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B'yachad Events

ATTILA SOMFALVI

DECADES OF COPING WITH CRISES: HAS THE PAST PREPARED US FOR THE FUTURE?

On 2 April 2020, Israel Bonds International launched the first of their global events with a timely update on the coronavirus pandemic in Israel. Their guest speaker was Attila Somfalvi, the lead anchor of Ynet News.

Ynet is Israel's biggest and most influential news site. More than 1.5 million unique users read and watch Ynet every single day. The site works 24/7, covering both Israeli and international news.

Before undertaking duties at Ynet, Mr. Somfalvi served as a police correspondent during the Second Intifada, and later as a diplomatic and political reporter and analyst for more than twelve years. He now serves as a senior commentator and the main host of television broadcasts on the Ynet news site He is the editor and presenter of Ynet’s political podcast, “Counting Votes,” and hosts a personal political podcast, “Realpolitik.” In addition, he hosts a radio show on Radio 90FM in Israel.

 Aside from his media activities, Mr. Somfalvi is also a visiting scholar at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and takes part in an innovative study on “fake news” and the impact of the phenomenon on Israeli democracy. He lectures on political communication and politics in various forums as well as in educational frameworks. 

B’nai B’rith announced earlier this year that a certificate of merit in memory of Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky will be conferred on Attila Somfalvi for a series of reports and commentaries on the relationship between Israel and American Jewry.

RABBI AVICHAI APEL

PESACH IN TIMES OF CRISIS

On 6 April 2020, friends and supporters of Israel Bonds in Germany presented “Pesach in Times of Crisis.”

Rabbi Avichai Apel, the spiritual leader of the Jewish community of Frankfurt am Main, spoke about the meaning and importance of Pesach, especially in times of crisis. “Pesach can provide us with the strength to go through this crisis. It´s a time to remember what is really important to us and how we can protect it,” Rabbi Apel said.

CANON ANDREW WHITE AND RABBI STUART ALTSHULER

COVID-19 IN OUR COMMUNITIES OVER PASSOVER
AND EASTER

On 6 April 2020, over seventy people tuned in to a pre-Passover event with two prominent clergymen in their communities.

Speaking on the topic of “COVID-19 in our Communities over Passover and Easter,” Canon Andrew White, the former vicar of Baghdad, and Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, rabbi of Belsize Square Synagogue, spoke of their preparations for both Easter and Passover, and their challenges in shifting their communities from a traditional church or synagogue service, in which congregants are physically present, to an online format for worship.

Canon Andrew White was the vicar of St George's Church, Baghdad, the only Anglican church in Iraq, until his departure, ordered in November 2014 by the Archbishop of Canterbury due to security concerns. Known as " The Vicar of Baghdad," Canon White is former president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. He was previously Director of International Ministry at the International Centre for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, England. He qualified and worked as an operating department practitioner prior to becoming ordained. He has also spent time in Jerusalem at a yeshiva, where he studied and learned Torah and Hebrew.

Rabbi Altshuler has combined a congregational and academic career. Originally from Los Angeles, he held a post before coming to London as professor of history and philosophy in the Jewish Studies Department at Chapman University in Orange, California. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley, he studied at, was ordained and received his doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He is a Masorti/Conservative rabbi, a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, and has served congregations in Connecticut, Virginia, Chicago and Southern California. He is also the author of From Exodus to Freedom: A History of the Soviet Jewry Movement.

RAV LEMMEL

PESACH: LIBERATION & TRANSMISSION

On 6 April 2020, Israel Bonds Women's Division in France held an event titled "Pesach: Liberation and Transmission." The fifty-eight participants who logged on were treated to an event rich in teachings relating to Pesach while enjoying a warm and inviting online atmosphere.

 

ELYEZER SHKEDY

FROM SON OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS TO COMMANDER OF
THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE

On 20 April 2020, over 250 people from around the world heard from Major General (ret) Elyezer Shkedy.

The online event marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Major General Shkedy held the post of commander of the Israeli Air Force from 2004 -2008, the culmination of a thirty-year career in the IAF. He gave a very emotional and personal account of events that marked his life as the son of a Holocaust survivor from Hungary.

During his years of service in the IAF, Major General Shkedy accumulated more than three thousand hours of flight time on a number of airplanes and helicopters, and served as a pilot, planner and active participant in many operations, most notably the downing two enemy aircraft in Operation Peace for the Galilee.

ALON LAVI

ISRAEL, THE ENTREPRENEURIAL NATION, AND THE CHALLENGES
OF THE PANDEMIC

On 22 April 2020, forty people logged on to hear from Alon Lavi, Israel Consul General in São Paulo, Brazil.

Alon spoke about the challenges Israel faced during the start of the pandemic, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Israel.

