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Friedman’s First Public Speech Since Appointment as Ambassador to Israel

United States Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman delivered the keynote address at the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem’s Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage. This marked Friedman’s first public speech since his appointment.
Friedman talked about Jewish unity in his address: “B’nai B’rith is perfectly situated to help lead this effort, because in 1843, when B’nai B’rith was founded there was no Israel and Diaspora, no religious and non-religious, no Orthodox, Conservative, reform. In 1843, we were just a bunch of Jewish people who were desperate for advocacy and help, for sustenance and guidance. It is not a time we want to go back to but the spirit of B’nai B’rith when it was formed without judgment, without conflict, without checking people’s Hechsher, but just saying that we are all in this together and with just a wish to help advance the interests of the Jewish people—that is the spirit that is so needed today.”
The ceremony honored Yaniv Pohoryles, home page editor and writer for the Jewish World section of Ynet, on June 27 in Jerusalem.
Pohoryles was chosen for a series of nine articles published over the course of 2016 that covered Jewish communities in the U.S. and France, Jewish demography, Israel-Diaspora relations, Jewish sportsmen, fundraising, Aliyah and Kosher food in the Diaspora, among other topics. Pohoryles studied political science and international relations at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was chief editor of the student newspaper, The Donkey’s Mouth. He later wrote for Globes, Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth.


​A special citation for fostering Israel-Diaspora relations through the arts was conferred upon Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza. The citation was established by the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem in 2014, and has been conferred upon Nurit Hirsh (2014), David D’Or (2015) and Idan Raichel (2016). Broza has appeared before countless Diaspora communities, groups and organizations during a career that has spanned more than 40 years. His original songs and passionate performances are cherished throughout Israel and the Diaspora, offering a common language and point of reference for Jews of diverse backgrounds. A powerful musician, dedicated peace advocate and music industry innovator, Broza awes and inspires audiences with his sincere message and musical allure.
“The result of my 40 years of wandering between Jewish communities around the world is that I have been able to experience the fabric of these communities. We have to maintain contact with Diaspora Jewry also when this relationship becomes strained and also during periods when it is easier for them to disengage. But the fact that you are there makes it more difficult for them to disengage. The indelible connection between the Jewish communities around the world and the Zionist concept is something that breathes kicks, invites, embraces and at all times is intriguing. This connection is direct and unstoppable,” Borza said at the ceremony. 


The ceremony also memorialized former jury member Bambi Sheleg, who died last year. B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Chairman Haim V. Katz, Ph.D. opened the event.
Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism has recognized excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora-Jewish communities and on the Israel-Diaspora relations in Israeli print and electronic media. The award is widely recognized as a prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry and was established to help strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. It also highlights the important contributions the media can make toward strengthening the relationship between Israel and world Jewry—so essential for the resilience of both—by encouraging quality reporting on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations. 
The distinguished members of the journalism award jury were: Yehudith Auerbach, professor at the School of Communications, Bar Ilan University; Sergio DellaPergola, professor at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University; Sallai Meridor, international chairman, Jerusalem Foundation, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, former chairman of the Zionist Executive and Jewish Agency; Gabriela Shalev, Higher Academic Council, professor at Ono Academic College and former Israel ambassador to the U.N.; Yair Sheleg, columnist at Makor Rishon; Asher Weill, publisher and editor of ARIEL-The Israel Review of Arts and Letters from 1981-2003.
The B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism is named for the late Wolf Matsdorf and his wife Hilda. Wolf Matsdorf was an editor of the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Journal “Leadership Briefing” and a journalist in Israel and Australia. Hilda Matsdorf was a pioneer in social work in both Australia and Israel.
The award is made possible through donations from World Center International Board of Governors member Prof. Daniel Schydlowsky (Lima, Peru and Washington D.C.) in memory of his parents Luis and Trudi and Mr. Peter Matsdorf. 

Click here for an audio recording from the event and to read media coverage.