Israelis abroad seek better community relations

March 6, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Over 150 Israelis living abroad  have met in Herzliya  to discuss how Israelis relate to the communities in which they live and how those communities relate to the State of Israel.

 

Ran Mesterman [Canada], Anat Koren [UK], Eitan Drori [Australia] and Oren Heiman [USA]

Ran Mesterman [Canada], Anat Koren [UK], Eitan Drori [Australia] and Oren Heiman [USA]

The conference was attended by Israelis resident in Australia, the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Canada, Hungary amongst others. All are involved in either commercial or communal organisations.

Israel’s President, Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin, expressed his warm greetings to the attendees stating: “This historical conference bears material significance on our community and on our country. Mapping the unique needs of Israelis living in the diaspora, strengthens the connection between Jewish communities around the world and helps strengthen the connection between the State of Israel and its friends overseas. The Jewish communities, which you are part of, serve as a bridge among nations… As a member of a family which includes members outside of Israel, I send you my greetings and wish you many more years of productive activity. Please keep in mind, that anywhere you go, the State of Israel is the home that will always welcome you.”

The conference was hosted by the Interdisciplinary Centre, led by Professor Uriel Reichman and was opened by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who stated “I am fully familiar with the important contribution of the Israeli diaspora to the State of Israel and its viability… Israelis abroad are a true asset that can assist Israel in many ways and we must strengthen such connection…. So many Israeli believe that even when they are outside the borders of Israel, they are still part of the pounding heart of the Jewish and Israeli State…”

The conference was addressed by over 40 speakers, including Members of Knesset, academicians, governmental executives, artists and journalists. Prior to and during the conference, coverage was provided by Channel 2 and Channel 10, Reshet B, the Military Radio and written press.

The attendees including members of the media, politicians, executives of the Jewish Agency, Center for Educational Technology (CETI), the World Jewish Conference, executive of the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, academicians, education professionals and leadership from around the world, including MK Dr. Ronen Hoffman, MK Hilik Bar, MK and Deputy Chairman of the Knesset Dr. Ruth Calderon, Brig. General Gal Hirsch, Chairman of the Israeli Leadership Institute, Prof. Boaz Ganor of IDC, Katriel Shchori, Chairman of the Israel Film Fund, Dr. Einat Wilf, Dafna Armoni, Chairman of EMI, Rami Kleinstein, Brig. General Azriel Nevo, Arthur Koll of the Foreign Ministry and others.

The conference included panels and discussion on matters relevant for Israeli communities worldwide. The conference allowed creating connections among communities and working together on instilling Jewish and Israeli identity in second and third generation diaspora members. The conference introduced projects and initiatives in education, culture, public diplomacy and battling BDS and presented methods in maintaining a worldwide network of Israeli community leaders. The full program and list of speakers can be accessed here http://israeli-leaders.wix.com/kenes.

Ran Mesterman [Canada], Anat Koren of AGIV [UK], Oren Heiman of Moatza Mekomit [USA] and Eitan Drori, President of the Association of Israelis in Australia organised the conference assisted by Nir Geva [Holland], Dr. Vered Glickman and Lee Aloni [Hungary]

The organisers stated; “Upon conclusion of the conference, we feel that our intra-community dialogue and our dialogue with the State of Israel has increased significantly. We still have a lot of work to do on creating a true network of Israeli community leaders around the world and connecting them to the State of Israel. Participation of Knesset members from the leading parties and many leading figures in Israeli institutions is a great step in the right way of recognizing the importance of maintaining strong connections with the Israeli diaspora”.

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