שר החוץ הקנדי לשעבר ג’ון בירד, עת ביקר את ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, בירושלים ב-20 בינואר השנה. בירד הוא אורח כבוד ‘בנגב דינר’ של קק”ל בוונקובר ב-7 ביוני. (צילום: Kobi Gideon-GPO via Ashernet)
מחלוקת בין ידידים: הרפר שוב תומך בהקמת מדינה פלסטינית בניגוד לנתניהו
ראש ממשלת קנדה, סטיבן הרפר, שנחשב לידיד הקרוב ביותר של ראש ממשלת ישראל, בנימין נתניהו, מקרב מנהיגי העולם, חלוק עימו בסוגיה מאוד משמעותית. בשיחה שהתקיימה בין השניים ביום ראשון שעבר, חזר והדגיש הרפר בפני נתניהו, כי הוא תומך בפתרון שתי המדינות והקמת מדינה פלסטינית לצידה של ישראל. הדברים נאמרו לאור הכרזת נתניהו ערב הבחירות בישראל, כי הוא מתנגד להקמת מדינה הפלסטינית וכי ימשיך את הבנייה בשטחים.
הרפר שוחח עם נתניהו לראשונה בטלפון לאחר ניצחונו בבחירות שהתקיימו לפני שבועיים, בזמן שהוא נערך להקמת הממשלה החדשה. מייד עם פרסום תוצאות הבחירות, שלח ראש ממשלת קנדה ברכות חמות לראש ממשלת ישראל היוצא והנכנס, והוסיף שהוא מצפה לעבוד ביחד עם הממשלה החדשה בישראל, וכי לישראל אין ידידה קרובה יותר מאשר קנדה. בשיחת הטלפון שוב בירך הרפר את נתניהו, וכן הבטיח כי קנדה תמשיך לעמוד במחוייבותה לדאוג לביטחונה של ישראל. וציין כאמור שהוא תומך בפתרון שתי המדינות.
אפשר לסכם את הפרק הזה ביחסי קנדה וישראל באמירה, כי הרפר מאז נבחר לרשות ממשלת קנדה (2006), ממשיך לעמוד לצידה של ישראל ומדיניותה בכל עניין. למעט שתי סוגיות עקרוניות משמעותיות: תמיכה בהקמת המדינה הפלסטינית והתנגדות להמשך בניית ההתנחלויות בשטחים.
הערכה לידיד: אורח הכבוד בערב הגאלה של קק”ל הוא שר החוץ לשעבר בירד
סניף ונקובר של אגודת ידידי קרן קיימת לישראל (קק”ל) בקנדה בראשות אילן פילו, יקיים ערב גאלה מיוחד, בהשתתפות אורח הכבוד שר החוץ של קנדה לשעבר, ג’ון בירד. האירוע מתקיים לכבודו של בירד שנחשב לידיד קרוב מאוד של ישראל, וכמו ראש הממשלה סטיבן הרפר, עמד לצידה לכל אורך הדרך. בירד ביקר בישראל מספר פעמים וזכה לאירוח לבבי. האירוע במסגרת ‘נגב דינר 2015’ יערך ב-7 ביוני (יום ראשון) במלון ארבע עונות בדאון טאון ונקובר, ומחיר כרטיס 270 דולר.
קק”ל ונקובר תגייס תרומות לטובת הקמת פרוייקט בישראל שיקרא על שמו של בירד, ובשלב זה אין פרטים נוספים. כדי לקבל הכרה בפרויקט ע”י בירד יש לתרום לפחות 6,000 דולר.
קק”ל בקנדה יסדה את ‘נגב דינר’ עם הקמת מדינת ישראל ב-1948. האירוע מתקיים בכל רחבי קנדה מדי שנה להבליט את העשייה החשובה של קק”ל, לגייס כספים לטובת פרוייקטים בישראל, ולהעניק אות כבוד למי שעוזר ותומך בישראל.
בירד (45) פרש בראשית פברואר מתפקידו כשר החוץ בממשלת הרפר. בימים אלה הוא הצטרף לקואורפוריישן ‘בריק גולד’ (חברת כריית הזהב הגדולה בעולם), בתפקיד יועץ בינלאומי. הוא עבד בשירות הציבורי במשך כעשרים שנים, ושימש שר החוץ מאז 2011. קודם לכן החזיק בתפקידים בכירים שונים (בהם שר התחבורה ושר האנרגיה) בממשלות הרפר. ברד הוזכר לא פעם כמועמד להחליף את הרפר ביחד עם השר ההגנה, ג’ייסון קני, שגם הוא תומך גדול בישראל.
