Updates from Daniel Sokatch's visit

For those of you who missed Daniel speak, you can view this video, or view some articles, interviews and photos below:

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Happy 64th Birthday Israel!

On the eve of Yom Haatzmaut, the Ambassador of Israel to Australia, His Excellency Yuval Rotem, has sent NIF Australia and its supporters a greeting, which you can read here (PDF) or below.

We are honoured that the Ambassador found time in his busy schedule to acknowledge our and NIF’s commitment to the well-being of Israel. We will be redoubling our efforts to raise awareness in Australia of the challenges facing Israeli society and to help Israelis who are working to realise the vision in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Next month, New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch is visiting Australia. We have been busy preparing and are excited to announce the dates of his public events:

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"We had no state for 2,000 years. Why are we now jeopardizing its Jewish, democratic essence?"

Talia Sasson
Photo: Flash90

Talia Sasson, the former senior state legal official who prepared a landmark report for prime minister Ariel Sharon on unauthorized building in the West Bank, and member of New Israel Fund's International Council, was interviewed last week by Times of Israel editor David Horovitz.

In an interview with The Times of Israel, Talia Sasson, who wrote the 2005 legal overview on West Bank outposts for Sharon, described Netanyahu’s stated vision of a Palestinian state as “meaningless” and “empty words.”

“If you have a vision of Palestinian statehood,” she said, “you don’t take control of the territory in this way.” She drew particular attention to the government’s readiness to establish a new settlement in place of Migron — “a regression” that would constitute the first officially authorized settlement since the start of the 1990s. In terms of overall settlement building policy, she said, “Everything bad that could be happening is happening.”

You can also read the interview in full.

Chag sameach v'kasher (and an announcement of our next speaker!)

Passover1.jpgAs we approach the first Pesach since New Israel Fund Australia was formed, we want to thank you for your principled commitment in supporting us and the New Israel Fund.

Pesach, the festival of freedom, provides an opportunity to reflect on NIF’s critical work upholding freedom: supporting the battle against gender segregation in public spaces; supporting Israeli Arabs to challenge discrimination and racism, most recently in response to mob violence directed at Arab workers in a Jerusalem mall; supporting disadvantaged Mizrachi and Ethiopian Jews; and advocating for other marginalised people in Israel, including people with disabilities, refugees and people struggling with homelessness or with poor access to education.

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Dateline Beer Sheva: NIF Activist Reports From the Front Line

Haim Bar Yaakov (right) discusses housing problems with a fellow activist.
Haim Bar Yaakov (right) discusses housing problems with a fellow activist.

Each time the sirens blare, Haim Bar Yaakov rounds up his children in their Beer Sheva apartment and ushers them into the stairwell. He said, "I wouldn't take them down to the public shelters, they are poorly maintained and anyway I doubt we would get there in time."

It has been a tense week for Bar Yaakov as rockets from Gaza rain down on Southern Israel. The 53 year-old founder of NIF grantee Life With Dignity, which seeks housing solutions for disadvantaged Israelis faced with eviction for mortgage default on non-payment of rent to public housing companies, has spent more time with his family. 

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Our progress in 2012 newsletter

With 2012 under way, I write to report some highlights of NIF Australia’s first six months.

NIF in Australia and Israel

Since the launch of NIF Australia by NIF president Naomi Chazan during her highly successful visit in June last year, we have built an extensive base of supporters. Growing our database is important for our work and I encourage you to ask friends and family who share your commitment to Israel as both the Jewish state and a democratic state for all its citizens to register their names and contact details on our website, www.nif.org.au.

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Opportunity to work with a social justice organisation making a real difference

NIF Australia (NIFAu) is the Australian affiliate of the New Israel Fund (NIF), which is based in the USA and Israel and is the leading organisation committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis. It is a partnership of Israelis and supporters of Israel worldwide, dedicated to a vision of Israel as both the Jewish homeland and a shared society at peace with itself and its neighbors.  NIF strengthens organisations and leaders that work to achieve equality for all the citizens of the state, to realise the civil and human rights of all, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, to recognise and reinforce the essential pluralism of Israeli society and to empower groups on the economic margins of Israeli society.

NIF Australia is seeking an administrative officer in Sydney or Melbourne for thirty hours per week (worked flexibly) to  provide administrative support for its activities which centre on fundraising around events and associated activities, including publicity for events, updating supporters through newsletters, email and social media, and providing administrative support for an energetic and committed honorary Board and committees.

Main skills required:

  • Excellent administration skills gained in working for organisations;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Good IT skills including database management (experience in NationBuilder an advantage), NIFAu Facebook site administration and NIFAu website content publishing (training for website and database will be provided);
  • Experience in event management, including publicity and advertising for events.

Some knowledge of business finance an advantage.

To express your interest, and to see a detailed job description, e-mail info@nif.org.au.

High-profile patrons sign up for NIF Australia

Martin Indyk, raised in Australia and two-time United States ambassador to Israel, and Ronni Kahn, founder and CEO of the food rescue organisation OzHarvest, have become inaugural patrons of the Australian branch of the New Israel Fund. 

The co-patrons met recently in Sydney and accepted the unanimous invitation of the NIF Australia board, its president, Robin Margo, said this week. 

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Response to Smear Campaign

Certain groups are alleging that an NIF-backed group, Adalah, is participating in a global BDS event. That charge has garnered the attention of bloggers and media outlets.

Here are the facts:

1) As a matter of policy, the New Israel Fund does not fund global BDS activities. Nor do we support organizations that have global BDS programs. The New Israel Fund has always supported Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

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Support for the Green Network on Tu Bishvat

Green NetworkOn Tu Bishvat, NIF Australia records with gratitude that the children of the late Marie Clare Frankel have donated a substantial amount from of her estate to NIF Australia for the Green Network.

Green Network, a project supported by NIF through the Green Environment Fund, aims to instil environmental understanding, awareness and sustainability as core values in education and works in 100 schools throughout Israel, both Jewish and Arab, and through twelve regional networks. Marie Frankel was a trained horticulturist who cherished values of pluralism and tolerance.

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