Australias delegation of 27 joined women from 32 countries for 4 days of discussion and celebration. WIZOs pre-eminent position in the life of Israel was acknowledged by speakers ranging from Shimon Peres to Tzipi Livni and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Delegates farewelled the outgoing World WIZO President, Helena Glaser, and welcomed the new President, Tova Ben Dov, together with the new Chairperson, Dr Rivka Lazovsky.
Women of all ages, and from countries as diverse as India and Switzerland, took new inspiration and energy home to continue the task of Creating a New Tomorrow in Israel.
Cocktail Reception and WIZO Australian Tour 2012
The pre conference tour began with a Cocktail party at the Residence of the Australian Ambassador to Israel, Ms Andrea Faulkner. This was attended by many of the World WIZO Executive as well as our delegation.
Day one began with a visit to WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim our special residential boarding school on the Carmel Mountain in Haifa We have put an opening/ closing roof on the basketball court, built an acoustic shell for assemblies and performances, built the House of Dreams, renovated all three dormitories, doubled the size of the Pet Therapy area and most recently built a hothouse so the children can take part in gardening therapy. Last year we opened a special dormitory, Ahuzat Ha’aktana (Mini Ahuzat) housing 15 children from 7-11 who have had to be removed from their families.
We visited the Korsunsky Youth Centre at Kfar Saba which has a small well equipped library, gym room, computer room and a main hall all of which has been renovated by WIZO Australia. The centre is the lifeblood of the kids who attend, who otherwise would have nowhere to go after school.
We visited the Chorley Day Care Centre in Ra’anana. This DCC, which is one of Australia’s projects has 74 children ranging from babies from 3 months to children 3 years and older. The centre looks after the children from 7.30am to 4.00pm and like all our DCC’s first entry is for children at risk, followed by children from single parent families and if places are still available for children whose parents work full time.
The tour visited The Rae and Tom Mandel Womens and Childrens Centre in Modiin in central Modiin which is used as a base for a large number of womens activities. One of the functions of the centre is to support the Op Shop attached to it.
Thursday began with a visit to the Raya Jaglom Day Care Centre in central Tel Aviv. This is a Multipurpose Day Care Centre which means that one of the classes attends from 7 am to 7 pm, with the children given hot meals, showers and counseling for parents if there are problems at home. We were honoured to have Raya herself accompany us. She is 92 years old with an amazing story.
Then we visited the Shikun Mizrach DDC which is located in Rishon Le Zion which has 77 children and saw the renovated baby playground together with the new paths and fences and stroller area.
The WIZO Enlarged General Meeting 2012
The WIZO Enlarged General Meeting was held in Israel in January 2012. The Conference was both impressive, significant, and conferred about major issues which are facing Jewish communities around the world and the society in Israel. Hundreds of WIZO representatives, from around the world, Jewish leadership from over 40 countries took part in discussions including Israel’s image in the world, the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, the status of women in light of the social phenomenon relating to the exclusion of women from the public arena and gender inequality, ways in which to improve the financial resilience of Israel and others. Special attention was paid to the status and image of Israel on the world stage and the important task of Judaism in the Diaspora when coping with the challenges of public relations.
Public figures, economists and numerous politicians took part in the Conference -Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, and Silvan Shalom, Minister for the Development of the Galil and the Negev, opened the Conference which was also addressed by Yuli Edelstein, Minister of the Diaspora and Hasbara,M.K. Tzipi Livni, Chairman of the Opposition, and other Knesset members. Major General Amos Yadlin, the Head of the Institute for Defense Research, Danny Gillerman, Past Israeli Ambassador to the UN, and others.
The climax of the Conference was the election of Tova Ben-Dov as President of World WIZO and Rivka Lazovsky as the Chairman of World WIZO.
This was attended by 27 delegates from Australia.