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