NZ luminary passes away

April 13, 2014 by Henry Benjamin
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Mike Nathan, an outstanding leader of the New Zealand Jewish community has passed away at the age of 67.

Mike Nathan

Mike Nathan

Nathan, who had been battling cancer, was described by NZ Jewish Community Council head Geoff Levy as being “irreplaceable”.

Nathan, who died earl today (Sunday) had worked hand in hand with the executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein.

Rubenstein told J-Wire: “Mike Nathan will be sorely missed by his  many  admiring friends and colleagues, including at the Australia/Israel&Jewish Affairs Council.

A loyal and dedicated servant of  the New Zealand Jewish Community and   an effective promoter of  New Zealand/Israel trade ties  in particular ,Mike also contributed  energetically to fostering broader  cultural and political understanding and cooperation between the two nations  over a long period. We are especially grateful at AIJAC for the unstinting ,unrelenting  efforts he made for over a decade in organizing  productive, constructive programs in Auckland  and  Wellington  for our many distinguished international visitors.Indeed, he did so yet again just over one month ago, despite clearly suffering and undergoing  serious therapy, bravely ,with his characteristic good humour and without a hint of complaint .We extend our sincerest  condolences to his family and close circle of friends.”

Levy described Nathan as a one-man Jewish lobby who had endeared himself to members of the NZ parliament. He told J-Wire: “He was very close to the Attorney-General and was very involved in New Zealand-Israel trade.”

John and Gary Weiss remember Nathan from their Habonim days but John Weiss told J-Wire: “Mike had a huge commitment to Israel. Through the New Zealand-Asutralia Trade Association he kept the Israeli flag flying proudly in New Zealand for more than 30 years. He was very involved in hasbara, hosting meeting with Israeli visitors on a regular basis. I am rpud to have known this giant of akan…and I don’t use these words lightly.”

Mike Nathan spent part of his life in Israel. Geoff Levy said : “He was a source of wise counsel and suggestion. He managed and arranged  a great  many events and activities over many years.

His skills, advice, intellect  and friendship will be sadly missed.  He was greatly admired for his wide ranging talents and abilities and the force of his personality

Our sympathy  and condolences   go to his partner Jonathan,   his former wife Rita and their 3 children.”

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