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.
In November, we hosted a successful national speaking tour by former Haaretz editor David Landau, with a myriad of events in Sydney and Melbourne attended by more than 1000 people. Having one of Israel’s leading journalists advocate the importance of NIF’s mission was a welcome reminder of how pivotal our work is in Israel.
It was also gratifying to see more high-profile Israelis join NIF’s International Council, including acclaimed novelist and writer Amos Oz, a former Israeli Attorney General, two Brigadier Generals, five Israel Prize laureates, Nobel Prize Laureate Prof Aaron Ciechanover, and other leading personalities in law, the economy and society in Israel.
NIF’s activities and achievements in Israel are wide-ranging and regularly reported at www.nif.org and www.nif.org.au.
In January, several thousand Israelis rallied near the Knesset to protest the first-ever formal attempt to prevent property being sold or rented to Ethiopian-Israelis. With support from NIF and SHATIL, the demonstration was organised by Ethiopians United - an ad-hoc Facebook group of young Israeli-Ethiopians. Read more about the protests.
- The editor of the New Yorker on Israel’s “democracy in progress”
- Former Deputy Attorney General of Israel, Yehudit Karp, on the importance of NIF’s support for Adalah.
- A long but interesting report about the joint efforts of secular and religious communities in Jerusalem, including our selected project Yerushalmim, to combat religious extremism.
- A recent article about another of our selected projects, Friends of the Earth – Middle East.
Closer to home we welcomed four new members of the NIF Australia Board: Anthony Hollis, former CEO of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Ilona Lee AM, former president of The Shalom Institute, Ari Lander, representing NIForum, and Associate Professor Lee Ann Basser of La Trobe University. Lee Ann will spend a sabbatical at Tel Aviv University later this year.
I was delighted to be able to announce last week that 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 and Australia’s Local Hero in 2010, have become inaugural patrons of NIF Australia.
We and NIForum, run by younger supporters, have also organised a number of smaller events in Melbourne and Sydney, details of which were posted on our website or circulated by NIForum, contributing to important conversations that need to take place about Israel.
Those activities and you, our supporters, enabled us to remit significant funds to NIF at the end of last year to be applied in Israel to our adopted NIFAu projects or as otherwise specifically directed by donors. I can assure you that your commitment to the Israel envisaged by its founders encourages and is greatly valued by our grantees doing work on the ground in Israel.
We are close to finalising a speaking tour for May 2012 and details of the speaker, dates and venues will be announced over the next few weeks.
A social justice employment opportunity
We have now grown to the point where we are seeking to appoint a part-time administrator. We have secured specific funding for that role and thank our generous and visionary supporters who have again demonstrated their commitment to creating a sustainable Australian chapter to support NIF’s work in Israel.
NIF and NIF Australia bring together people who share values, passion and commitment and we would be glad to hear your comments or your suggestions for future speakers or events. Please get in touch by e-mailing [email protected] or by replying to this message.