Gilad Shalit attends B'nai B'rith Europe Young Jewish Adults Forum in London at World Center invitation
Gilad Shalit, the 26 year old former Israeli soldier who was released one year ago after spending over five-and-a-half years in Gaza incommunicado after being abducted by Hamas in a cross-border raid in October 2006, traveled to London on November 15 as guest of honor of the sixth annual B'nai B'rith Europe Young Jewish Adults Forum (YJAF).
B'nai B'rith World Center director Alan Schneider, who extended the invitation to Shalit and accompanied him during the visit, traveled with him from Israel together with childhood friend Ben Drori. Shalit's visit to London began only a day after one of his principal captors - Hamas military head Ahmed Jabari - was killed in an IDF air raid following incessant Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilian population centers.
B'nai B'rith World Center co-sponsors consultation on Mainline Protestant Churches and the State of Israel
Consultation’s Opening session
On Nov. 5-8 the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem co-sponsored a consultation with twenty Christian pastors, laymen, activists and intellectuals from the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Dutch Reform, United Church of Canada and other Christian denominations to discuss anti-Israel attitudes that have infused Mainline Protestant Churches over the past 20 years or more.
The consultation was co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity as part of the activities of the joint World Center-Ecumenical Fraternity "Liaison Committee" forum.
The purpose of the consultation, which has been in the planning for three years, is to create a bridge of understanding between the State of Israel and these denominations and affect the biased positions they have adopted regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, in consultation with individuals who have shown their support for Israel in the past.
The participants are currently formulating a joint concluding declaration as a point of departure for future activities.
Shocking testimony regarding the plight of Christian communities in the Middle East at World Center Seminar
Raymond Ibrahim address
Shocking testimony about, murder, forced conversion, abductions and other gross human rights violations inflicted on Christian minorities in the Middle East was presented on Nov. 8 at a symposium sponsored by the B'nai B'rith World Center and the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity under their joint “Liaison Committee” forum.
The title of the symposium, held in cooperation with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, was "The Present and Future of Christians in the Middle East".
Over one hundred people attended the session that focused on the dislocation and violence by Muslims targeting Christians in the Middle East – a long-running phenomena that has increased since the Arab Spring.
The symposium exposed the predicament of Christian minorities in Iraq, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Pakistan, Lebanon and other countries in the area and the implications for the State of Israel.
Guinat receives Jewish Rescuers Citation
B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider presented a Jewish Rescuers’ Citation to Lili Guinat (89) on Oct. 25 for her heroic efforts rescuing Jews in Vichy and occupied-France during the Holocaust. A Jewish Rescuers’ Citation was also presented posthumously to her late husband Dr. Eitan Guinat.
Lili and her husband operated within the framework of the MJS organization (Mouvement de la Jeunesse Sioniste) of which Dr. Guinat, known by his nom de guerre “Toto,” was one of the founders and leaders. MJS was one of the most important organizations in rescue operations of Jews during the war, arranging hiding places for thousands of Jewish families and saving many hundreds of children through escape routes to Switzerland and Spain.
MJS also provided false identity papers to many thousands of Jews, enabling them to escape persecution by French authorities. Many children, now organized in a group named Les Enfants Cachés (The Hidden Children), owe their lives to this organization.
A number of MJS members were caught by French collaborationists and handed over to the Germans for interrogation and execution.
B’nai B’rith World Center coordinates B'nai B'rith International Corporate Leaders Mission to Israel
Israeli President Shimon Peres
The first B'nai B'rith International Corporate Leaders Mission to Israel concluded on August 22 after a four-day intensive program of meetings and site-visits in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The meeting was led by B'nai B'rith International president Allan J. Jacobs and executive vice president Daniel S. Mariaschin. Participating corporate leaders included the chief executive officer of a major multinational company, the head of a large medical products firm and the chief executive officer of one of the country's major hospital neworks – all of whom have been honorees of B'nai B'rith. B'nai B'rith World Center chairman Haim Katz, Ph.D., and director Alan Schneider also participated.
