Re­spect for the olim who do so much for Is­rael

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - THE VIEW FROM IS­RAEL

CAROLINE GLICK? Re­ally Naf­tali and Ayelet? You re­ally think that there is some elec­toral force to the al­waysamus­ing sub-stream of scat­tered Is­ramer­i­cans that came here from their home­land — where there’s doubt if they would have got­ten a job that doesn’t in­clude the ques­tion ‘Do you want chips with that?’” So tweeted Ye­diot Achronot re­porter, Raanan Shaked last week, de­rid­ing Ben­net and Shaked’s de­ci­sion to add Caroline Glick, an Amer­i­can im­mi­grant to their new po­lit­i­cal party. Never mind that Glick has de­grees from Columbia and Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ties, served in the IDF, and worked on the Oslo ne­go­ti­a­tions team. He hates her pol­i­tics, so he felt com­fort­able smear­ing her and her com­pa­tri­ots.

He later clar­i­fied his thoughts: “Amer­i­can and An­glo-Saxon im­mi­grants to Is­rael are mostly ex­cel­lent peo­ple, Zion­ists, and make sig­nif­i­cant and nec­es­sary con­tri­bu­tions to the state…” And here, he is right.

An­glo olim, as English-speak­ing im­mi­grants are called, are but 3.75% of the Is­raeli pop­u­la­tion, yet, dis­pro­por­tion­ately lead so­cial change.

Per­haps it’s our val­ues. Per­haps olim aren’t afraid of chal­lenge. Per­haps it’s a de­sire to make Is­rael what we want it to be. Whatever it is, the num­ber of

An­g­los mak­ing changes and in­no­va­tions, is in­spir­ing. There are far too many to name in one col­umn Ded­i­cated An­glo olim work ev­ery day to im­prove Is­raeli so­ci­ety but I will present a few whom I know per­son­ally or have en­coun­tered in my own ad­vo­cacy work.

Let’s start with the late Dr David Ap­ple­baum, (US): He founded TEREM, now a net­work of stand alone im­me­di­ate care clin­ics, mak­ing emer­gent med­i­cal care more ac­ces­si­ble to mil­lions of Is­raelis. He was killed, along with his daugh­ter Nava, in a sui­cide bomb­ing in 2003.

Yonatan Bend­heim (US) cre­ated Lakita, a plat­form that helps Is­rael’s pub­lic school teach­ers find and fund tools to bring their in­no­va­tive ed­u­ca­tional ideas to life in the class­room. He is also in­volved in pro­grammes fo­cused on eco­nomic devel­op­ment for East Jerusalem res­i­dents.

Joseph Gitler, (US) founded Leket Is­rael, which in 2018 res­cued 37,000,000 lbs of food and do­nated it to more than 175,000 needy peo­ple weekly. Daniel Gold­man, (UK) chairs Gesher, which, funded by an­other oleh (US) Rabbi Daniel Trop­per in 1970, brings Is­raelis of dif­fer­ent stripes to­gether, build­ing a more co­he­sive so­ci­ety. Gold­man has also ini­ti­ated sev­eral key so­cial pro­grams fo­cus­ing on the suc­cess­ful in­te­gra­tion of Charedim into Is­raeli life.

Rab­banit Chana Henkin, (US) co-cre­ated the Yoet­zet Halacha pro­gram for women ad­vi­sors in cer­tain ar­eas of Jewish law. Malki and Kal­man Klein, (Canada) es­tab­lished Shalva, the Is­rael As­so­ci­a­tion for the Care and In­clu­sion of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, which runs round-the­clock pro­grammes for 2,000 in­di­vid­u­als.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (US) cre­ated an en­tire net­work of schools and in­sti­tu­tions that strengthen the mod­er­ate reli­gious camp with new op­por­tutry’s ni­ties for women, ex­plod­ing their in­flu­ence on reli­gious life. Nachman Rosenberg, (US) en­sured equal rights and govern­ment fund­ing for Shab­bat ob­ser­vant ath­letes, and launched a break­through project to file civil law­suits against Charedi in­sti­tu­tions that en­able sex­ual abuse.

Sara Siemi­aty­cki, (US) founded Bishvi­laych, the first and only woman-to-woman NGO in Is­rael fo­cused on pre­ven­tive med­i­cal care.

Beth Stein­berg and Miriam Avra­ham, (US) founded Shutaf, an in­no­va­tive, in­for­mal-ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram for chil­dren, teen and young peo­ple, with and with­out dis­abil­i­ties.

Susan Weiss, (US) founded the Cen­tre for Women’s Jus­tice, which uses civil tort cases to col­lect dam­ages for women re­fused a di­vorce, es­tab­lish­ing that such re­fusals are no longer a reli­gious right but a civil wrong.

I would be re­miss to omit Moshe Arens, who passed away this week. A US oleh, Arens made crit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions to Is­rael’s se­cu­rity and for­eign pol­icy. A for­mer De­fence and For­eign Min­is­ter, he was cru­cial in de­vel­op­ing Is­rael Air­craft In­dus­tries, a key foun­da­tion of Is­rael’s se­cu­rity.

This list is a but a smat­ter­ing of the ded­i­cated An­glo olim who work ev­ery day to im­prove Is­raeli so­ci­ety. We can be found in peace ini­tia­tives, ed­u­ca­tion in­no­va­tions, so­cial jus­tice bat­tles, hi-tech, en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivism, build­ing schools and build­ing bridges.

Far from be­ing un­able to “get jobs” in the old coun­try, we want to be part of build­ing our new one.

Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll is a writer and ac­tivist


Caroline Glick

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