Last week, our vice-president, Steven Glass, a driving force behind NIF Australia’s establishment and success, suddenly passed away.
Steven was only 58. He leaves behind his wife Michelle and two children, Samantha and Jason. Their premature loss of a partner and father is unimaginable.
We are devastated by the death of a giant of the NIF community, whose leadership has driven the organisation since it was formed in 2011.
As a senior lawyer at Gilbert + Tobin, he played a critical role in NIF’s achievement of tax deductibility which has greatly enhanced our capacity to support social change in Israel. His legal expertise and acumen have been invaluable to all that we do.
Our Sydney supporters will doubtlessly know Steven from NIF events, where he never failed to remind attendees of the vital work our funding provides to grassroots social justice organisations in Israel.
Steven shared uplifting stories of how NIF has changed the lives of minority groups whose rights have been marginalised, abused or ignored. His compassion for these people was palpable; his efforts to allay the difficulties they endure substantial.
Of particular interest to Steven was the treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum, both in Israel and Australia. Twelve months ago, as Israel prepared to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers back to danger in Africa, Steven wrote a moving op-ed calling the Israeli government policy “an affront to our history and values.” He was instrumental in NIF raising tens of thousands of dollars for this cause in just a few weeks.
Steven’s sharp mind kept the Board talking about the most challenging of issues. These discussions informed and shaped NIF policies and actions. Beloved by Steven was the Washington Post’s slogan: ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’. For Steven, defending democracy in Israel and beyond was his raison d’etre.
Steven always acted with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and respect for the dignity of individuals and communities. He will be greatly missed.