Meetings were held with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Daniel Shechtman, Teva President and CEO Dr. Jeremy Levin, Jerusalem Venture Partners founder and CEO Erel Margalit, YESHA Council Chairman Dani Dayan, Ministry of Health Director General Prof. Roni Gamzo, Israel Parks Authority Director for International Relations Salman Abu Rukun, IDF Field Hospital Commander Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin and Deputy National Security Advisor Dr. Eran Lerman, among others.
Former Israeli Ambassador to Vatican: Joint World Center-Ecumenical Fraternity body "spearhead in Jewish-Christian relations in Israel"
Ambassador Mordechay Lewy
The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem and the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel convened on September 4th the seventh meeting of their joint "Liaison Committee" - an informal Jewish-Christian initiative reconstituted in 2010 to foster better mutual respect and understanding between local Jews and Christians in a congenial atmosphere and as a platform for raising and resolving issues that impact on both communities. the meeting was dedicated to a presentation by Ambassador Mordechay Lewy, ambassador of Israel to the Holy See, who completed his tour of duty - and his 37-year diplomatic career - just two days earlier.
Ambassador Lewy's candid lecture on “Israel-Vatican and Jewish-Catholic Relations Today and into the Future” was followed by a lively Q & A and discussion session led by Ecumenical Fraternity director Rev. Dr. Petra Heldt among the participants who included leading Jewish and Christian academics, municipal officials, journalists and institutional representatives.
B'nai B'rith International Honorary President Moishe Smith - a member of Jewish Agency Board of Governors Board committees and Extended World Zionist Organization Executive – represented B'nai B'rith at JAFI and WZO meetings held on October 28-31 in Tel Aviv.
Over the four-day parley Smith participated in meetings of a number of Board committees including Small Jewish communities; Holocaust restitution; Unity of the Jewish People and a Task Force on Anti-Semitism.
The Board also approved JAFI's 2013 budget of $315m (reflecting a cut of $20 from 2012) and held a session on the Iranian threat. The Extended Zionist Executive heard in-depth reports on the organizations' expanding activities in Israel and the Diaspora.
B'nai B'rith World Center director Alan Schneider, coordinator of the B'nai B'rith International WZO/JAFI Committee, also participated in the meetings, attending the launch of a new JAFI Task Force on outreach efforts to Israelis living abroad.
Captain Avi Cohen with B'nai B'rith Haifa
The B’nai B’rith Fire Scouts Clubhouse, located at Haifa's central fire station, was officially opened for activities at a July 30 ceremony.
The clubhouse was built at the initiative of the B’nai B’rith World Center in memory of 16-year-old fire scout Elad Riven, the youngest of 44 Prison Service guards, policemen and firemen killed in the December 2011 Great Carmel Fire.
Participants in the ceremony included Haifa Region Fire Department Chairman Brig. Gen. Rami Dotan, Elad’s mother Tzvia Riven and three representatives of B’nai B’rith Israel: Nitza Niv, Chair, B’nai B’rith Haifa Regional Council, David Sirton, Deputy Chair, and Ilana Sirton, Mentor, Nitzanei Haifa Lodge.
The ceremony marked completion of the outfitting of the clubhouse and its transfer to the use of the fire scouts. B’nai B’rith invested $80,000 in the project from funds raised after the blaze by the B'nai B'rith Israel Emergency Fund and B’nai B’rith Europe. The clubhouse includes space for meetings, training and recreation.
The B'nai B'rith World Center was charged with implementing aid projects following the Carmel Fire. Shortly after Riven’s tragic death, the World Center learned that Haifa Region Fire Scouts officer Captain Avi Cohen had long dreamed of a dedicated clubhouse for the use of the fire scouts in Haifa - a project that allows teenagers to volunteer with fire departments across the country.
The World Center and the Haifa Region Fire Department cooperated closely for a year and a half to steer the project to fruition and realize Captain Cohen's dream.
B'nai B'rith World Center
The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem is the hub of B'nai B'rith International activities in Israel. The Center serves as the key link between Israel and B'nai B'rith members and supporters around the world.