קק”ל שחוגגת השנה 114 שנים להיווסדה מקיימת שורה של אירועים בישראל. במסגרת זו אגודות ידידי קק”ל בעולם מארגנות מסע לישראל בן שמונה ימים, בחודש מאי (12-20). המשתתפים ישהו במלון מצודת דוד בירושלים. המסע יכלול מפגשים עם מספר אישים ובהם: נשיא המדינה, ראובן ריבלין וראש עיריית ירושלים, ניר ברקת. הסיורים יכללו בין היתר: ביקור בבסיס חיל האוויר, השתתפות באירועי יום ירושלים (ב-17 במאי), ביקור בתחנת הטלוויזיה של ערוץ החדשות באנגלית ’24 ניוז’, סיור ביקב, ביקור בשוק של יפו העתיקה, ביקור בבאר שבע ובנגב.
Dan Gillerman addresses the audience at Jewish National Fund Pacific Region’s Tu b’Shevat event Feb. 3 as emcee Geoffrey Druker looks on. (photo by Robert Albanese)
A former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations heaped praise on Canada and excoriated the United States during a candid speech here last week.
Dan Gillerman, who led the Israeli delegation at the UN from 2003 to 2008, was filling in for current Ambassador Ron Prosor, whose obligations kept him in New York. The occasion was the Jewish National Fund of Canada’s Tu b’Shevat event at Beth Israel on Feb. 3. He also spoke in Victoria at Emanu-El for JNF the next day.
Gillerman, who acknowledges that he has a penchant for political incorrectness and is now a private citizen free to speak his mind without the constraints of a diplomatic post, received a strong ovation when he called Canada “by far, the greatest friend Israel has in the world” and when he heaped praise on Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper as “probably the greatest leader in the world.”
His perspective on the United States was not nearly as positive.
“I think that what we are witnessing today is at least a perception, hopefully a wrong perception, of a weak America and a weak American president,” Gillerman said. Even a whiff of American weakness is a dangerous thing in the world, he said, with America’s enemies feeling that they can get away with murder and America’s allies believing that they cannot rely on the superpower.
Gillerman equates the contemporary situation of the United States with the advent of the First World War a century ago, which he says was due in part to perceptions of British weakness under Prime Minister H.H. Asquith. Gillerman contended that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin would not do what he did in Ukraine and other countries would not do what they are doing elsewhere if they thought the United States would intervene.
On dangers facing Israel, Gillerman said that the most serious threats are not Hamas or Hezbollah, and not even Iran, which is pushing for nuclear capability. “They are not our most dangerous threats, because we can take care of them,” he said. “The two most dangerous phenomena we face today are appeasement and being politically correct.”
Trying to appease terror and the Iranian regime, as the world is doing today, Gillerman said, is very dangerous.
About political correctness, he said the world is “trying to find other words to explain what is happening,” other than identifying it as Islamic extremism and terrorism. “We have to call a spade a spade,” he said. “There is evil in this world. There is terror in this world. It threatens your country and every country in the world.”
On Iran, Gillerman characterized nuclear negotiations as “a weak America and a weak American president who wants an agreement at any cost.”
Gillerman said he had a conversation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is South Korean. Gillerman said that the global powers dithered while North Korea prepared for nuclear weaponry then one day the world woke up to a nuclear North Korea. Gillerman said Ban told him that Iran is much more dangerous than North Korea.
“North Korea sought nuclear weapons out of desperation,” Gillerman quoted Ban as telling him. “While Iran is seeking them out of aspiration.”
Gillerman spoke of his close relationship with the late former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who appointed him ambassador to the UN. Gillerman’s background is not in politics or diplomacy, but business, and he was chairman of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce before his ambassadorial appointment.
He said Sharon warned him that the appointment to the UN would leave him lonely and facing hostility, but Gillerman said he later told the prime minister that he had been wrong. As Israel’s representative at the world body, Gillerman said, he operated on the knowledge that he represented a country that “is far, far better than most other member countries of the United Nations.”