Alon Lavi arrived in Brazil in August 2019 as Israel consul general in São Paulo. For the previous three years, he had served as the deputy head of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Mexico City. Prior to that, he was deputy speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, Israel from 2014 to 2016.

Alon’s first posting to Brazil was in 2011, when he served as first secretary at the Israeli Embassy in Brasilia.

Between 2005 and 2008, Alon was Director of International Programs for the Jewish Agency and senior representative to the Macabi Movement of the Jewish Agency of Israel and The Jewish Community Center Association of North America -- both located in New York.

He holds a bachelor's degree in biotechnological engineering from Ben-Gurion University in Israel, and has conducted research at the Institute of Biochemistry, Oxford University, England. He also holds a master's degree in conflict resolution and negotiation from Bar Ilan University in Israel.

Alon Lavi is forty years old. He and his wife Reina have three children.

ALON BEN-DAVID

DEFENDING AGAINST INVISIBLE ENEMIES

On 23, April 2020, guests heard from Alon Ben-David, the current senior defence correspondent for Israel Channel 10.

Mr. Ben-David briefed the audience on several current events in Israel, including how the government of Israel has been dealing with the coronavirus crisis, its effects on the economy, and potential outcomes under the new proposed government.

Alon Ben-David is a television and print journalist who has been covering the Middle East conflict for more than three decades. He is considered one of the leading journalists in Israel, contributes to several international publications, and specializes in defence and military issues. He frequently lectures throughout the world on topics relating to the Middle East.

During the past three decades, he has covered all major events in the region, including the First and Second Intifadas, the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the disengagement from Gaza, Israel's long war in Lebanon and the recent Gaza conflicts. He has reported from scenes of major global events, such as the 9/11 attacks in New York. Throughout his career, he has created numerous documentary films and series.

Alon Ben-David holds a BA in political science from Tel Aviv University and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. He is a senior research fellow at the Center for International Communication at Bar-Ilan University.

GAL LUSKY

TIKKUN OLAM IN A TIME OF GLOBAL CRISIS

On 26 April 2020, Gal Lusky, founder & CEO of Israeli Flying Aid (IFA), addressed Israel Bonds International Women’s Division

Nearly one hundred women from around the world heard Ms. Lusky recount her inspirational personal story, as well as describe the work of IFA, a non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) that delivers life-saving aid to communities affected by natural disasters and human conflict around the world.

Deeply affected by her brother’s severe injuries sustained in Lebanon in 1992, Ms. Lusky felt blessed to be born in Israel and have access to the Israeli infrastructures that helped save his life. Making a choice between revenge and compassion, Ms. Lusky turned toward compassion and felt the urge to help others who were less fortunate than her own brother.

In 1994, she left for her first humanitarian relief mission in Rwanda, joined by fellow Israeli volunteers. Throughout 1994-2004, she spent time volunteering and distributing critical aid, again joined by fellow Israeli volunteers who shared the same deeply-held Jewish belief in the sanctity of human life and dignity that is reflected in the Halacha.

IFA was established in 2005 in order to save the unseen victims of Article 7 of the Rome Statute (crimes against humanity) and Chapter 7 of the UN Charter (restoring international peace and security) and the belief that in the clash between justice and international law, justice prevails. IFA’s motto is “Nobody asks permission to kill; we don’t ask permission to save lives.”

YOM HA´ATZMAUT PARTY IN DA HOUSE PARTY

On 28 April 2020, close to 130 people from around the world joined online to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Guests heard a special message for Israel Bonds from President Rivlin, followed by an interactive quiz hosted by comedian Dani B. The event also featured Hatikvah, performed by JJ Hodari, and
DJ Moshiko Stern from 100 FM’s, who rounded off the event with an electric dance set
live from Tel Aviv.

NOFAR AJZENBERG

FITNESS WITH NOFAR

On 30 April 2020, Israel Bonds International Women's Division held a lively fitness event: "Fitness Full-Body Exercises," with certified sports coach Nofar Ajzenberg.

The invigorating session was attended by forty women and chaired by Isabelle Amsallem, member of Israel Bonds Women's Division in France from Lyon.

Nofar Ajzenberg has been a sports coach for twenty-five years. She graduated from the School for Sports Coaches of the Wingate Institute in Israel and assists with any fitness or weight loss goal.

CLAUDE SONALIER

FREEING ONESELF FROM STRESS AND TENSION
WITH CLAUDE SONALIER

On 5 May 2020, Israel Bonds International Women's Division held a sophrology session billed as "Freeing Oneself from Stress and Tension," with Claude Sonnalier.

The event was chaired by Nathalie Denis, a member of Women's Division in France.

Claude Sonalier is a certified sophrologist, supervisor, hypnosis and mindfulness meditation practitioner, who previously practiced as a pharmacist for fifteen years. After training in herbal medicine, aromatherapy and nutrition, she turned to sophrology. She is passionate about this psycho-body technique to develop one’s potential and improve their quality of life and well-being.

