Judy Shalom Nir Mozes named UNICEF Israel chairwoman

Nir-Mozes was nominated last month to be chairwoman of the Israeli branch of the UN’s organization for children’s rights.

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November 2, 2012 04:00
3 minute read.
UNICEF logo

UNICEF logo 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes was nominated last month to be chairwoman of the Israeli branch of UNICEF, the UN’s organization for children’s rights.

“The subject of kids has always touched me, because you see kids who, from the moment they are born, you already know that they will either die since they lack the basics to survive, or they are born into poverty and distress. You see that and you tell yourself: It’s not fair,” she said on Wednesday Shalom Nir-Mozes, a part owner of Yediot Aharonot, is the latest addition to a sparkling list of celebrities who have been ambassadors of the organization in recent years including British soccer star David Beckham, American actress Sarah Jessica Parker, Colombian singer Shakira, Queen Rania of Jordan and even Kate and William of the British royal family.

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“It’s flattering to be associated with people who are leaders of public opinion, and I hope I will succeed in mobilizing our public opinion leaders too for UNICEF,” Shalom Nir-Mozes said.

Her commitment to children’s causes is not new. For years, she took part in the activities of various Israeli NGOs on the subject. Her work ranged from combatting the use of drugs by teenagers, to joining the NGO Hom that fights child hunger in the country.

She explained she used to deliver food to the doors of kids, an experience that has left a mark in her: “When all you find in someone’s fridge is a piece of bread and chocolate spread, that’s called hunger for me. It’s ridiculous when I hear people tell me, ‘There’s no hunger in Israel,’ because there is.”

When she was offered the UNICEF title, Shalom Nir-Mozes hesitated: “I didn’t want to distance myself from local things.

UNICEF takes care of children in Israel too but globally everywhere in the world. But then I realized that kids are kids no matter their geographical location.”

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In preparing her project ideas for UNICEF Israel, she explained she sees a few local issues that need to be addressed: the gap between school achievements of children in the periphery and those of children who grow up in the cities, as well as religious and racial discrimination against kids.

Shalom Nir-Mozes added that she is very proud of her husband, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, for the steps he has made in advancing equality for children, such at the Pupils Rights Law that he played a significant role in passing. She sees many parallels between their respective pursuits.

Shalom Nir-Mozes views her new position as a double mission: “Be the voice of voiceless kids” but also provide positive public relations for the State of Israel.

“I take the UNICEF position as an opportunity for representing Israel in a positive light in many of the world’s most disadvantaged places, and I also know that in the end, those countries’ fingers at the UN are just like the fingers of any other country and it’s important that they like us and know we help them,” she explained. “It’s time that we make headlines for something good.”

Some of Shalom Nir-Mozes’ projects for her ambassadorship include engaging more fortunate Israeli children in helping children in other places, for example collecting money to buy food for Sudanese kids.

She jokes that one of her original ideas was to incorporate the UNICEF logo on the uniforms of a local soccer club, just as FC Barcelona did, but in light of the violence between rival soccer supporters in Israel, she preferred not to associate the NGO’s name with it.

Shalom Nir-Mozes believes her mission at UNICEF is part of a destiny, having five children herself: “Anything I can do for kids, no matter where they are, anything I can do to give them a chance at a good future, is something I think is important that I do,” she said, teary-eyed, trying to prevent her mascara from running.

“I know I won’t be able to reach all the kids in the world, and probably not even all those in Israel, but if I can help even just a few, I think it’s important both for them and for me, mentally, personally,” she said.

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