WIZO's annual Meeting of Representatives under the slogan: WIZO – Israel's Best Ambassadors, will discuss how to confront rising anti-Semitism in Europe and anti-Israel attacks in the wake of Operation Protective Edge.
Also attending the meeting will be local authority heads and hundreds of kibbutz residents from the settlements surrounding Gaza, who were given refuge in WIZO youth villages throughout the hostilities.
Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of the World WIZO Executive says: “Jewish communities in the Diaspora are dealing with a harsh reality that threatens both their security and their everyday lives. As well as their activities in support of Israel, these communities must constantly contend with the delegitimization and demonization of the State of Israel. We salute them for their determined endeavours.”
Two hundred WIZO leaders from 25 countries – among them the USA, Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Mexico, South American nations, India and others – are due to arrive in Israel for the World WIZO AGM. The participants, who are Presidents of WIZO Federations worldwide, represent the Organization's 250,000 members overseas.
The meeting of World WIZO leaders takes place annually in Israel to discuss pressing issues facing the Jewish people and Israeli society, and to formulate the Organization’s policy of support for Israel in coming years. The AGM also provides a forum to approve both existing and new projects, promote the status of women and address such matters as domestic violence, education and support for children and youth at risk.
The slogan of this year’s meeting is WIZO – Israel's Best Ambassadors and heading the proceedings will be Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of the World WIZO Executive, alongside the Executive Committee. The meeting will take place on January 18-22 at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. Local authority heads attending from the south of Israel will include Alon Shuster, Head of Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council; Yair Farjun, Head of Hof Ashkelon Council; and others wishing to pay tribute to WIZO’s support for southern residents during Operation Protective Edge in July-August 2014.
Two main subjects will come under discussion at this year’s Annual Meeting: Firstly, measures that WIZO can undertake to help and support children and youth in the south who for many years have suffered from the effects of the security situation in the region. During the course of the meeting, WIZO women will tour kibbutzim in the area, so that they understand, at first hand, the special requirements of those populations and to approve rehabilitation projects for children and youth, especially those at risk. During the hostilities of 2014, hundreds of families from the south were offered accommodation and a safe refuge at WIZO youth villages in other parts of Israel. This was made possible thanks to the support of WIZO Federation members, and at the AGM the southern residents will have an opportunity to express their appreciation.
The second principal topic on the table is finding ways to contend with rising anti-Semitism around the world, and especially in Europe, further to Operation Protective Edge, and the important role of Jewish communities in defending Israel’s status and image. WIZO representative from all over the Diaspora report a sharp increase in anti-Israel attacks at various events and in the world media, as well as actual attacks of physical violence. Effective PR tools are needed if such attacks are to be countered and accordingly the AGM will conduct workshops and hear lectures from experts in the field.