ALEXANDRE ADLER

THE AFTER-EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON FRENCH HISTORY

On 6 May 2020, over 145 guests heard from Alexandre Adler, who discussed the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on history. The event was chaired by Caroline Berdugo.

Alexandre Adler is a historian and well-known French journalist of German-Jewish descent. His father, Emeric, was the sole survivor of his family, the rest of whom perished in deportation during the Holocaust.

After joining l'École Normale Supérieure, and passing history aggregation, he taught at the Université Paris VIII, and at the Collège Interarmées de Défense until 2000.

His journalistic career began in 1982 at the newspaper Libération. He then took part in the management of Courier International, for ten years as editor-in-chief and then as editorial director. At the same time, he collaborated for two years at Le Point magazine, two years at the Express and finally five years at Le Monde. After being appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour in May 2002, he was made an officer of the National Order of Merit on January 19, 2007 by the president of the Republic, Jacques Chirac. He is now a member of the editorial board of Le Figaro, and author of numerous books, including, most recently, The Time of the Apocalypse, published in Paris by Grasset, 2018.

ALON BEN-DAVID

DEFENDING AGAINST INVISIBLE ENEMIES

On 7 May 2020, nearly 150 people from around the world joined online to hear Alon Ben-David, the current senior defence correspondent for Israel Channel 10.

At that time, there was increasing optimism as Israel was taking steps to relax the pandemic lockdown.

Alon Ben-David is a television and print journalist who has been covering the Middle East conflict for more than three decades. He is considered one of the leading journalists in Israel, contributes to several international publications, and specializes in defence and military issues. He frequently lectures throughout the world on topics relating to the Middle East.

During the past three decades, he has covered all major events in the region, including the First and Second Intifadas, the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the disengagement from Gaza, Israel's long war in Lebanon and the recent Gaza conflicts. He has reported from scenes of major global events, such as the 9/11 attacks in New York. Throughout his career, he has created numerous documentary films and series.

Alon Ben-David holds a BA in political science from Tel Aviv University and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. He is a senior research fellow at the Center for International Communication at Bar-Ilan University.

DR. YEHUDIT ABRAMS

NECESSITY AS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

On 12 May 2020, over ninety women from around the world logged on to hear Dr. Yehudit Abrams, founder and CEO of MonitHer LTD., speak about her conversion to Judaism, her work as a NASA scientist, and her ultimate journey of moving to Israel.

Dr. Yehudit Abrams is currently Founder and CEO of MonitHer Ltd. MonitHer’s goal is to dramatically reduce the death and suffering due to late diagnosis of breast cancer by making cutting-edge early detection methods affordable and accessible for all. Yehudit worked as a mechanical engineer at HP and Intel in robotics and plasma science prior to medical school. After receiving her MD, she was awarded a $25,000 Google scholarship to attend Singularity University on the NASA campus.

During her time at medical school, she traveled extensively with international medical volunteers across the globe, gathering the critical experience needed to join NASA as a biomedical scientist developing and accessing medical diagnostics to support the Mars mission. While working in ultrasound at NASA, Yehudit decided to dedicate herself to preventative medical imaging, and opted to work on early detection of breast cancer after losing her cousin, a gynecologist and breast cancer survivor who was passionate about early detection. Yehudit went on to work as medical director for four years, leading research for a breast ultrasound company prior to founding MonitHer Ltd. 

MonitHer Ltd. was winner of Mass Challenge Israel 2018 and the Israel Wework Creator Awards, 2018. 

COLONEL GRISHA YAKUBOVICH

COOPERATING IS NOT ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES

On Thursday, the 14th of May, 100 guests logged on to hear Colonel Grisha Yakubovich, who gave a highly engaging and valuable perspective on policy matters pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic.

With over thirty years of experience initiating and executing cooperative efforts between Israelis and Palestinians at the highest level of both the public and private sectors, the colonel shared his unique expertise and insights into possible future scenarios of policy matters pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic.

 

TEHILA BEN MOSHE

THE ROAD TO TESTING

On 20 May 2020, Israel Bonds International Women’s Division hosted Dr. Tehila Ben Moshe, Co-Founder, CEO and Chairwoman of Biond Biologics.

Biond Biologics was founded in 2016 with the vision of bringing its innovative drugs to patients based on synergistic, long-term collaborations with leading global companies, and Dr. Ben Moshe explained how her biotech company discovers and develops breakthrough therapies for cancer treatment.

Prior to that, Dr. Ben-Moshe was the CEO and vice-president, research and development, of cCAM Biotherapeutics, a company that developed novel immuno-oncology biological drugs for the treatment of solid tumors. During her period at cCAM, Dr. Ben-Moshe brought an early-stage company from inception to a successful proof-of-concept and clinical trials.

