Eco Zionism 2022: Australian educators tour Israel with JNF

July 17, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund are hosting over 260 principals and teachers from around the world to participate in the organisation’s World Education Seminar focusing on KKL – JNF’s Zionist activities and the organisation’s coping with the climate crisis.

Ambassador Paul Griffiths attended the conference  [in suit]

Delegations from  Australia, USA, France, South and Central America, Eastern Europe and many more toured Israel from North to South, visit selected heritage sites and met with local educational teams to create new collaborations.

The Australian delegation held a short memorial service at the Maccabiah Bridge and was the only delegation to meet with its ambassador.

Aiming to empower the future generation of leaders, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund hosts once a year the World Education Conference for principals and teachers from dozens of countries around the world. Seminars consist of tours, meetings with the educational systems in Israel, the army, nature and heritage site tours, and creating collaborations between KKL – JNF and teachers from around the world.

Delegation of hundreds of teachers and principals from around the world are visiting Israel to learn about KKL – JNF’s Zionist activities and the organisation’s coping with the climate crisis.

During the coming month, KKL – JNF will hold educational seminars for teachers who will come to Israel specifically to learn about the organizations work and its response to the global climate crisis. About 300 teachers and principals will land in the country and will go on study tours and various seminars related to the KKL – JNF’s Zionist activity in its 120 years of activity.

The seminar program has been held continuously for more than 20 years, and now after two years of freezing due to the corona plague, the program is back in operation. During their time in Israel, teachers will learn about the connection between the climate crisis and Zionism, the Israeli water industry and the KKL – JNF’s connection to it. All this with the aim of bringing the educators closer to Israel in general and to the Zionist activity of the KKL – JNF in particular.

The Australian delegation, which numbered 80 teachers and principals, the biggest delegation of the conference, visited Israel for 10 days. The tour started at the north of Israel in the Sea of Galilee and at KKL – JNF House for Excellence, which overlooks the Galilee Landscape, for a lecture about Israel and KKL – JNF work. The delegating also visited Jerusalem and the Negev and finished the tour in Tel Aviv, holding a special memorial service at the Maccabiah Bridge. That same evening the delegation visited Anu, the museum of Jewish people at Beit Hatfutzut, where they met with Australian Ambassador to Israel Paul Griffiths, who addressed them. The Australian delegation was the only delegation to meet with its ambassador.

Director of the JNF’s Education and Community Division, Sar – Shalom Jerby said: “We are interested in training teachers and principals to work together with KKL – JNF and to use the educational content of the Education and Community Division. In Jerusalem, we intend to strengthen the Zionist identity of teachers in the Diaspora and thus strengthen the connection of students and their families to Israel. ”

Shlomo Benhaiem, Director of Diaspora Zionist Education Department, Education & Community Division, added: KKL – JNF Diaspora Zionist Education Department is pleased to host about 260 teachers and principals from English-speaking countries in Israel. For the first time, we have delegations from South Africa, teachers and principals from the USA, a delegation from Canada and a delegation from Australia. The conference’s purpose is to expose educators to KKL – JNF content, connect them to Israel and Zionism, connect teachers from different counties and get to know about education in Israel. The teachers travel and tour the country and they will return to their countries with a variety of experiences, memories and educational tools in order to strengthen the connection between the younger generation to the Land of Israel and the State of Israel”.

Yigal Nissel, JNF Australia CEO Dan Springer, Paul Griffiths, Zeev Kedem and Gideon Shavit

Paul Griffiths, Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, commented: It is a privilege to be here, partly because Israel and Australia are so close on different levels – historically, economically, politically, and culturally. This is a wonderful country to work in and work with. Australia has a strong Jewish community, and its generosity is reflected in amazing KKL – JNF projects across the country. I thank KKL – JNF for bringing you here and I am sure you learned a lot about Israel, which is a complex and beautiful country. I hope you take it home with you and pass on the positive message. ”

From the participants:

Liz Bezuidenhout, The Scots College Sydney: “It is a wonderful opportunity to learn all about what Israel has to offer and take it back to classrooms in Australia”.

Jeanette Segal, Hebrew teacher, Moriah College Sydney: ” It’s been 23 years since my last visit to Israel, and it’s definitely changed, but it’s still inspiring and the most beautiful place in the world”.

Carolina Townshend, Montefiore Home Sydney: “This is my first visit to Israel. I have heard so many stories about Israel, especial from Holocaust survivors which whom I work, and finally, I get to visit here. This is really a special country, and I am thrilled to see how people here are connected to their land.

Megan Bernitz, a primary school teacher from Sydney, lived in Israel for 7 years and was involved in a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, in which 4 people were killed. As an MDA volunteer, she treated the wounded and helped save lives: “It’s not easy for me to come back to Israel, but I know it’s our homeland, and I’m sure things happen for a reason.  Following what I went through, I decided to become a teacher in order to educate children to help others. ”

Marnie Davies, a teacher at Masada College Sydney, commented: “This is my first visit to Israel. It was important to me to get to know the Jewish culture and learn more about the state of Israel.”

Henry Chien, Montefiore Home Sydney: ” We visited many interesting places, we had a lot of special experiences, and I’m sure there will be a lot more in the coming week. ”

Lynda Abel, Moriah College Sydney: “I love Israel, and every time I come back, I feel my love for Israel. Jerusalem is an amazing spiritual city that fills the heart. ”


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