Despite Israel’s isolation at the UN, one of Gillerman’s achievements during his time as ambassador was the proclamation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day every January. It was the first time that an Israeli-sponsored resolution was passed by the General Assembly.
Gillerman was speaking on the day that Canadian foreign minister John Baird announced his resignation from cabinet and politics. Gillerman said that he had spent several days with Baird recently in Davos, Switzerland, and had no indication that Baird was planning a major change.
“I think it’s a loss for Canada and a loss for Israel, but I wish him well,” Gillerman said, before once again praising Canada’s leaders.
“I think you have in Stephen Harper one of the greatest leaders in the world. Probably the greatest leader in the world and definitely the best friend Israel has in the world,” he said.
While the bulk of the former ambassador’s speech was ominous and pessimistic, it didn’t conclude that way.
“Despite all that, I am optimistic about the future of Israel,” he said near the end of his remarks. “I believe that the world is waking up.”
In the Arab world, he said, the fight between extremists and moderates will lead moderates to recognize that Israel is not the enemy. Comparatively moderate Arab states are as afraid of Iranian extremism and nuclear capability as Israel is – possibly more afraid – he said, and a regional agreement will emerge from shared interests.
“I believe we can reach a fair and lasting settlement with the Palestinians,” he said, adding that leadership is needed on both sides, and in the world, and that it must go beyond bilateralism. He predicted what he calls a “23-state solution,” an agreement between Israel and Arab countries that leads to lasting peace.
He went on to say that if the Palestinian issue were settled, Arab states could calm their streets and become partners with Israel.
To those who say that the United Nations is a failed, useless organization, Gillerman described it as simply a building on First Avenue in Manhattan that is only as good as its tenants. Blaming the UN for the faults of its member-states is like blaming Madison Square Garden when the Knicks lose, he said. “It’s not the UN as an organization, it’s the world we live in.” The UN General Assembly has a “built-in immoral majority,” he said.
Prosor, the ambassador who was originally slated to attend, provided a video message that was screened at the beginning of the event. Singers from Vancouver Talmud Torah sang a song for Tu b’Shevat and King David High School students sang the national anthems. The event was emceed by Geoffrey Druker, Rabbi Jonathan Infeld welcomed visitors to the new Beth Israel building and Diane Switzer, board chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, introduced Gillerman. Frank Sirlin, president of JNF Canada Pacific Region, spoke about this year’s Tu b’Shevat campaign, which will see trees planted along roads in Israel that are within range of gunfire from the Gaza Strip. The “green barrier” will help green the desert while shielding drivers and passengers from sniper fire. The JNF campaign includes two telethon sessions, on Feb. 15 and 22.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor speaks in Vancouver on Feb. 3 and in Victoria on Feb. 4. (photo from Ron Prosor via Jewish National Fund Vancouver)
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations says Canada’s foreign policy is at the “heart of the world’s moral compass.”
In an email interview with the Jewish Independent, Ambassador Ron Prosor credited Canada as being a voice of reason and justice.
“Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird have proven time and again to be true friends to Israel,” Prosor said. “They are at the heart of the world’s moral compass.… Canada is standing with Israel as we stand on the frontline in the battle against terror. They are often the first to denounce the anti-Israel bias and stand up as the voice of justice and reason. There are many examples of this bond: Canada was a strong proponent of the effort to make Yom Kippur an official UN holiday; it partnered with us to organize the upcoming special session in the General Assembly on antisemitism; and was one of the few countries to condemn the Syrian delegate … for comparing Israel’s policy to that of the Nazis.”
Prosor spoke to the paper in advance of his visit here in early February, hosted by Jewish National Fund of Canada, British Columbia. He will speak Feb. 3 in Vancouver at Congregation Beth Israel, at 7:30 p.m., and in Victoria the following day, at 7:30 p.m., at Congregation Emanu-El.
Prosor criticized efforts by the Palestinian Authority to gain recognition at the UN and at the International Criminal Court, saying it is an effort to avoid a negotiated resolution to the conflict.
“The Palestinians have found every possible opportunity to avoid direct negotiations with Israel,” he said. “They have engaged in a never-ending string of political games, literally shooting in all directions and missing the real target. The fact of the matter is that their habit of bypassing negotiations by taking unilateral action and blaming everyone but themselves will only move us further from peace. It’s time for the Palestinians to aim higher and find constructive solutions – beginning by engaging in meaningful dialogue.”