Now, together with the scientific team that worked with her at cCAM and additional Israeli biotech professionals, her young company is highly motivated to discover new cancer therapy treatments.

MARIACHA DRAI

SHAVUOT AND THE GIVING OF TORAH

On 25 May 2020, Israel Bonds International Women’s Division hosted Mariacha Drai. The presentation centred around the festival of Shavuot.

The inspirational and informative event, chaired by Isabelle Amsallem and Patricia Levy,

was attended by 120 guests and Drai’s conceptual and modern approach was well-received by the audience.

After a career in computer engineering in Israel, Mariacha Drai studied Talmud and pivoted to teaching Torah. She created Essenti'Elle, a space for all women to study Torah, and the Bohi Kala seminary for engaged and married women. She is also a certified family and couples’ therapist.

 

ELIANA BEKIER PERLMAN

ZUMBA WITH ELIANA BEKIER PERLMAN

On 27 May 2020, Israel Bonds International Women's Division held an online Zumba class with Eliana Bekier Perlman, Israeli TV and film actress. Eliana was a winner of the Israeli version of Dancing with the Stars in its first season.

Bekier Perlman, who is also a personal trainer and Zumba instructor, spent the last several years teaching Zumba in Shanghai and London, and engaged everyone who attended with her high-energy workout.

ALEX POLLAK

BLACKROCK’S JOURNEY TO ISRAEL: INNOVATION, PASSION, PERFORMANCE

On 4 June 2020, Alex Pollak, managing director of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, spoke about the company’s journey to Israel.

Pollak noted that as recently as 2008, BlackRock had no presence in Israel. He spearheaded the building of their business there, scaling it up to office openings in 2016. For eleven years, Alex was BlackRock’s country head for Israel. As well as initiating BlackRock’s coverage of the region, he was responsible for establishing a local office and team. As of December, he has held the position of head of clients within BlackRock’s fiduciary management business; Blackrock has now become the largest global asset manager operating in Israel.

MATTHIAS FUCHS

ISRAEL – A LAND FILLED WITH STORIES

On 3 June 2020, Israel Bonds Germany hosted Matthias Fuchs, journalist, photographer, and designer. Friends and supporters of Israel Bonds from across Germany participated in his interesting and vivid lecture, which was followed by an engaging Q&A session.

Fuchs spoke passionately about his first visit to Israel, telling his audience, “I thought nothing could beat my favourite country, Italy, but then I came to Israel.”

Since then, Matthias, owner of the advertising agency MFK has continued to present Israel in all its facets in his high-quality magazines. The people he portrays, from musician Idan Reichel to chef Uri Buri to Marco Massano, who led the IDF operation "Good Neighbor" on Israel's border with Syria, have all displayed the innovative and creative mindset that reveals the shared values of an open and diverse society.

DR. CATHERINE LACROSNIÈRE

IMMUNITY AND THE SECRETS OF FOOD

On 3 June 2020, Israel Bonds International Women’s Division welcomed Dr. Catherine Lacrosnière, an expert in nutrition. The event was chaired by Muriel Levy and Brigitte Perez.

Seventy participants logged on to hear Dr. Lacrosnière discuss diet and nutrition, immunity, and inflammation. For over twenty years, Dr. Lacrosnière has supported the management of nutrition-related problems and pathologies in consultation. As an independent expert, she advises the food and nutri-cosmetics industry in the various fields related to diet, nutritional balance and well-being. She is also a contributor to the mainstream press (Elle, Santé Magazine, Top Santé, Fémina, Dr Good, C'est Bon, etc.), speaks on the radio (France-Inter) and appears on television (France 5, France 2) on topics relating to nutrition.

RAFAEL HERLICH

JEWISH LIFE IN GERMANY

On 8 June 2020, guests from across Germany logged on to hear from photographer Rafael Herlich, a Tel Aviv native living in Frankfurt am Main.

Mr. Herlich, a chronicler of Jewish life in Germany, has published several books and initiated exhibitions and projects in schools about various aspects of Jewish life in Germany.

In his emotional presentation, he intertwined his personal life story and the story of his family with his development as a photographer. Through his pictures, he connected Israel, Germany and Poland in a very personal way and depicted Jewish life in Germany in all its facets.

PROFESSOR EILAT SHINAR

EXTRACTING ANTIBODIES; THE SEARCH FOR THE VACCINE

On 16 June 2020, over one hundred people joined Israel Bonds and Magen David Adom UK to hear from Professor Eilat Shinar.

Professor Shinar, a native of Israel who acquired her medical education there, is the Magen David Adom director and head of Israel’s Blood Service. She described how Magen David Adom is collecting antibodies from blood plasma units donated by individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. The antibody testing, she explained, is important in order to treat severely ill patients, and to discover an eventual viable vaccine.

A specialist in hematology, she is a professor in the Faculty of Medicine of Ben Gurion University, and the author ninety-four scientific papers.

