“YOU have something special in your community,” Israeli Minister for the Diaspora Omer Yankelevich told NSW Jewish leaders after being given a “virtual tour” of the community via Zoom earlier this month.
Fresh from an all-night-long budget session at the Knesset, Yankelevich virtually toured Moriah College, The Great Synagogue, the Sydney Jewish Museum, JewishCare and the Youth 2 Israel (Y2i) project. The tour was hosted by the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA).
Prior to the tour, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Lesli Berger outlined the roof body’s role in political advocacy and fighting antisemitism and the role JCA plays in funding and planning for the community.
“Quite frankly if it wasn’t for having that centralised fundraising body, which coordinates fundraising for those organisations and makes sure they’re accountable in terms of how they are spending money, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies wouldn’t be able to operate the way it does,” he said.
UIA NSW president Andrew Boyarsky explained how the organisation acts as “the major bridge of connection that exists between our local community and Israel”.
Yankelevich was impressed at the conclusion of the tour.
“I was very happy to meet your beautiful community,” she said.
“I’m very moved and impressed … It is obvious even through the Zoom what a strong and special community it is.”
She said the organisations featured “paint a picture of a rich [communal] life” in Sydney.
“It is inspiring to see how you care for all your members, the Holocaust survivors and people with special needs,” she added.
ZFA CEO Ginette Searle commented, “It’s a shame that we weren’t able to show the Minister the Opera House, or more fully introduce her to the Sydney community, but I was really pleased that this virtual tour occurred.
“We look forward to welcoming her to Australia once this pandemic is over.”
Yankelevich was first elected to the Knesset for Blue and White in April 2019 and was appointed to her post in May this year.