No rows, no histri­on­ics — just a sim­ple achive­ment of a lim­ited goal

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY TREVOR PEARS AND MICHAEL WEGIER

2017 MARKS the sev­enth an­niver­sary of the UK Task Force and marks the re­al­i­sa­tion of our vi­sion for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Over the last seven years, more than 5,000 peo­ple at­tended 200 UK Task Force ed­u­ca­tional events and ses­sions in the UK. Our events, hosted by com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and syn­a­gogue com­mu­ni­ties from across the re­li­gious spec­trum, helped raise aware­ness of is­sues re­lat­ing to Arab cit­i­zens of Is­rael within the Bri­tish Jewish com­mu­nity. Nearly 200 mem­bers of the com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pated in six study trips, in­clud­ing re­li­gious lead­ers and youth lead­ers along­side rep­re­sen­ta­tives of char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tions and Is­rael-re­lated or­gan­i­sa­tions.

UKTF pro­vided over 100 ses­sions en­gag­ing 3,500 young peo­ple and as a coali­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion we were able to reach the whole spec­trum of the Bri­tish Jewish com­mu­nity.

By fram­ing the is­sues re­lat­ing to Arab cit­i­zens of Is­rael in a Jewish con­text we suc­ceeded in en­sur­ing that there was a shared lan­guage that could be used in our en­gage­ment and ed­u­ca­tion work.

As an aware­ness-rais­ing ex­er­cise it has been a tremen­dous suc­cess. Be­fore the UK Task Force, en­gage­ment by ma­jor Jewish com­mu­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions with mi­nor­ity is­sues in Is­rael was rare. With such en­gage­ment now wide­spread we are wind­ing down the ac­tiv­i­ties of UKTF.

It’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary thing in­deed — a Jewish com­mu­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion, es­tab­lished with a clear goal, achieves the goal and is then wound up so that com­mu­nal re­sources can be fo­cused else­where.

No rows, no histri­on­ics, no fund­ing cri­sis — just a plain and sim­ple achieve­ment of a lim­ited goal.

We re­alise only too well that suc­cess in aware­ness-rais­ing is very dif­fer­ent from suc­cess­fully achiev­ing change on the ground in Is­rael. What we hoped to achieve and have suc­ceeded in do­ing, is to make the Jewish com­mu­nity here in the UK aware of the prob­lems and sup­port­ive of ef­forts within Is­rael to pos­i­tively ad­dress the is­sues fac­ing Is­rael’s Arab mi­nor­ity.

We are im­mensely proud of the UKTF’s achieve­ments which in­clude ex­pand­ing our coali­tion from five to 39 Jewish com­mu­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­clud­ing is­sues re­lat­ing to Arab cit­i­zens of Is­rael in ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram­ming across the UK com­mu­nity.

We have acted as a trusted voice on build­ing equal­ity be­tween Jews and Arabs in Is­rael.

As the UKTF winds down, its core youth ed­u­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties con­tinue and are be­ing trans­ferred to a new ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer role at UJIA.

The ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer will con­tinue to en­gage on the is­sues with young peo­ple through youth move­ments, schools, and stu­dent or­gan­i­sa­tions.

We know full well that there is still much work to be done in Is­rael but now from a po­si­tion of knowl­edge the Bri­tish Jewish com­mu­nity will play a greater part in sup­port­ing Is­raeli ef­forts as an en­gaged and sup­port­ive di­as­pora com­mu­nity.

Our events helped raise aware­ness of is­sues fac­ing Is­rael’s Arab cit­i­zens’

Sir Trevor Pears and Michael Wegier are co-chairs of the UK Task Force

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