced his concerns that the new act will provide a ‘loophole’ for racist abuse.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you know better than me, better than anyone, that the Jewish people have been the target of bigoted abuse – of anti-Semitism – which is an old and wicked problem, and which is still with us today Section 18C empowers minorities with the ability to fight back, with the force of the law and the sanction of our State, in the face of the outrageous and malign, which could otherwise be the first step down a dark and evil path. It sets a moral standard on behalf of the nation that says who we are.

To me, there is no greater example of the value and importance of 18C than the case of Holocaust denier Frederick Toben. This was a man who:
-       Said that homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz were unlikely
-       Accused Jewish people who are offended by, and who challenge Holocaust denial of limited intelligence
-       Argued that Jewish people, for improper purposes, including financial gain, exaggerated the number of Jews killed during World War II and the circumstances in which they were killed.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry used section 18C to have these hateful, bigoted, ignorant statements removed from the internet and their author prosecuted. And last week, the Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said that under the Government’s new version of these laws – this significant case, and all those that the ECAJ has won against this kind of abhorrent anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, would have been extremely unlikely to succeed. To me, this is proof enough that the Government should not be tampering with these protections.

The final point I would make on this issue is that the real measure of the effectiveness is Section 18C is the fact that the overwhelming majority of cases are resolved through conciliation. Most of the time, the trained conciliator, the offender and the victim engage in a respectful dialogue, the offence is explained and an apology is given. Evidence shows that both parties perceive this as a fair process, and a mutually satisfactory one. We’ve got six weeks to change the government’s mind on this issue. I say ‘we’, because the government expect the Labor party not to agree with them. They will listen much more closely to your voice, the voice of the people, than they will to those of us who sit on the other side of the Parliament. So if you feel strongly about this – make it known.

Send a message.

Engage in the political debate and help keep Australia a tolerant, multicultural and peaceful nation.”

 

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ZFA NEWSLETTER MARCH 21 2014

Natan Sharansky in Australia

If you opened today’s The Australian  newspaper, or this week’s edition of the Australian Jewish News in both Sydney and Melbourne, you’ll know that Natan Sharansky is on his way to Australia. Click here and here to read the articles about his forthcoming visit in the media.

We are all so excited that Natan Sharansky will be arriving in Australia next week. He and his wife Avital have a jam packed itinerary in both Sydney and Melbourne, starting with youth and students in Melbourne on Tuesday evening.  The Sydney leg of the visit starts off with a lunch with the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) followed by a question and answer session that evening with the bogrim, madrichim and shlichim from all the youth movements.

The following day Mr Sharansky will spend time with principals and senior Jewish educators from Mount Sinai, Masada, Emmanuel, Kesser Torah, BJE and Moriah who are hosting the event. Natan Sharansky will continue the morning with an address to the senior students of the school. There’s a definite buzz around the community about the major communal event on Thursday evening at 7:45pm at The Central Synagogue, cohosted by the ZFA, ZCNSW and UIA NSW. We encourage those of you in Sydney to attend what will be a fascinating session.

As the special guest speaker for the ZFA Biennial Conference in Melbourne on Sunday 30 March, Mr Sharansky will address over 150 delegates attending from all over Australia and New Zealand. It will also be where we say farewell and toda raba to our outgoing President Philip Chester and welcome our incoming ZFA President Danny Lamm.

Natan Sharansky will address the Biennial on ‘Challenges for the Zionist Movement worldwide.’ It will also be attended and addressed by Yariv Levin MK, Australia’s Federal Opposition Leader The Hon Bill Shorten MP and Israel’s Ambassador to Israel, HE Shmuel Ben-Shmuel. As in Sydney, a highlight will be the communal event which takes place in Melbourne on the 1st April at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre at 8pm and is cohosted by the ZFA, ZCV and UIA Victoria.

We invite you all to attend the communal events in both Melbourne and Sydney, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us on 03 9272 5644 or zfa@zfa.com.au

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ZFA NEWSLETTER MARCH 07 2014

March News

The month of March has arrived and with it heralds many upcoming events we can look forward to.

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency will be our guest speaker at the upcoming Biennial on the 30th March in Melbourne. It promises to be a very interesting and informative day. At the conference, Philip Chester will be stepping down after 8 years of exceptional leadership as President of the ZFA and Danny Lamm will take up the position.

Other special guests who will be addressing the conference include:

Yariv Levin MK – Coalition chairman in the Knesset.

