Job done as UK Task Force bows out
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.