Melbourne’s UIA off to a bright start

March 5, 2015 by Carli Diamond
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Melbourne’s United Israel Appeal 2015 campaign has been launched with a bumper line up of speakers and defenders of Israel to headline it.

The campaign events will take the community on a journey which celebrates the success of Israel but also demonstrates the continued need for Diaspora support. Funds raised through our events will continue to support Israel’s most vulnerable populations – Youth at risk, the Elderly and Olim.

Brigitte Gabrielle   Photo:   Dean Schmideg

Brigitte Gabrielle                                                     Photo: Dean Schmideg

UIA Victoria President Shlomo Werdiger stated that, “our 2015 UIA campaign will once again deliver a fantastic line up of speakers from all walks of life. As the pre-eminent fundraising campaign for Israel we are proud of the vital work we continue to do to support Israel’s most valuable asset – OUR PEOPLE! No other organisation has the scope and diversity of programs which UIA provides. More importantly, our commitment is to find enduring solutions to assure that no-one, be it olim, underprivileged or those who live in the outlying communities, is left behind in Israel’s dynamic and vibrant society.”

UIA Executive Director and Shlicha Amit Tzur-Tal commented that, “the work that UIA carries out in Israel directly impacts the lives of so many Olim and vulnerable populations in order to bridge critical gaps – both educationally, socially and physically so that they become equipped with the tools and hope to become valuable and contributing members of Israeli society. One of our high priority projects for this year’s fundraising efforts is the armouring of kindergartens and schools in the South in light of the events surrounding Operation Protection Edge. The aim of this project is to ensure that the children, who are predominately Olim, are protected and safe in the event of a code red attack.”

There are currently 3 Kibbutzim in the Negev that NEED OUR URGENT HELP – Kibbutz Mefalsim, Nir-Am and Or HaNer. Across these kibbutzim, there are 6 kindergartens with 60 students in total aged 1 to 6 years old. There is a small safe room situated on the outside of each building, but these are inadequate as the children can’t get there in time and they all can’t fit into the room.  Funds raised will be directed towards building another room on each premises which will serve as an activities room for the children during the day where they can nap as well, and have a secondary function as a safe room in the event of a code red.  This is the reality of what kindergarten kids had to go through during the Operation and therefore it is our role to ensure their safety by providing these full armoured surroundings for them.

The UIA campaign had a pre-launch in early February for their volunteers and table captains with guest speaker Rebekah Giles – Rebekah overcame enormous adversity after becoming seriously injured in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami while holidaying in Thailand. After numerous surgeries and challenges, just three years later, she became one of Sydney’s most respected commercial litigators and had a story of incredible resilience, survival and overcoming the odds.

Last week, UIA co-hosted a public forum with AIJAC with Melanie Phillips with 250 people. Melanie Phillips is a journalist, author, commentator and recent Oleh to Israel and discussed “the battle for civilisation In the wake of the French atrocities and rising European antisemitism, is the west now waking up to the nature and extent of the threat which until now it has refused to understand or confront?”

Our Women’s Division Breakfast which raises money for the Youth Futures program in Israel was held on Tuesday 3rd March with 585 people at the International of Brighton with Brigitte Gabriel – Leading terrorism expert providing information and analysis on the rise of global Islamic terrorism who has also addressed the United Nations on behalf of Israel and top leaders from all over the world. Brigitte conveyed a message of support for Israel through her incredible story – it was an exceptional and inspiring event thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Colonel Richard Kemp and Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ira “Chezy” Deutsch will headline the Campaign Launch Gala Dinner on Monday 16 March.  Kemp, a former Commander of British Forces, has spent most of his life combating terrorism and insurgency. He was instrumental in refuting Judge Goldstone’s allegations of war crimes against the IDF during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.

Deutsch was the Former Director for International Relations of the Home Front Command (HFC), coordinating Israeli International Humanitarian Aid missions, including the Israeli mission to Haiti. He will also be speaking at a YoungUIA Sessions Event on Tuesday 17 March and a Community Afternoon Tea on Wednesday 18 March.

There are still tickets available for the remaining events of the campaign, and UIA looks forward to welcoming you to these events and being part of supporting Israel’s most valuable asset – OUR PEOPLE!

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