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Desk of Esther

After 2000 years of exile and the Holocaust – the Jewish People have a safe haven – that is celebrating its 70th Independence Day

WIZO President Esther Mor wishes everyone a happy Yom Ha'Atzmaut

April 18, 2018

To Presidents and Chairpersons of World WIZO Federations

Dear friends, 

The number 70 is very significant for the Jewish People, making Israel's 70th Independence Day even more special. Atzmaaut (Independence)  starts with the letter  ע that carries a numeric value of 70. The overall theme for Israel’s 70th is “Heritage of Innovation,” drawing upon Israel’s successes as the Start-Up Nation and the cutting-edge technology developed locally.

Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations will continue for three day, beginning with  a torch-lighting ceremony,  the evening of Wednesday, April 18. The 14 torch lighters represent all sectors, and tell the story of Israel'si society

Shlomo Artzi, son of Holocaust survivors, a musician, composer and songwriter.

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yeshayahu (Shayke) Gavish a senior officer in the Palmah and in the IDF. He is one of the founders of the IDF and of the Palmah Museum, will light a torch together with a representative of the IDF to symbolize the defense of the State of Israel from 1948 to 2018.

Racheli Ganot, an ultra-Orthodox hi-tech CEO of Rachip, which acts towards integrating ultra-Orthodox women in the hi-tech industry.

Capt. (res.) Noam Gershoni, a fighter pilot wounded in the Second Lebanon War who won a gold medal in tennis at the Paralympics in London in 2012.

Margalit Zinati, is part of an ancient Jewish family that has been preserving the Jewish community in Pki''in continuously since the days of the Second Temple. (I wrote about her in my report on the Zionist Council in March)

Sheikh Mawafak Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druse community in Israel. He is continuing the path of his grandfather who forged the blood pact between the Jews and Druse in Israel

Prof. Marcel Machluf, Dean of Biotechnology and Food Engineering and head of the Lab for Cancer Drug Delivery & Cell Based Technologies at the Technion.

Aviezri Fraenkel, a pioneer of computer science in Israel; part of the team that built “WEIZAC"; one of the architects behind the Global Jewish Database at Bar-Ilan University. In 2014 his grandson Naftali Fraenkel was one of the three youth who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas.

Leah Koenig, Israel Prize laureate and HaBimah Theatre actress will light a torch together with actor and director Ze’ev Revach,

Dr. Avshalom Kor, a known radio personality, who aims to bring the proper use of the Hebrew language to every household in Israel.

Mai Korman a high-school student with a hearing disability, who developed a unique patent to prevent parents from forgetting their children in the car.

Israel is a brilliant tapestry of ancient and modern, historic and contemporary. It is a melting pot of Jewish communities from all over the world that have all contributed to the creation of a new Israeli culture. Israel has one of the most advanced armies in the world, and our brave soldiers protect our beloved land and people at all times.

The constant threat to Israel, only makes us more determined to guarantee that after 2000 years of exile and the Holocaust – the Jewish People have a safe haven, an anchor and a compass – pointing to Israel and our one and only capital - Jerusalem.   

WIZO women have been with Israel every step of the way, even before its establishment. Indeed, women have always played a significant role, as is evident from a letter Israel's first Prime-Minister David Ben Gurion wrote to the active women's organizations, two months before the establishment of the State of Israel. “I think the appointment of a woman to the government is a great privilege and one that is also a duty for the Yishuv,”(The Jewish community in Eretz Israel prior to Independence). “It seems to me a duty of honor not only toward our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, who bear the burden of building and shaping the image of the Yishuv, but also toward the wider world and our neighbors. In the government there is a flag – the flag of freedom and equality,”

We are all proud that WIZO Israel Chairperson  Rachel Cohen-Kagan was a member of  "Moetzet Ha-am" (the People's Council) and, in 1948, was one of only two women to sign Israel's declaration of independence (the other was Golda Meir), Rachel also served in the first Knesset (1949-1951).

Furthermore, many WIZO social initiatives eventually became the foundations of national services that we all enjoy today. WIZO’s relevance and strength stem from its ability to constantly adapt to the changing reality in Israel. Moreover, in times of crisis, WIZO volunteers take part in the national effort. WIZO also built the first Missile and Rocket proof DCC in Israel, in Sderot. In 2008, on Israel's 60th Independence Day, in recognition of its work, WIZO received the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement & Special contribution to Society and the State. Every WIZO volunteer, donor and supporter share in this prestigious prize.

But WIZO does not rest on its laurels, as there is still too much work to be carried out.  WIZO will continue providing equal education to babies, children, youth and women; promoting gender equality and advancing the status of women in Israel on multiple levels, preserving the Jewish and Zionist identity, education and culture in Israel and in the Diaspora; strengthening the bond between the people of Israel and the Jewish Communities all over the world and absorbing new olim - for the glory of the State of Israel - Le'tiferet Medinat Israel. Yom Atzmaout Sameach


Warm regards,


Esther Mor,
President, World WIZO