In addition, she is a member of the advisory committees to the Israeli Ministry of Health on transfusion medicine, AIDs prevention, and the chairperson of the advisory committee for blood usage in emergencies. Internationally, she is a member of GAP, the global advisory panel on corporate governance and risk.

Prof. Shinar is married to Yoram, has three children and one grandson.

ARON SCHUSTER

THE GERMAN JEWISH COMMUNITY’S RESPONSE
TO THE CORONA CRISIS

On 18 June 2020, Aron Schuster, director of the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany, joined Israel Bonds Germany to discuss how Jewish communities across the country are dealing with the corona crisis.

The Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany runs several nursing homes, Mr. Schuster explained, and needed to react quickly to the challenges faced by vulnerable, high-risk groups.

He expressed his gratitude for the participation of Israel Bonds Germany on the Tablets4Safta project, which provides tablets to the residents of the nursing homes so that they can stay in touch with loved ones digitally.

“The corona crisis forced us to rethink our way of working together and to come up with new and innovative ways to stay connected,” he told the group.

DR. MAIRAV COHEN-ZION AND AMIR INDITZKY

SLEEP DEPRIVATION IN THE AGE OF ANXIETY

On 23 June 2020, nearly ninety people heard from Dr. Mairav Cohen-Zion, clinical psychologist and sleep researcher, and Amir Inditzky, developer of the sleep-training dayzz app.

Together, they explained how the Israeli start-up, dayzz, achieves personalized sleep through the app, which creates personalized sleep training plans based on factors such as lifestyle and sleep goals.

Dr. Mairav Cohen-Zion, Chief Science Officer at dayzz, is a clinical psychologist and sleep researcher. She received her PhD at the University of San Diego, California (UCSD) and her postdoctoral training at the San Diego VA Medical Center. Dr. Cohen-Zion has expertise in behavioural and cognitive therapies for sleep disorders and has worked in public and private healthcare settings and sleep laboratories for over twenty years.

 

Amir, CEO at dayzz, has been leading innovative, complex online products for the past fifteen years. He is an eCommerce expert with a wide-angle view on all aspects of online performance optimization projects and holds both a BSc and an MBA from Tel Aviv University.

HINRICH KAASMANN

ENCOUNTER, RECONCILIATION, RETURN TO ISRAEL - EVEN IN CORONA TIMES?

On 24 June 2020, Hinrich Kaasmann from Ebenezer Aid Fund, Germany spoke about making aliyah during the pandemic.

Mr. Kaasmann is a board member of the Friends of Yad Vashem in Germany, and heads the Ebenezer Aid Fund, Germany, a non-profit organization that promotes Christian-Jewish exchange and helps Jews - especially from the former Soviet Union - to return to Israel.

 

He explained that even though the circumstances are different and more complex than usual, COVID-19 has not stopped Jews from migrating to the Jewish homeland. Working closely with the Jewish Agency, volunteers of Ebenezer Germany help Jews looking to make aliyah, from filing the necessary paperwork, to preparing for their new life in Israel, to arranging transportation to the airport. Mr. Kaasmann also elaborated on his motivation as a Christian to support aliyah to Israel. It is, he said, a deep personal belief that every Jew should have the opportunity to live in their ancestral homeland.

YARON CARNI

HOW THE BOLD & AGILE ENTREPRENEUR CAN SHINE IN DIFFICULT TIMES

On 30 June 2020, over eighty people heard from Yaron Carni, founder of Maverick Ventures (Israel).

Maverick Ventures was founded “by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs,” providing funding for tech start-up companies from global investors and focusing on the success of innovative Israeli companies.

Yaron expressed how inspiring it was for him to see how, even in the most challenging times, innovation and business opportunities can still flourish.

Prior to starting Maverick Israel, Yaron founded the Tel Aviv Angel Group and was personally involved in the business development of all its portfolio companies. One of his most notable successes was facilitating Google's first acquisition in Israel - LabPixies. 

Yaron is a graduate of the Sam Zell Entrepreneurship Program and holds a master’s degree in law, with a concentration in IP. He serves as a reserves officer in the I.D.F, writes about Israeli innovation and also contributes to Forbes Magazine.

GONEN BEN-YITZHAK

RECRUITING THE GREEN PRINCE

On 16 July 2020, over 150 people joined Israel Bonds and Tel Aviv University Trust online to hear from Gonen Ben-Yitzhak, who worked for the Israeli Secret Service (ISS), known as Shin Bet.

Gonen told his personal and inspirational story of overseeing one of ISS's most sensitive operations – the handling of Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of the founder of Hamas in the West Bank and founder of the organization’s political wing. Also known as “The Green Prince,” Mosab, whose identity was not revealed for over ten years, until 2010, was ISS's most valuable recruit.

The son of a prominent Israeli general, Gonen served three years in the Israeli Navy, received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and management from Ben Gurion University, and then, after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1992, joined the Shin Bet and served in Ramallah, West Bank, as a handler and district manager during the Second Intifada.

In 2014, the acclaimed documentary film, The Green Prince, featuring Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben-Yitzhak, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Audience Award for best documentary. The film also received awards at the Moscow International Film Festival and at the Israeli Film Festival.

JORDANA CUTLER

FACEBOOK, ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY – A LOOK INTO FACEBOOK’S APPROACH TO POLICY

On 21 July 2020, nearly one hundred people joined Israel Bonds and WIZO online to hear from Facebook’s Head of Policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora, Jordana Cutler.

Jordana shared Facebook’s policies on tackling anti-Semitism and other harmful content on their platforms. Participants also got to hear how the Facebook partnership model is working to empower small business owners with online tools and strategies to grow in this difficult economic period.

Prior to joining Facebook in 2016, Jordana served as chief of staff in the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. for three years. She has also served in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office as Prime Minister Netanyahu's advisor for Diaspora Affairs and as the deputy to the senior advisor to the prime minister. In addition, Jordana worked in the strategy department of the Likud Party’s 2009 campaign, and from 2005-2007 served as the senior officer for public affairs at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.

She holds a master’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in political science, specializing in political communication, and earned her B.A. from Brandeis University in politics, Near Eastern & Judaic studies and Hebrew language & literature.

Jordana is a native of Washington, D.C., and made aliyah in 2007. She is married to Adam and has three children.

ON THE MAP WITH TAL BRODY AND DANI MENKIN

THE MIRACULOUS STORY OF MACCABI TEL AVIV'S ‘77
CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM

On 26 July 2020, over 150 people from all over the world joined Israel Bonds International’s B’yachad We Bond online event in conjunction with Maccabi Europe. Guests were delighted to hear from Tal Brody, the 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv team captain and star of the documentary On the Map, as well as the writer/director/producer of the documentary, Dani Menkin.

On the Map is the story of the '77 Maccabi Tel Aviv team, the one that brought the first European Cup to Israel and became "The Team of the Nation" against all odds, in the midst of political situations and a country starving for that ‘feel good factor.”

Mr Menkin and Brody both answered questions from audience participants, who were able to watch the movie in advance of the event. The story of Tal Brody and the Maccabi team left everyone feeling inspired, enthusiastic and filled with optimism.

JUSTINE ZWERLING

THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE: BRINGING THE UK AND ISRAEL
CLOSER TOGETHER

On 4 August 2020, Israel Bonds International and GIFT hosted around forty-five people, who logged on to the B’Yachad We Bond online event series. Justine Zwerling, head of Primary Markets, Israel for the London Stock Exchange, gave an interview in conversation with Israel Bonds’ executive director for the United Kingdom, Joe Ozer.

Justine spoke about her career and volunteer work. She explained how the London Stock Exchange supports Israeli companies to scale up, working with private start-ups, connecting them with capital through to IPO and beyond. On a personal level, she revealed that to her, “channelling energy into volunteering and helping others is the key to life with or without lockdown.”

Her distinguished career centres around entrepreneurship, combined with a life purpose to develop the support structures to empower women personally and professionally. She founded the Jewish Women’s Business Network, part of LSEG's Women Inspired Network, and is proud to be included in the HERoes 50 Women Future Leaders list 2019, supported by Yahoo Finance. Her voluntary roles include serving on the board of directors of Vibe Israel, Israel Bonds UK, and Sahi Jerusalem (supporting & empowering youth at risk), as well as mentoring parents of autistic children. She is the lucky mum of two lovely girls and married to a wonderful, patient husband.

RABBI SHLOMO RASKIN

GERMAN JEWS IN ISRAEL

On 26 August 2020, twenty-five friends and supporters of Israel Bonds Germany joined online to hear Rabbi Shlomo Raskin from Frankfurt speak on the topic of Jekes—Jews of German origin-- in Israel.

With a lot of humor and great affection, Rabbi Raskin described the character traits Jekes are famous for. The language of the Jekes has had a big effect on modern-day Hebrew, and many phrases and sayings can be traced to German or Austrian origin. But what the Jekes are most known for is their punctuality, diligence, and precision.

Rabbi Raskin talked about his experience of coming to Germany and working in the seniors’ home of the Jewish community in Frankfurt. The Jekes he met there criticized him for speaking a mix of German, Yiddish, and Hebrew. However, he explained, once you win the heart of a Jeke, you gain a loyal friend for life.

The participants clearly enjoyed the humor and anecdotes Rabbi Raskin shared. With his entertaining presentation, he took the audience on a journey so enthralling that it was hardly noticeable that the event was held online.

Israeli-born Rabbi Raskin has served a community in Sydney, Australia, and is now responsible for pastoral care and religious life at the seniors’ centre of the Jewish community in Frankfurt am Main.

Every week, he inspires a large audience with his shiurim—lectures-- both online on his YouTube channel, "Torah in Frankfurt," as well as offline at various events. He attracts both Jewish and Christian listeners with his great wisdom and knowledge of the Torah. He is also the author of

of the book, I Learned a lot from my Teachers and even more from my Students.

REVEREND BRUCE THOMPSON

TEXTS, LIES AND SOCIAL MEDIA - ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE CHURCH

On the 26th of August 2020, nearly 100 people joined Israel Bonds to hear an insightful talk by Reverend Bruce Thompson, Methodist Church Chair and one of the founders of Methodist Friends of Judaism. Reverend Bruce gave an eye-opening and informative account of the history of anti-Semitism through the centuries. Reverend Thompson, whose district consists of 145 churches across Lincolnshire, is a blogger, broadcaster and writer. His latest book, Echoes of Contempt - a history of Judeophobia and the Christian Church, was published by Wipf & Stock in November 2018 and has received very favourable reviews. Bruce has spent much of his ministry challenging injustice and prejudice, working for better relations across the faith communities. 

ARYE SHARUZ SHALICAR

THE NEW GERMAN ANTI-SEMITE. DO JEWS BELONG TO
GERMANY TODAY?

Arye Aruz Shalicar, who now holds the position of head of the International Relations Department in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, shared his insights about the various forms of anti-Semitism in Germany with thirty participants during our local online event held on 3 September 2020.

During this frank discussion, Arye spoke openly about his experience with anti-Semitism as a child---experience that eventually led him to seek protection in the hip-hop and street art scene of Berlin. After finishing school, he served in the German army. “Wearing the German uniform was a sign to me that Jews belong to Germany,” he explained. But eventually he determined that the only safe place for Jews was Israel, which is why he decided to make aliyah. He is now a strong voice for Israel and German-Israeli relations. He explained how he confronts anti-Semitism and the anti-Israel bias in the media, specifically on his Facebook page, as a result of which he receives responses of support, as well as hate-based reactions and criticism as a hardliner. Arye also discussed his hopes for Israel and the region and expressed his belief that the recent historic treaty signed by Israel and UAE shows that changes for the better are possible.

After his talk, Arye responded to questions ranging from how he evaluates the current situation in Germany, and how he explains why so many Germans feel like experts on the Middle East, to queries as to if he feels his voice is heard in the German media. Participants came away with a heightened awareness of one man’s personal experiences growing up in Germany as the son of Persian-Jewish immigrants, and the thought-provoking journey that led to his commitment to fight anti-Semitism.

RABBI MICHEL AZOULAY

ETHICS OF JUDAISM: A LOOK AT SOME CURRENT PROBLEMS

On Wednesday the 9th of September 2020, Israel Bonds France hosted as a featured speaker Rabbi Michael Azoulay of the Neuilly Ancel community. The chair of the event was Caroline Atlani, of the community of Neuilly.

Rabbi Azoulay holds a master’s degree in law from the university of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, is a former member of the National Consultative Ethics Committee and is currently in charge of societal affairs with the Chief Rabbi of France. Since 2018, he has hosted Originally—Bereshit on France 2 on Sunday mornings.

Speaking on the main themes of tzedakah, donation and investment, Rabbi Azoulay discussed the concept of tzedakah as an obligation of social justice and offered a perspective on certain forms of investment, which, from a religious point of view, would be regarded as amongst the most meritorious acts. Given this viewpoint, Rabbi Azoulay also expressed his support for the Mazal Tov Bonds program in his community.

REBBETZIN JULIA KONNIK

THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE JEWS IN THE CORDOBA CALIPHATE. WILL THERE BE ANOTHER HASDAI IBN SHAPRUT SOON?

On 20 October 2020, the International Women´s Division of Israel Bonds Germany hosted an online event with Rebbetzin Julia Konnik. Fifty-seven interested participants followed her on her journey through the history of Al-Andalus. Using the example of Jewish diplomat Hasdai ibn Shaprut, the personal physician of the Muslim ruler Abd ar-Rahman, the Rebbetzin demonstrated how a peaceful coexistence between Jews and Muslims was possible, explaining that in Hasdai ibn Shaprut’s position, he took part in negotiations with Christian kings of the surrounding kingdoms.

Rebbetzin Konnik gave an objective overview of The Golden Age of Cordoba, and the role religion played in that time of coexistence between Jews and Muslims. Her impressive knowledge of historical detail helped her audience understand how a bridge to the current relationship between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain was forged. Even though most people have until now believed that a peace between the Jewish state and Arab countries remained in the distant future, the Abraham Accords were signed on September 15, 2020 between the three countries.

After her inspiring lecture, the participants engaged in questions about multilingualism in Israel and the possibility of thriving Jewish life in Arab countries.

