Job done as UK Task Force bows out

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DOHERTY

In­clu­siv­ity: Is­raeli school where Jewish and Arab chil­dren learn to­gether

A GROUP set up to in­crease aware­ness among Bri­tish Jews of is­sues faced by Is­rael’s Arab cit­i­zens has been wound up, with its lead­ers say­ing it has reached its goal.

But as the UK Task Force held its fi­nal event this week, there came a warn­ing that its work must not be al­lowed to be for­got­ten.

Toni Rick­en­back, di­rec­tor of UKTF, told the JC: “Main­tain­ing the aware­ness [in the di­as­pora] is cru­cial to Is­rael’s fu­ture and suc­cess”.

She ac­knowl­edged that “re­cent news from Is­rael on in­ter-com­mu­nal re­la­tions con­tin­ues to give rise for con­cern.

“But our suc­cess in en­cour­ag­ing sup­port within the Bri­tish Jewish com­mu­nity for an in­clu­sive Is­raeli so­ci­ety of­fers hope for a more har­mo­nious fu­ture.”

She said: “Ten years ago there was a lack of ed­u­ca­tion around the di­ver­sity

within Is­raeli so­ci­ety. When I went on tour for ex­am­ple, my Be­douin ex­pe­ri­ence was sit­ting in a tent and rid­ing on a camel.”

But she said that thanks to the UK Task Force, that has changed for young Jews vis­it­ing Is­rael to­day.

“What we have done with youth groups is take them to ac­tu­ally meet peo­ple from Is­rael’s Arab com­mu­ni­ties.

“They visit projects about get­ting Be­douin women into work, they get to talk to peo­ple and see what dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties con­trib­ute to Is­raeli so­ci­ety. It is a much more en­hanc­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The group’s work with Jewish youth move­ments is ex­pected to con­tinue un­der the guid­ance of UJIA.

Michael Wegier, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of UJIA, at­tended UKTF’s val­a­dic­tory event at the JW3 cul­tural cen­tre on Mon­day, along with Sir Trevor Pears, of the Pears Foun­da­tion, and Board of Deputies pres­i­dent Jonathan Arkush.

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