Australia’s Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

Israel’s Ambassador to Israel, HE Shmuel Ben-Shmuel

Sharansky will be attending many other functions as a guest of the ZFA in Sydney and Melbourne together with the ZCNSW, ZCV and UIA. He will arrive in Sydney on the 26th March and events will be held over three days including a large communal event on Thursday evening 27th March at The Central Synagogue. The communal event in Melbourne will be held on Tuesday 1st April at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre. He will also undertake a series of engagements with various groups in the community, including students, young adults, and members of the Israeli and Russian Jewish communities.

Sharansky has this to say about his upcoming visit: “The Australian Jewish community, with its emphasis on Jewish education and its strong connection to Israel, is in many ways a model for the Jewish world. I look forward to visiting my friends down under and experiencing the vibrancy of Australian Jewry.” 

AUJS Aviv update. The program is currently volunteering on kibbutz and we have a link to hear participants talk about their experiences. It is really great seeing these young adults working in the banana plantation, with children in the kindergarten, in the kitchen, with the horses and absorbing themselves in the Kibbutz experience. Click on thelink to see for yourself

We would also like to wish President, Philip Chester a big Mazal Tov on the recent wedding of his daughter Nom Chester to Yehuda Orelowitz, they tied the knot in Johannesburg, South Africa amongst close family and friends. We wish them a long life together filled with health and happiness

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Natan Sharansky to visit Australia

Communal Events: Sydney – 27th March. Melbourne – 1st April

 

Sydney Communal Event Details:-

Melbourne Communal Event Details:-

 

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency will be a guest of the ZFA in Sydney and Melbourne together with the ZCNSW, ZCV and UIA. He will arrive in Sydney on the 26th March and events will be held over three days including a large communal event on Thursday evening 27th March at The Central Synagogue. The communal event in Melbourne will be held on Tuesday 1st April at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre. Sharansky will be the special guest and keynote speaker at the ZFA’s Biennial Conference on Sunday 30 March in Melbourne. He will also undertake a series of events with various groups in the community, including students, young adults, and members of the Israeli and Russian Jewish communities.

Sharansky has this to say about his upcoming visit: The Australian Jewish community, with its emphasis on Jewish education and its strong connection to Israel, is in many ways a model for the Jewish world. I look forward to visiting my friends down under and experiencing the vibrancy of Australian Jewry.”

Sharansky was born in the Soviet Union to a Jewish family in 1948. He was a chess prodigy who graduated with a degree in Applied Mathematics from Moscow. Sharanksy was one of the foremost dissidents and spokesman for Soviet Jewry. Arrested in 1977 he spent years in the notorious prison camp in the Siberian gulag. He arrived in Israel in 1986 and was greeted by then Prime Minister Shimon Peres.  He is one of the most famous Soviet refusniks, an Israeli politician, author and human rights activist.

Philip Chester, ZFA President remarked: “The ZFA is honoured to bring Natan Sharansky to Australia in his capacity as Chairman of the Jewish Agency. He is no stranger to Australia having visited here in 2008, Sharansky has always had a huge impact on those who hear him speak. I have admired him from when he was an iconic dissident and a key player in the ‘let my people go’ campaign and to see his professional and personal evolution makes him a personal role model. His presence at the ZFA Biennial and events in both Sydney and Melbourne promise to engage with community and he will certainly resonate across the generations. We look forward to him sharing his story with the community. His incredible biography, activism and involvement as Chairman of the Jewish Agency is inspiring and we welcome him, his voice and his narrative.”

More event details to be released shortly

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ZFA NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 21 2014

Israel in the News

The past two weeks have seen Israel receive more than the usual amount of press in mainstream media. The Four Corners broadcast on ABC, 10th February created significant anti-Israeli sentiment. This was most notably witnessed through social media on Twitter and Facebook.

Philip Chester represented the ZFA along with other communal leaders in the community in defence of Israel. The underlying sentiment is there was a clear bias in the broadcast, which failed to address many of the key issues. Chester says: “The Four Corners program aired on ABC was highly emotive and one-sided. It only depicted the allegations in line with the Palestinian position and made absolutely no attempt to report the facts presented to the court or the difficult legal realities on the ground.”

The situation in the West Bank is not an easy resolve, there are many concerns that need to be addressed by all parties, as Chester went on to say: “If it is objectively established that youth in detention are not being appropriately treated, then Israel should improve its practices. This is something the Israel justice system is emphatically committed to.’’The ZFA received emails and phone calls in support from the community, which we highly value. The common question was ‘how do we help?’ The ZFA have released a number of advocacy reports that address these issues, we invite you to read them here and continue to show your support for Israel.

In other news we say farewell and thank you to Lee Rubenstein our Habonim and Community Shaliach in Perth and extend a very warm welcome to Leon Schneider, a former Perth boy who has returned home for a few years to fulfill this role. We look forward to introducing him properly in our next newsletter and are very excited to have him fulfill this role here.

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ZFA NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 07, 2014

Lehitraot to Israel Program gap year participants!

After a long flight Shnat participants arrived in Israel for the 6 day AZYC Opening Seminar. This is a unique opportunity for all the youth movements to join together as they prepare for the year long journey ahead.

The first day was spent travelling around Tel Aviv ‘Amazing Race’ style, which allowed everyone to experience a little bit of Tel Aviv and interact with Israeli’s whilst practicing their Hebrew.

The opening dinner was a welcome to all Shnat participants and included prominent guest speakers; His Excellency Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Spokesperson for the Foreign Media Mark Regev and JNF-KKL’s Education Director Dovi Paritsky. (read more…)

For further information on different programs available check out the Israel programs website

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“Shalom Israel” as Aussie gap year participants arrive in Israel

07 February 2014

Youth movement participants organised by the AZYC from Bnei Akiva, Betar, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair, Hineni and Netzer have completed their Opening Seminar in Israel

After a long flight Shnat participants arrived in Israel for the 6 day AZYC Opening Seminar. This is a unique opportunity for all the youth movements to join together as they prepare for the year long journey ahead.

The first day was spent travelling around Tel Aviv ‘Amazing Race’ style, which allowed everyone to experience a little bit of Tel Aviv and interact with Israeli’s whilst practicing their Hebrew.

The opening dinner was a welcome to all Shnat participants and included prominent guest speakers; His Excellency Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Spokesperson for the Foreign Media Mark Regev and JNF-KKL’s Education Director Dovi Paritsky.

Their days are filled with activities and varied experiences designed to challenge, encourage and help set the framework for the year ahead. There has been an introduction to Zionist thinkers, Tiyuls (hikes) near Beit Shemesh and Neve Ilan. The days aren’t all about experiencing Israel, although no introduction would be complete without a visit to the Kotel, which was a first for many or walking through Machane Yehuda market before Shabbat or dining in one of the many restaurants on Ben Yehuda Street. It is also about setting goals for the year, a time to discuss and appreciate different ideologies and diversity, debate topics relevant to Israel, examine the mindset of being a Shnat participant and how to make the most of the year.

The shnat programs focus on education, leadership training, Jewish learning, community service, touring, hiking and more. The programs give the participants skills to be educated, competent and passionate leaders in the Jewish and wider community.

Yigal Sela is the Israel Office Director for the ZFA. He was part of the Opening Seminar with the AZYC and says: – “For a long time the ZFA has worked to bring all the movements together and show them that they have a lot of common ground. This seminar is an expression of that goal and so it was very moving and satisfying to hear a Habonim boy get up just before Havdala at the end of the Shabbat and say that the Shabbat we had just spent together was the most meaningful and spiritual Shabbat he had ever experienced.”

From here the group heads out to their respective movement seminars.

Reuben Bolaffi, Chairperson of the AZYC and currently in Israel with the movements says: – “The 120 Shnat participants are embarking on an amazing journey in Israel, exploring the country, their movement and themselves. We are looking forward to seeing how they develop throughout the year and integrate within Israeli society”.

120 participants departed on youth movement shnat programs, 56 on AUJS Aviv and 67 on Israel By Choice.

To date there are 353 people heading to Israel this year on long term Israel programs in 2014, supported by grants and scholarships from the Masa program. A record number of 21-30 year olds are participating in a wide range of programs, including study abroad, career internships and special interest programs.

For further information on different programs available check out the Israel programs website

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“Lehitraot” as Aussie gap year participants leave for Israel

Youth movement participants organised by the AZYC from Bnei Akiva, Betar, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair,

Hineni and Netzer in flight

It was an emotional afternoon on the Australia Day public holiday 27th January

Shlichim, Madrichim, family and friends came to send-off the participants from Bnei Akiva, Betar, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair, Hineni and Netzer, with over 600 people at Sydney and Melbourne International Airports present to farewell the Shnatties (Australasian Zionist Youth Council program participants) as they departed for their respective programs.

Shlichim, Madrichim, family and friends came to send-off the participants from Bnei Akiva, Betar, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair, Hineni and Netzer coordinated by the AZYC.

They were farewelled amid chanting, singing, cheering, flag waving and emotional renditions of Advance Australia Fair and Hatikva.

