Australians participate in Naomi Chazan Fellowship

August 7, 2017 by  
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Five Fellows from Sydney and Melbourne have participated in the New Israel Fund (NIF) Naomi Chazan Fellowship in Israel.

Australian participants meet Australian ambassador-designate to Israel Chris Canaan

Together with their British and for the first time American counterparts, they experienced an immersive ten-day Israel tour. Now in its third year, the Fellowship aims to broaden understanding within the Australian Jewish community of the social and political challenges facing contemporary Israel.

With the opportunity to participate in one of the community’s most innovative programs for young leaders, the Fellows gained first-hand knowledge of the varied and complex issues facing Israeli civil society. Over the next ten months, they will use their knowledge and skills to raise awareness of these issues through a series of community events, talks and publications.

“The Fellowship has been a game-changer in terms of raising awareness of Israeli society. Previous participants have run an amazing range of projects: including a series of Shabbat dinners, a Haggadah supplement and some talks at Limmud. They have expanded the intra-communal dialogue about Israeli society and I am confident the next cohort of Fellows will continue this important work,” ​said Liam Getreu, Executive Director of the New Israel Fund

“Increasing numbers of young Jews, who are committed to Israel, are troubled by the ongoing conflict and threats to democratic institutions in Israel. The Fellowship program shows the young people who Israel is a vibrant society with activists working hard to protect and promote democratic values. As Jews in the Diaspora, rather than disengage from Israel, we should support movements that are committed to a Zionist vision of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state,”​.

In addition to their engagement with Israeli civil society activists, participants also spent two days in the West Bank where they met with Palestinians involved in a variety of work in the West Bank. They also met the newly appointed Australian ambassador to Israel Chris Canaan.

The 2017-18 Australian NIF Fellows are: Amy Dascal, Bracha Rafael, Bec Sharp and Chloe Stimar from Melbourne and Graham Kaplan from Sydney.

“With the knowledge and skills we have gained during our Israel tour, we believe we will be able to put all that to great use now that we are back in Australia. We all have amazing plans which we hope will help achieve greater awareness and engagement with Israeli society.”​ (Bec Sharp)

“The Fellowship trip was truly a unique experience. We embarked on a program which was an informative, challenging, inspiring and intense 10 days. While it’s not enough time to gain a full understanding of all aspects of Israeli or Palestinian society, it has provided me with an insight into the many complexities within these societies and the difficulties that many people face in their daily lives.

The amazing work of the NIF grantees who are working within Israel, under great pressure, is truly inspiring and confirmation that change is possible from within. Their work also highlighted the need for the Jewish diaspora to contribute to Israeli society in a meaningful way.” (Graham Kaplan)

“We met some amazing activists in Israel, including from Women of the Wall. WOW is campaigning for a greater access for non-Orthodox streams of Judaism to the Western Wall. These sorts of issues are absolutely crucial for many Jews in the Diaspora who feel that the current situation in Israel benefits Orthodoxy at the expense of other types of Jews, and we feel that Israel should be the home for all Jews, irrespective of how you practice Judaism.”​ (Amy Dascal)

For further information on the New Israel Fund, or the Naomi Chazan Fellowship, contact NIF Australia Executive Director Liam Getreu on ​​ or (02) 9045 3688.

Report from: Eli Oshorov


One Response to “Australians participate in Naomi Chazan Fellowship”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    Thanks for naming the fellows. I’ll make a point of telling everyone I know to ignore any function they address because all they will be doing is propagandising against Israel.

    Real Jews are not ” troubled by the ongoing conflict and threats to democratic institutions in Israel”. They know full well that the conflict is due to implacable mohammedan supremacist aggression. The conflict is a religious war between jihadists and Jewish values. The NIF’s attack on Israel and the deceptive methods it uses – so like the KGB’s zhivsekcia – is below contempt.

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