The Canadian contingent included representatives from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. (photo by Israel Malovani)
Leaders of Na’amat Canada joined representatives of the organization from the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Belgium, Argentina, Uruguay and Israel for the first Na’amat International Solidarity Conference in Israel. The delegation, led by national president Sarah Beutel, were guests of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during the conference’s opening session on Feb. 10.
Rivlin welcomed the representatives. “The state of Israel has always been committed to the value of equality,” he said. “In the Declaration of Independence, our leaders committed themselves to the complete social and political equality for all citizens of Israel, without distinction of religion, race or gender. And when we promise something, we then must be committed to working hard to deliver on our promises.
“You, the women of Na’amat, have always supported the state of Israel, and dedicated so much to the welfare of the citizens of Israel. You were always proud Zionists, even in times when people were afraid to show public support for Israel. Moreover, your support helped, and still helps us, to ensure that we live up to our promises and that we keep alive the symbiotic connection between Israel’s Jewish and democratic identities.”
Attendees at the conference also took part in groundbreaking ceremonies for a new day-care centre sponsored by Na’amat Canada.
Other highlights included visiting a centre for victims of domestic violence, an evening in the Ayanot Youth Village, a Na’amat’s boarding school and a day in Jerusalem.
Delegates discussed issues confronting Israel, women and families, and Na’amat’s role in meeting those challenges. The conference provided an opportunity to experience the fruits of the organization’s efforts to promote gender equality and to help women with child-care, legal and family issues, domestic violence and employment issues.