In Melbourne, ZFA President Philip Chester addressed the group, reiterating the ZFA’s commitment to Zionist youth movements and wishing them a wonderful, fulfilling year and looking forward to seeing them assume positions of leadership in the community on their return. He said: – “The ZFA is involved because we believe in Israel and as many people experiencing this special place as possible and we believe in you, because when you come back to Australia you’re going to be leaders not only in your movements but also in the community itself. You’re going to learn a lot, and you’re going to have fun. You’re going to come back with a lot of knowledge, experience, spirit and ruach – all of the things to make our community a better place.”

The Shnat participants from all the youth movements will kick off their year with an intensive 5 day “Opening Seminar”, presented by the Australian Zionist Youth Council in conjunction with the ZFA.

The shnat programs focus on education, leadership training, Jewish learning, community service, touring, hiking and more. The programs give the participants skills to be educated, competent and passionate leaders in the Jewish and wider community.

Colin Picker, Eli Picker, Lois Cohen, Zachary Picker

For many this is a tradition with their parents having gone decades before. Habonim Shnattie: – Zachary Picker, 19, Randwick says “Both my parents went on Shnat when they were my age and I thought it would be a really fun and exciting experience. They (his parents) would be upset if I didn’t go. I’m most excited about the food and the smells of Israel.”

Guy Sussman 18, Maroubra said: – “Both my parents went on Shnat. It feels like my whole up bringing has been leading to this and it’s crazy that it’s actually happening!”

Lily Edelstein and Mikaela Higgins (Lily’s Madricha) 

For some like Netzer Shnattie Lily Edelstein, 18, Haberfield it is about the experience

Lily says “I’m really excited and really nervous, well not that nervous just overwhelmed. It’s huge having everyone here and knowing that you’re not going to see them for a year… I’m hoping that I’m going to meet a lot of new people and I used to speak Hebrew so I’d like to pick that up again.”

This departure marks the start of Australian gap year programs heading to Israel. 120 participants on youth movement shnat programs, 56 on AUJS Aviv and 67 on Israel By Choice will be starting their programs in the coming week.  353 people heading to Israel this year on long term Israel programs in 2014, supported by grants and scholarships from the Masa program. A record number of 21-30 year olds are participating in a wide range of programs, including study abroad, career internships and special interest programs.

 

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ZFA NEWSLETTER JANUARY 24, 2014


Welcome to 2014

The year has already brought with it a mixture of sadness and joy as we remember and celebrate the life of Ariel Sharon, a founding father of the State of Israel. Voices have risen in tribute around the world to the commander and leader. We recall a man of great courage, an architect and protector of the state of Israel.

It also serves as a reminder to us of those men and women who were responsible for the establishment of our Jewish state. We recall the challenges and accomplishments both past and present Israel faces as we re-affirm our commitment and connection to our homeland.

The Zionist Federation of Australia is dedicated to bringing eminent Israeli’s to Australia so we can access first-hand information and strengthen ties between our two countries. At our Biennial Conference on the 30th March, I will be retiring as President after eight  fulfilling years and for that event we are very pleased to announce the incredible speakers who will be attending:-

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency will be our guest together with the UIA at not only the Biennial but communal events in both Melbourne and Sydney. Sharansky was born in the Soviet Union to a Jewish family in 1948. He was a chess prodigy who graduated with a degree in Applied Mathematics from Moscow. Sharanksy was one of the foremost dissidents and spokesman for Soviet Jewry. Arrested in 1977 he spent years in the notorious prison camp in the Siberian gulag. He arrived in Israel in 1986 and was greeted by then Prime Minister Shimon Peres.  He is one of the most famous Soviet refusniks, an Israeli politician, author and human rights activist.

Yariv Levin is an Israeli politician, born in 1969 and a lawyer by profession, he currently serves as coalition chairman and the Likud-Beytenu faction in the Knesset. Levin served in the IDF Military Intelligence as an expert on Arabic language. He is married with three children and lives in Modiin. Levin is being brought out by Likud Australia and Betar and will be participating at events in both Sydney and Melbourne. He is also here to officially open the new Betar Maon in Melbourne.

We look forward to welcoming them and will provide all event details over the coming weeks

In February, Natalie Shnaiderman will be in Australia. She works for JAFI (Jewish Agency For Israel) as the Director of Development & Activities in North America and Australia, Unit for Russian Speaking Jewry. Together with our first shlicha for the Russian community Sasha Klyachkina they will be hosting a number of events in Sydney and Melbourne including a Russian speaking young adult leadership seminar. We are all very motivated by the progress being made in the Russian Jewish community, which makes up 20% of Jewry in Australia.

It promises to be an exciting year for the ZFA with many events, extraordinary speakers and opportunities to look forward to and we invite and welcome you to share them with us.

Read all about our new faces in the ZFA community

Go to Israel for free

Save the date: Purim Parties are coming up

View the newsletter 

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