DR. YAEL ADLER

TDOCTOR, WE HAVE TO TALK! HOW DOCTORS OPERATE AND WHAT PATIENTS NEED

On Wednesday the 5th of November 2020, Israel Bonds Germany hosted an on-line event with Dr. Yael Adler, a dermatologist from Berlin. Mr. Uwe Becker, the mayor of the city of Frankfurt, honoured us by moderating the discussion, which proved to be very informative for all the participants.

Dr. Adler offered her audience many useful tips, many of which were gleaned from the book she has written about fruitful communication between doctors and patients. Since she has observed that this trust-based relationship often suffers from the limited time doctors have for each of their patients, she encouraged patients to come prepared to their doctors’ appointments, ready to discuss issues learned from their own research or with a list of questions to which they are seeking answers.

She also shared insights from her own clinical experience about how doctors can make their patients feel more comfortable, and how they can learn to study body language to help analyze the feelings of a patient and gather hints about what he or she is not saying openly. She even gave welcome advice on protecting the skin of our hands, when we are all washing and disinfecting them so frequently during this era of the coronavirus.

With her open and charming personality, Dr. Adler captured the attention of the participants effortlessly, and together with Mayor Becker, nearly made us all forget that we were meeting online instead of in person!

DR. DR. MICHEL FRIEDMAN

EUROPE IN CRISIS - DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN DIGNITY
PUT TO THE TEST

We had the honor and pleasure of welcoming Dr. Dr. Michel Friedman as the speaker for our online event on December 1st. Over fifty people logged in to hear his thoughts and explanations about the political, social, and economical problems Europe is currently facing.

As a philosopher and lawyer, Professor Friedman gave us his insights about different aspects of this topic. He stressed an important, long-held European ideal that its governments act as guarantors of peace and stability. In his view, the rise of populist movements in many of the European countries has made it obvious that democracy is not a given, but needs to be fought for in every generation. Citizens must tolerate the fact that a democracy can be loud and that they may hear voices they don´t agree with, but that is preferable to living in the silence of a dictatorship. However, it does not mean that citizens must tolerate anti-democratic voices, even from parties that ran in a democratic election.

Prof. Friedman explained that he was not surprised by the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe because, in his view, those prejudices and hate had never disappeared, but instead just gone undercover. Nowadays, this hatred is expressed on- and offline. Even though it is easier to look away and say nothing, every anti-Semitic comment needs to be countered. Only a society in which Jews and other minority groups can live without fear is one in which everyone can live in peace.

The ability to make compromises and to understand that no country can get everything it wants seems to have become weaker over the last years. But it is exactly the ability to compromise, as Prof. Friedman emphasized, that expresses the highest intellectual capabilities. For Prof. Friedman, the slogan “Everybody is somebody” sums up the values of mutual respect and recognition that societies need to stand up for and live by. “Human dignity is inviolable” is easy to say, but the words need to be backed by action so that minority groups can feel safe and secure.

In his closing remarks, Prof. Friedman underscored the importance of getting involved rather than simply standing by. His personal history, and the rescue of parts of his family during the Shoah by Oscar Schindler, has taught him the valuable lesson that the actions of one person can make a difference and save lives.

An active question and comment session followed Professor Friedman’s presentation, and demonstrated how thought-provoking the evening was for all the participants.

OFER FOHRER, MINISTER FOR ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AT THE ISRAELI EMBASSY TO THE UK

A SPECIAL Q&A EVENT AND CHANUKAH CANDLE LIGHTING

On the 10th of December, Israel Bonds celebrated the first night of Chanukah with an event welcoming Ofer Fohrer, Minister for Economic Affairs at the Israeli embassy and head of the Economic and Trade Mission to the UK at the Israeli Embassy in London.

The event began with the lighting of the first candle on the chanukiah by our company accountant of more than 30 years, Simon Amroussi.

Afterward, Mr Fohrer described to the group of fifty participants the economic strides that Israel has taken in the year 2020 and gave a preview of plans for 2021.

CHIEF RABBI OF FRANCE, HAIM KORSIA

CANDLE LIGHTING ON THE FIFTH NIGHT OF CHANUKAH

On the 14th of December 2020, on the occasion of Chanukah, Israel Bonds had the honour of welcoming by video conference the Chief Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, for the lighting of the fifth candle.

Rabbi Moshe Lewin, Director of the Conference of European Rabbis and Special Advisor to the Chief Rabbi of France, as well as Pastor Luc Henrist, also graced us with their presence and greetings.

Rabbi Korsia recalled that the miracle of Chanukah has been celebrated for more than 2000 years because Judaism and Israel carry a message of unity and hope on a daily basis. He stressed the importance of the Mazel Tov bonds, which he described as a symbolic link and support to Israel.

Nearly seventy people connected in a very warm and interactive atmosphere, which ended by everyone joining together in song.