samuel hayek kkl.
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The recent solidarity visit of JNF UK to Israel served as a good opportunity for the new chairman of JNF UK, Samuel Hayek, to mark the end of the longstanding disagreement that had resulted in severed ties between the KKL-JNF and one of its most important branches in the world. "The message that I am conveying to the world today is that JNF UK has returned to the bosom of the large global family of KKL-JNF," said Hayek at the end of the moving meeting between the solidarity delegation he headed and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.
Attorney Samuel Hayek, a native of Israel who was born to Iraqi immigrants, successfully repaired the bridges between the British branch of KKL-JNF and friends worldwide, owing mainly to his profound inner conviction in the justice of the KKL-JNF's mission and its ongoing historic role for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. "If I didn't believe in KKL-JNF with all my heart, I wouldn't have devoted so much time and effort to this," said Hayek. "Personally, I regard my acceptance of this post as my small contribution to the Jewish people's historic endeavor, which is still not over, and in which KKL-JNF plays a central role. The return of JNF UK to the KKL-JNF family will express itself in a number of central issues that are the essence of our membership in the global KKL-JNF family. We will resume our engagement in land development projects; in the major operation of tree planting; and in projects to build water reservoirs. But, beyond that, it is our intention to increase our part significantly in Jewish education across the United Kingdom, to connect every Jewish child in the United Kingdom with the Land of Israel."
Samuel Hayek is a charismatic figure, who knows how to infect others with his personal enthusiasm, which goes hand in hand with a studious, practical approach and with his vision. During the solidarity delegation's visit to Israel, the delegation attended the consecration ceremony of a swiftly-organized support project for the city of Sderot in which, in the company of Sderot Mayor David Buskila, the construction was announced of two urban parks for the benefit of city's residents. The first park will be consecrated within two months around one of the central squares in the city, where the Sderot's old fire-fighter's station once stood. "It is not we who deserve your compliments," replied Samuel Hayek to the ebullient gratitude that was voiced by the mayor of Sderot. "The residents of Sderot are the real heroes, and we are here to support them."
During the period in which relations between JNF UK and KKL-JNF were severed, ties between JNF activists in England and other Jewish organizations that are involved in various aspects of support and aid for the citizens of Israel were formed. Inter alia, close cooperation was formed with the One Family Organization, which supports the victims of terrorism in Israel and Samuel Hayek has continued to nurture that cooperation. "When the needs of citizens in distress are not met by the government, organizations such as KKL-JNF or One Family need to fill the void. We all do that with the inner sense that the solace afforded to the giver's soul is no less than that of the recipient. The result is that all the activists in the Jewish organizations are tied to Israel "with all their soul" and dedicate days and nights in volunteering to promote the organization's purposes."
Samuel Hayek is counting on that spirit and on the inner conviction of friends of JNF UK to build a special task force. "We will soon deploy hundreds of volunteers who will undergo special training, after which they will go out to knock on the door of every Jewish family in the United Kingdom in order to re-establish relations and breathe a new spirit in the connection between the Jewish people and its Land. We can always take governments to task for not doing enough, but instead of criticizing we can identify those lacunae and do the work ourselves. Of course, we will cooperate with trends and projects initiated by the Israeli government, but we also view ourselves as catalysts of such crucial projects. For example, we intend to send one of our educators to the Sapir College in Sderot to jointly examine where we may help that important college," declared Samuel Hayek, who has personally donated very substantial sums of money to educational projects.
Samuel Hayek reached the United Kingdom in 1980, after having performed his military service in the IDF's Intelligence. He studied law and then went into business in real estate. When, during the rift with the JNF UK, the KKL-JNF board asked him to help organize JNF activity in the UK by using a separate organizational structure, he gave his consent on one condition: "Give me a chance to bridge the deep differences and to find a compromise that will renew the joint forces instead of a final split!" Now, with the meeting of the JNF UK solidarity delegation with residents of southern Israel, Samuel Hayek can celebrate the successful accomplishment of that mission in which he had been the motivating force.
Hayek had assumed his duties as the chairman of JNF UK during a difficult period. "Regrettably, the renewed momentum has begun in an atmosphere of a difficult global economic situation. We all feel that our donors, or at least some of them, are feeling pressed because of the economic crisis. But as we were told by Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitz, only a leadership without vision can be expected to fail. We will step up our fundraising efforts while rebuilding the departments that engage in fundraising and infusing them with young and active blood. I hope we will succeed in maintaining a level of fundraising that will enable us to support the projects we have taken upon ourselves."
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