The United Nations is the body that, in 1947, passed the Partition Resolution intended to create a Jewish and an Arab state in Palestine. Israel’s critics routinely note that the very agency that is responsible for its existence is repeatedly on record condemning Israeli policies. Prosor responds that the UN is not the same body it was nearly 70 years ago.
“The landscape of the UN has changed dramatically since its founding,” Prosor said. “Today, fewer than half of its member states are democracies. The halls of the UN used to ring with calls for human rights and human dignity; today, they ring with voices demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state. This year, the UN passed 20 resolutions condemning Israel. In comparison, the world’s worst human rights abusers – Iran, Syria, and North Korea – each received one condemnation. This anti-Israel bias pervades the UN system.”
Many of the UN’s most vociferous condemnations of Israel emanate from the UN Human Right Council (UNHRC).
“For years, the Human Rights Council has singled out Israel for condemnation,” Prosor said. “I have to note that some of the world’s most repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia and Cuba, are members of the Human Rights Council.”
Saudi Arabia is currently in the international spotlight for carrying out the first of 20 court-ordered floggings of democracy blogger Raif Badawi. After Friday prayers a week ago, Badawi, who created the blog Free Saudi Liberals, was lashed 50 times over the course of 15 minutes in a public square in front of a mosque in Jeddah. He is scheduled to receive the same punishment for a total of 20 successive Fridays, or 1,000 lashes. This is in addition to his sentence of 10 years in prison.
Despite this immediate example and other atrocities perpetrated by elected members of UNHRC, the body’s attentions are overwhelmingly focused on the Jewish state, Prosor said.
“To date, there have been 22 emergency meetings of the HRC to deal with situations around the world – 33 percent of them dealt with Israel,” Prosor said. “Additionally, Israel is singled out during regular sessions. Article 4 of the Council’s agenda examines the abuses of every single country in the world, except one. Israel – and Israel alone – has its own permanent place on the agenda: Article 7. This isn’t just a double standard, it’s a triple standard. One standard for democracies, one standard for dictators and a whole other impossible standard for Israel.”
“Another example is the UN’s UNISPAL [UN Information System on the Question of Palestine] website,” Prosor said. “It has advertised ‘apartheid tours’ in Israel and promoted a petition calling for the Canadian prime minister to cancel a visit to Israel.
“The UN could be playing a more constructive role by investing less time targeting Israel and more time advancing peace and security, economic growth, women’s rights, minority rights and so on,” he said. “None of this will be possible so long as the institution is held hostage by the world’s most repressive regimes.”
Though he is the lead representative of Israel at an organization that sometimes seems to have condemnation of the Jewish state as its primary mission, Prosor insists he is not intimidated.
“I walk the halls of this organization tall and proud of my extraordinary nation, one of the freest and more democratic countries on earth,” he said. “At the UN, I feel it is important to show the world what Israel is about beyond our conflict. We have so much innovation and ingenuity to share in agriculture, medicine, high-tech, education and more. We are a nation of just eight million that has produced 12 Nobel prizes, that sends satellites into space, puts electric cars on the road and develops the technology to power everything from cellphones to solar panels to medical devices. I feel privileged to represent Israel and the Jewish people.”
Prosor said he is bringing a message to Canada that emphasizes the parallels between the two countries.
“Israel and Canada share the same value system – we believe in democracy, justice, human rights and peace,” he said. “Together, we are standing firm amidst the stormy seas of global diplomacy to make the world a more peaceful place. The UN needs more countries like Canada – countries that are willing to take a stand and defend our common values.”
Gary and Nanci Segal learn about bees at the Hebrew U Rehovot campus, home of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment. (photo from JNF Pacific Region)
This year, for the first time in Vancouver, Jewish National Fund and Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are together hosting the Negev Dinner.
The dinner will pay tribute to businessman and philanthropist Gary Segal, whose “remarkable heritage” is “led first and foremost by a love of humanity, a love of the land of Israel and a deep social commitment and yearning for tikkun olam,” said JNF Pacific Region shaliach Ilan Pilo. The event will raise funds for an educational outreach program led by JNF at Hebrew U’s Joseph Meyerhoff Youth Centre.
“Gary and [his wife] Nanci wanted to support the JNF and HU and, when this project came up, they simply realized the importance of doing it,” Dina Wachtel, executive director of CFHU Western Region, told the Independent. In the program, she explained, “They are taking mainly at-risk youth from the periphery of the country, both geographically and socially, many of whom are kids of immigrants and hard-working citizens, and are offering them a lifetime opportunity … interaction with PhD and graduate students who teach them science and ecological sciences. Basically, these kids are exposed to a world that, for the most part, they are not familiar with and, by exposing them to hands-on lessons in science and allowing them to learn presentation and leadership skills, we are literally transforming their sense of pride and ability to believe in themselves that, yes, they can reach university and that it is not beyond their reach.
“Both Gary and Nanci know that Israel’s number one capital is its human resources and, by investing in these kids, they are literally investing in Israel’s most precious capital.”
Vice-president of Kingswood Capital Corp., Gary Segal’s philanthropic endeavors are numerous. Locally, they include – but are not limited to – Ronald McDonald House, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation, Louis Brier Home and Hospital, Kollel, Vancouver Talmud Torah Foundation and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. Among the work Gary and Nanci Segal (and their family) support is that of Dr. Rick Hodes, medical director of Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
“It was important to me to support a project that would have a direct impact on underprivileged youth, including the Ethiopian community that I have become involved with over the years; at the same time, it would have to be one that fits the mandates of both organizations,” explained Gary Segal about the choice of the JNF-HU project for the proceeds of this year’s Negev Dinner.
Seeing the JNF and CFHU projects firsthand
The Segals were in Israel earlier this month on a trip with Pilo and Wachtel. “The two days I just spent in Israel witnessing firsthand the outreach activities of the Joseph Meyerhoff Youth Centre at Hebrew U affirmed the absolute merits of this project and how it aligns perfectly with my stated goal for this dinner,” said Segal.
“I witnessed the enthusiastic way in which these young students embraced the wide range of activities, and heard from them directly how much they love being part of it,” he added. “These children would not have the opportunity to be exposed to such things through their homes and resource-challenged schools alone. A clearly devoted and emotionally invested teacher that I spoke with recounted how she overcame her own disadvantaged background to become a teacher, and how important it is to her to give these children the understanding and belief that they can aspire to a better life through advanced education. Most of the participating children have parents either in low-level jobs or else unemployed, and many of them come to school hungry so, on her own account, she brings food to school to be able to feed them. In addition to stimulating an interest in science and the environment through this youth centre program, the children go back and do research and make a presentation to the student body and parents, as well. The teacher explained how this develops public speaking and leadership skills and instils in them a new sense of self-confidence. At the same time, for the parents, it leads to a sense of pride in their children.”
The trip to Israel “was a mixture of viewing projects, gaining perspectives on Israel from a variety of people, experiencing the specific science outreach program we are supporting through the upcoming dinner, and having some fun,” Segal said.
In Jerusalem, the couple visited Mahane Yehuda, Teddy Park, the Old City and the Western Wall. On erev Shabbat, they had dinner at the home of Rabbi Ehud Bandel, the first Israeli native ordained in the Masorti (Conservative) movement. One evening, they took in a musical comedy show by the Voca People and, another night, Gary Segal dined with two Knesset members from the Yesh Atid party, Ronen Hoffman and Karine Elharrar. “Ronen is head of the Israel/Canada relations committee and has prior experience in various Israeli peace efforts; Karine is involved in disabilities awareness and accessibility,” explained Segal.
Sunday was spent touring JNF projects, he continued. They visited a new water bio-filteration pilot system in Kfar Saba, the Biriya Forest (“which sadly suffered a lot of tree-branch destruction from the winter snowstorm”) and the Hula Valley bird sanctuary park. “We saw everything in a somewhat different light,” he said, “as it was an extremely hazy day due to dust from Africa having spread all the way to Israel.”
On Monday, the Segals met with HU president Menahem Ben-Sasson on the Mount Scopus campus before heading to HU’s Safra Givat Ram campus to meet with Joseph Meyerhoff Youth Centre administrators and get an overview of the program they are sponsoring.
