Shalit’s Father Meets Australian Youth

May 10, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, has met with 48 participants during the “Israel In Focus 2011 Advocacy Seminar” coordinated for post- high-school Australians currently participating on Gap-Year Masa Israel programs.


The three-day seminar, organised by the The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA), in partnership with Stand With Us (SWU), took place last week in Jerusalem involved an intense period of advocacy training and development. The participants originated from various AZYC Shnat Hachshara Youth Movement programs, AUJS Aviv, Israel By Choice (IBC) and the Maccabi Leadership program.

Noam Shalit meets participants

First established in 2010, this ZFA initiated seminar aims to develop a cadre of committed pro-Israel advocates on Australian university campuses. Coordinated by ZFA Israel Director Yigal Sela and SWU’s Michelle Rojas-Tal, the seminar was a resounding success on all accounts.

ZFA President Philip Chester said, “University campuses remain a vital hub for Israel advocacy in Australia. This crucial seminar equips our passionate youth with the skills and knowledge to defend and promote Israel on campus.”

The participants were trained by Israel’s leading advocacy experts and heard lectures from a range of professionals including Israeli Parliamentarians, human rights and aid activists and Palestinian representatives.  Breakout discussion sessions were facilitated by a team of four experienced madrichim (leaders). Three of the leaders were Australian youth movement leaders who have recently made Aliyah, and the fourth, previous AUJS Shaliach Tal Dror.

Yigal Sela said, “It was an exhilarating experience seeing the eagerness of participants to further their understanding of the key issues surrounding Israel advocacy. Seminar participants were awake until early hours of the morning in the corridors of our youth hostel discussing the meaning of Judaism, Zionism and the place of Israel in their lives.”

Highlights of the seminar included lectures by Professor Gil Troy, a tour of Jerusalem with Colonel Miri Eisen and the 40-minute impassioned meeting with Noam Shalit, whose soldier son Gilad has been held captive in Gaza by Hamas since June, 2006.

A follow-up seminar will be run toward the end of the year to further develop each participant’s practical advocacy skills. In addition, a framework is now being developed by ZFA in conjunction with JAFI Shlichim to ensure a successful transition into campus advocacy for each returning participant.


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