Honorary doctorate for Isi Leibler

May 6, 2016 Agencies
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The Jerusalem-based former president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Isi Leibler is to be conferred with an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University.

The university states: “An ardent advocate of the State of Israel and world statesman, Mr. Leibler will be recognised for his tireless efforts to address the challenges facing the Jewish Nation at every historic crossroad – from Soviet Jewry to the BDS. Prior to receiving the honor, Leibler will deliver a lecture on campus entitled “Israel and Diaspora Jewry — A Looming Crisis”.

Isi Leibler

Isi Leibler

University President Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz added: “With the ever-increasing threats posed by assimilation, BDS, a nuclear Iran, anti-Semitism and a variety of additional dilemmas, the Jewish People may be facing some of the greatest challenges yet. I have no doubt that intellectuals and activists such as Isi Leibler, who has so tremendously contributed to the betterment of the Jewish world over the course of decades, will help us meet and overcome these challenges and guide us through these difficult times.  We are deeply proud to be honoring Isi and his lifetime achievements.”

 “Bar-Ilan University embodies the ideals of Torah and Madah and Torah im derech eretz which have been the cornerstone of my Jewish outlook. I am proud and deeply honored to be the recipient of an honorary doctorate from such a prestigious institution,” said Leibler.

Bnei Akiva, the world’s largest religious Zionist youth movement, and of whose Australia operations Leibler is a founder, will also be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University — in recognition of its dedication to growing generations of Jews committed to building a society devoted to Torah and the Jewish people in the State of Israel.   Additional honorees will include NASA Administrator Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., Nobel Prize winning scientist Prof. Serge Haroche, of France, US Jewish leader Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Yaakov Turkel, and others.

Earlier this year Leibler donated his unique Judaic library collection of 40,000 volumes – one of the most unique, private Jewish library collections in the world — to Bar-Ilan University.  At the time he expressed his pride at having found a new home for his collection at Bar-Ilan University, which he said so strongly reflects his own Hashkafat Olam (world view).

Leibler’s passion for books, fueled by an intense intellectual curiosity and a deep commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, has grown into this comprehensive, up-to-date, methodic and well-organized library. The Leibler Collection covers all aspects of 4,000 years of Jewish existence in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora – from history to culture and civilization.

Over many decades, Isi Leibler has become recognized as a passionate defender of the State of Israel and for his distinguished record of contributions to the Jewish world and the cause of human rights.  Born in Antwerp, Belgium, he and his family moved to Australia just before the outbreak of World War II.  He served successive terms as President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and Chairman of the Governing Board and Chairman of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress.

Leibler was one of the pioneering global leaders in the campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry, leading Australia to become the first country in the world to raise the plight of Soviet Jewry at the United Nations.  During his numerous visits to the Soviet Union before its collapse, he developed close ties to leading Jewish dissidents and refuseniks, with some of whom he still maintains contact. Paradoxically, when Mikhail Gorbachev liberalized the system, Leibler became the first international Jewish leader to be invited to the Soviet Union to evaluate the changes. He subsequently launched the first Jewish cultural center in the Soviet Union since the Revolution – the Solomon Mykhoels Center in Moscow, together with the first Hebrew Song Festivals in Moscow and Leningrad.

Leibler subsequently focused his efforts on the Asia-Pacific region.  He met with Indian and Chinese leaders, including Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, with whom he played a key role in paving the way for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel, India and China.

Leibler moved to Israel in 1999, settling in Jerusalem. Since then, he has emerged as one of the leading global English language commentators on Israel and Jewish affairs. A prolific writer, he publishes weekly columns in J-Wire, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, and on his blog Candidly Speaking from Jerusalem.

The Honorary Doctorate ceremony will take place on the Bar-Ilan University campus in Ramat Gan on Tuesday, June 7, in the framework of the University’s 61st annual Board of Trustees meetings and events.

Comments

One Response to “Honorary doctorate for Isi Leibler”
  1. Erica Edelman says:

    Mazeltov Isi ! May you continue in your inimitable
    Way! May you always shine your light where only darkness has been and
    May you continue to explore the frailties and strengths of our kind in the generous and
    Compassionate way that is uniquely yours
    Erica Edelman – Perth – Western Australia

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