AN Australian karate champion was presented last week with a prestigious award for immigrants to Israel.
Nefesh B’Nefesh chose Danny Hakim as its outstanding immigrant of 2019 in the field of culture, arts & sports.
Hakim was selected for the Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Prize for his charitable work. He heads Budo for Peace and Kids Kicking Cancer, organisations that help more than 2500 children every year.
Budo for Peace brings children from diverse backgrounds – secular and Charedi Jews, Arabs and others – together for martial arts programs. Kids Kicking Cancer provides weekly classes for children, both inpatient and outpatient, in the mind-body techniques found in the martial arts.
“I was elated when I heard that I had won this award,” Hakim told The AJN.
As well as running two charities, Hakim also sits on the boards of the Alliance for Middle East Peace, an umbrella organisation for groups that bring Jews and Arabs together. And since 2017 he has been running an annual bicycle ride that pays tribute to Anzac soldiers who fought in World War I, following some of the routes they took.
Hakim is a two-time world karate silver medallist, who made aliyah from Sydney in 2003. He said that his award is “very timely because of what is happening in Israel”, elaborating: “The election campaign was very extreme and there is a lot of disunity in Israel right now. My work is exactly what is needed in the sense that it brings different people, communities and minority groups together.”
He said, “We are in a real crisis, we’re split down the middle, and Israel needs to be more unified.” Hakim said he feels that his organisations are helping to heal the rifts, and said that he is determined to fundraise in order to increase the number of youngsters who are benefiting from them.