“Interacting with these lively and outgoing youth over the course of these two days was most definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me and Nanci, and my ability to converse directly with the kids in Hebrew made it particularly fun and personal for me,” said Segal. “In the spirit of my own quest for new experiences as an adult, I did something I never thought I would do – in one of the Monday morning labs, the instructor was talking about the West African python snake wrapped around his neck and, when he went to pass it to me, I actually took it from him and held it while encircled by some curious yet wary girls in the class – my first close-up, hands-on interaction with a snake.”
On the way to Tel Aviv, Segal said they stopped at the JNF Canada Park so that he and Nanci could “plant an olive tree and see the commemorative plaque for the grove we planted in 2000 in honor of our daughter Stephanie’s bat mitzvah.”
Before checking into their hotel, they met with the new Israeli health minister, Yael German, who, Segal noted, “before national office … was the very successful mayor of Herzliya for 15 years.” She gave them over an hour of her time, he said, discussing with them some of the many issues with which the ministry is dealing.
“Tuesday involved a visit to the Hebrew U Rehovot campus, home of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment,” said Segal. “We first were introduced to some of their international activities to assist countries to alleviate problems of hunger, disease and poverty through technical training and technology transfer. We heard about some fascinating research projects being undertaken in this regard, and had the opportunity to hear from a half-dozen post-graduate international scholarship students from Africa and Asia who are there to gain knowledge that can be implemented back home.”
For the rest of the morning, the Segals tagged along with children visiting from the periphery community of Kiryat Malachi. They saw the mechanical milking process and, said Segal, “another first for me, tasting fresh (sterilized) goat milk. We then moved on to a session learning about live bees and the workings of the hive and honey making. Before leaving the campus, we had lunch in the cafeteria with the children…. It gave me the opportunity to have a very moving and enlightening talk about the outreach program with one of their obviously very dedicated teachers.
“We then departed campus for the last element of our outreach experience – a visit to the periphery community of Kiryat Ekron. The mayor of this community of 11,500 people was very happy to take the time to greet and accompany us at the school, and the proud principal of the school explained to us how she had a vision to bring such a science-outreach program to her school and had searched far and wide and negotiated for about a year to make her vision a reality. We sat in on an entertaining chemistry class being led by the same Hebrew U graduate student we first met the day before in Jerusalem while leading a class there on trees and the environment. As we were leaving the school, I saw the presence of JNF here, too, in an outdoor classroom structure that had been funded by them. Another fond memory from this visit was successfully coaxing a number of young girls to serenade me with one of their favorite Israeli pop songs in Moroccan Arabic.”
The next day and a half comprised visits to more JNF activities, “including the Be’er Sheva River Park, the older settlements and newer pioneer settlements near the Gaza borders, and the impressive Sderot high school.” The region’s mayor explained the “programs available to the students, as well as the challenges of being in such a dangerously exposed area.”
Rounding out their 10-day trip, the Segals met JNF world chairman Efi Stenzler, spent time with friends and took a helicopter ride over the country with Wachtel.
A longtime involvement
Segal’s connection to JNF and HU extend much further back than this recent visit, of course. “From my Talmud Torah and Camp Hatikvah days,” he said, “I grew up with a strong feeling of connection to Israel and an understanding of its importance to the Jewish people. In terms of JNF specifically, though I felt I was already very familiar with the general nature of JNF’s activities in Israel through the blue pushke box, Tu b’Shevat, attending Negev dinners and my many discussions over the years with different Vancouver JNF emissaries, I must say that I was very impressed on this trip seeing the breadth and depth of JNF’s projects from before statehood through today, and the vast impact they have on the quality of life, security and future prospects of the Israeli people. They touch upon these areas in so many different ways.
“Regarding Hebrew U,” he continued, “I can honestly say that my decision to attend Hebrew U in 1971/72 for my second year of university studies played a pivotal role in developing many of my life interests and activities…. That was a very exciting and stimulating year and a half, from the first few months on kibbutz through the end of the school year in Israel, then followed by three months of adventure travel with my good buddy Ben Goldberg in East Africa, including being in Uganda during Idi Amin’s reign of terror. This opened up a whole new desire to learn about the developing world, leading to my post-BA year of travel across Asia and the Middle East in 1974/75. You could say, in a way, this all sowed the seeds for my current philanthropic work in Ethiopia and my interest in the Ethiopian community in Israel.”
The 2014 Negev Dinner takes place on Sunday, April 6, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver, starting at 5:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call 604-257-5155 or e-mail [email protected].