New Israel Fund’s global chief to visit Australia
Daniel Sokatch, chief executive officer of the New Israel Fund, will visit Sydney and Melbourne in May on a speaking tour for the Australian branch of the pro-‐Israel organisation.
News of Mr Sokatch’s visit comes just one week after the Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, sent an official greeting to NIF Australia on the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut, in which he acknowledged “the commitment of the New Israel Fund to the vision in our Declaration of Independence of Israel as both a Jewish homeland and a shared society at peace with itself and its neighbours”.
Mr Sokatch is highly regarded as a writer and speaker and appears regularly on major TV and radio networks and in major print and online publications around the world.
He has been included four times in the New York Jewish Forward
newspaper’s annual list of the 50 most influential Jewish decision-‐ makers and opinion-‐shapers – in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2010.
Last year he was one of a select group of high-‐profile Jewish leaders invited by President Barack Obama to meet him at the White House.
After briefly enrolling in Rabbinical School in Israel in 1994, Mr Sokatch decided instead to attend law school and then earned a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies before pursuing his passion for social justice.
He founded the Progressive Jewish Alliance in Los Angeles, which grew to be the city’s largest liberal Jewish organisation, and then became chief executive of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco.
He took up his present post as chief executive of NIF in 2009.
“NIF is based on a simple idea: individuals who care about Israel can join together, speak out and invest in social change groups that help Israel to be a more free and open society,” said Mr Sokatch, who visited Australia in 2010 to sow the seeds of NIF Australia.
He added: “We stand for a set of core values of the Jewish people, including justice and freedom, equality and peace. As pro-‐Israel advocates, we work day in and day out to the best of our ability to help Israel, the national homeland of our people, to embody these values.”
Mr Sokatch arrives in Australia almost one year after the Australian branch of the New Israel Fund was formally launched by NIF president Naomi Chazan.
NIF Australia president Robin Margo said: “We are indebted to Daniel Sokatch for his work in helping establish NIF in Australia and eager to build on the successful visit last year of NIF president Naomi Chazan.
“Daniel’s visit offers our supporters a wonderful opportunity to hear from the frontline about NIF’s work in Israel and it is also an opportunity for those who want to know more about NIF.”
For more than three decades, the New Israel Fund has funded Israeli NGOs recognised by the Israeli government and it is widely credited with building civil society in Israel. It has offices or branches in Israel, the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia.