Grapevine, January 24, 2021: What to expect in 2021

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

PUPILS OF the Gevim School in Beersheba wear masks designed by British schoolchildren.  (photo credit: Courtesy)
PUPILS OF the Gevim School in Beersheba wear masks designed by British schoolchildren.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
New World Disorder: Redefining National Security is the title of the three-day 14th International Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies which opens on Tuesday, January 26 with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash discussing IDF Strategy 2021.
An academic with degrees from George Washington and Cambridge universities, before entering the UAE’s economic, political and diplomatic fields, gaining prominence in all three, Gargash was a faculty member of the United Arab Emirates University for ten years. His next position was as editor of the strategic studies publications of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. He was concurrently a businessman and from there branched into other fields. With the normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel, Gargash has urged Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ashkenazi was a platoon commander in the Golani Brigade. He fought in the Yom Kippur War and five years later, during the Litani Operation, was wounded and left the IDF. Two years later, he was asked to return as a battalion commander, and during the 1982 Lebanon War, served as deputy commander of the Golani Brigade and commanded the forces that captured the Beaufort Castle.
In 1987, he was promoted to commander and kept moving up in the ranks till 2005, when as deputy chief of staff, he officially retired from the army. However, a year later, he again was recalled, this time by then-defense minister Amir Peretz and was appointed director-general of the Defense Ministry. The following year, he was appointed chief of the general staff, a position that he held for four years before leaving the army for the last time in 2011. As a civilian, Ashkenazi is a former chairman of Shemen Oil and Gas Exploration. He was also the unpaid chairman of the Rashi Foundation, which assists underprivileged youth to realize their potential. He entered the political arena in 2019.
Subjects that will be explored during the rest of the conference include: the Biden Administration; the World Between Trump and Biden; War in the Middle East: A strategic assessment for Israel 2021; How to Heal Israel; COVID-19 and the Home Front. Full details and registration are available on the INSS website.
■ THE CONFEDERATION of General Zionists (CGZ) has elected American-Israeli entrepreneur, philanthropist, community organizer and activist David Yaari as its president and chairman of the board,
Succeeding Jesse Sultanik, who will continue as an officer, along with Marlene Post, a past president of Hadassah the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the most important of the various Zionist hats she has worn. Sultanik is a grandson of the late Kalman Sultanik, who died in October 2014, at age 97, after leading the CGZ for 60 years.
A Polish-born Holocaust survivor, who had ben a resistance fighter before being captured and deported to concentration camps, Kalman Sultanik occupied senior positions in influential organizations. He was a vice president of the World Jewish Congress, a member of the US Holocaust Memorial Council a 40-year member of the Jewish Agency Executive as well as a member of the executive of the World Zionist Organization and chairman of the American section of the WZO. In the 1970s, he was instrumental in opening a dialogue with the Polish government that led to the renewal of Jewish life in Poland.
In 1988, the Polish government appointed him to serve on the committee of the International Auschwitz Museum Council, where he served as deputy chairman.
Yaari who was born in Kentucky and raised in New York, graduated in Political Science from Yeshiva University and in Business Administration from New York University, after which he moved to Israel and served in the IDF as a platoon corporal and gunner in the tank corps of the 500th Brigade. In fealty to his new identity, he changed his surname from Borowich to Yaari.
Yaari is the founding director-general of the Arizona-Israel Trade and Investment Office with an extensive record of community engagement and leadership. Named among the Forward 50 list of the 50 most influential Jews in America, Yaari has filled many senior roles in the business and philanthropic fields including currently serving as a director of the Israel Nature and Heritage Foundation of the Society for International Development and now as a director of KKL-Keren Kayemet Leyisrael.
It is hoped that under his leadership the CGZ will expand its activities and increase its influence in the Zionist world.
Yaari is married to Sivan Yaari, the founder and CEO of Innovation Africa, with whom he has three children Ori, Emily and Adam. Within the framework of advancing the cause of General Zionism, Yaari wants to come up with new, creative ideas for the Jewish diaspora to connect with Israel. His goal is for the Confederation to serve as a bridge for the next generation, which he hopes will revitalize the Zionist movement.
The CGZ board also added two new directors, Sarri Singer, founder and CEO of Strength to Strength a nonprofit organization, which assists victims of terror worldwide; and Ran Fuchs, a senior board member of the Israeli-American Council and head of Capital Markets at IDB Capital.
■ IN NOVEMBER, 2020 JNF UK ran a national competition for mask designs that resulted in nearly 1000 pupils from 14 different schools submitting designs for masks that they had drawn and painted themselves. With the help of a panel of judges, three entries from children in three different age groups were chosen to help combat COVID-19.
The winning designs have now been manufactured and were distributed to hundreds of pupils in three schools across the south of Israel, providing the children with vibrant masks that also keep them safe.
The schools which received the masks are: Gevim School in Beersheba, Noam School in Bnei Dekalim, and Eli Cohen School in Kiryat Malachi. All three locations are in areas with which JNF UK has an ongoing relationship as part of its commitment to investing in Israel’s peripheral regions.
Israel Yokel, Headmaster of Noam School, voiced appreciation for the beautifully designed masks, saying “It means a lot to be given these reminders of the connection between the Jewish people here and our Jewish family abroad. We are looking forward to seeing you again soon!”
The three winners of the design competition were:
Ages 3-5: Monty Stateman, 3, from Brodetsky Primary School, Leeds.
Ages 6-8: Keitlin Bambans, 7, from Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School, London.
Ages 9-11: Eden, 10, from Etz Chaim, London.
■ LIBRARIES ARE naturally quiet places where people come to research or simply to read for pleasure. But libraries are subject to change, just like everything else, which is why the National Library of Israel is introducing a new webinar series to inform the Israeli public as to what is happening in major libraries around the world. The series which begins on Monday, January 25, (6 p.m. Israel / 4 p.m. GMT / 11 a.m. EST), is called  “SSSHHH! Listening to the Noise of National Libraries Around the World” –and together with National Library Directors, explores the evolving roles and functions of national libraries in the 21st century.
Oren Weinberg, Director of the National Library of Israel will be speaking with Chief Executive of the British Library Roly Keating. The talk will be moderated by Daniel Taub, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Registration is at: https://nlisrael.typeform.com/to/sUBl41FX
The “SSSHHH!” series will feature talks with national library directors of Australia (March 15), Poland (May 6) and the Netherlands (date to be confirmed). Registration links for each will be sent at a later date.
■ ONE OF the key objectives of the World Zionist Organization’s Department of Organization is a connection with Israelis who have become part of the Diaspora so as to ensure that Israelis who have opted to live abroad never lose touch with their moledet (homeland). A large part of the program in this respect comprises online lectures, conferences and other events in Hebrew. Immigrants from any country who socialize among themselves, tend to converse in the language in which they were raised.
It is therefore considered important to provide ample material of interest in Hebrew to attract the attention of Israelis who have become part of the Jewish Diaspora. Not so long ago, Israelis who went overseas to study or to make their fortune were looked on with disdain if they subsequently chose not to live in Israel. Not any more. These days it’s quite acceptable for Israelis not to live in Israel, but at the same time, Israel does not want to lose them altogether, therefore the WZO and other Zionist organizations devise numerous programs and projects for Hebrew speakers.
It is doubtful that many of the Israelis living abroad are aware that there is such a thing as a Tu Bishvat Seder in honor of the produce of the Holy Land. However, this has not deterred Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, the head of the WZO’s Department of Organization from issuing an online invitation to a Tu Bishvat Israeli Seder on Thursday, January 28. The Department headed by Braverman is relatively new and was established a few months ago following the conclusion of the 18th Zionist Congress.
Another Tu Bishvat event will be held on Monday, February 1, this time in English which will be a virtual tour in the Negev in the footsteps of Israel’s founding prime minister David Ben Gurion. Details are available on the Facebook pages of the WZO’s Department of Diaspora Affairs and the American Zionist Movement
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