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EGM 2020 - Celebrating 100 Years of WIZO

In a grand show of global sisterhood, nearly 1,000 WIZO leaders and members from around the world are arriving in Israel for the movement’s quadrennial Enlarged General Meeting (EGM), celebrating the organization's century of work for Israel's society and its 100th birthday

January 16, 2020

WIZO Opens Centennial Year with International Women's Conference in Israel

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January 19-23, 2020 – Hilton Hotel, Tel Aviv

More than 1,000 Jewish women are expected to arrive in Israel this January to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization) as they attend the EGM (Enlarged General Meeting) 2020, an international conference convened by the organization to promote WIZO's contributions to Israeli society over the last century.

The EGM kicks off a year of centennial celebration events for the organization which will be held in Israel and around the world throughout 2020. The EGM will feature senior politicians, ambassadors mayors, leaders of Zionist institutions, leading women from the economic, social and security arenas, philanthropists, media personalities and more. Conference participants will arrive from 40 countries around the world including the US, Australia, the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, India, Panama, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Monaco, South Africa and more. The conference attendees represent a vast network of tens of thousands of WIZO volunteers worldwide.

The WIZO EGM 2020 is convening to discuss key issues on the agenda of the Jewish people and society in Israel, including advancing the status of women in Israel and Zionist institutions, the state of Israel in the world, reducing gaps and promoting populations at risk, deepening the connection between the younger generation in the Diaspora and the State of Israel, and more. At the conference, WIZO will also approve its policy for the coming years in the fields of education, welfare and the status of women. During the course of the EGM elections will be held for the World WIZO Executive.

The EGM will be held from January 19-23 and will open with a festive event in Jerusalem to mark 100 years of WIZO's work in education, welfare and the status of women. Graduates of WIZO institutions will also participate in the program, sharing their life stories and expressing their gratitude to WIZO for saving or changing their lives. Participants include a young woman who spent her childhood in a WIZO shelter for battered women together with her mother, a counselor in the police cadet training program of the WIZO Nir HaEmek Youth Village, where she began the program as an at-risk student, and more.

The WIZO chaverot (members) at the EGM will take part in a wide range of discussions and workshops on the status of women in Israeli society in the face of social phenomena of sexual harassment and gender inequality, leadership development, dealing with rising anti-Semitism and public awareness of Israel, the economic and social challenges facing Israel today, and more.

The WIZO leaders will visit WIZO projects that benefit from the support of WIZO Federations around the world, including schools and youth villages, shelters for battered women and violence treatment centers, day care centers, WIZO's "warm homes" for teenage girls, emergency centers for at-risk children and more.

Among the initiatives WIZO is promoting for Israeli society in the framework of the centennial events is the distribution of study scholarships for at-risk youth. Some of the scholarships will be distributed at the conference on behalf of the Michal, Yitzhak and Harela Moda'i Scholarship Fund. Michal Moda'i, the fourth President of World WIZO, set up the foundation in memory of her husband, Yitzhak Moda'i and their daugher Harela, who was killed in a car accident. After her death, her name was added to the scholarship fund. The scholarships will be awarded by members of the Moda'i family.

At the conclusion of the conference, WIZO will publish a list of implementation decisions regarding the support of Jewish communities worldwide in the State of Israel and WIZO's activities for needy populations in Israel.

Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, World WIZO Chairperson: "WIZO was founded in 1920 by a group of strong women who decided it was time to fight for women. Today, 100 years since our founding, we have accomplished amazing achievements, but we are still struggling daily to improve women's rights, to improve the status of women, to promote the welfare of disadvantaged populations, and to educate our children. WIZO's display of women's power conveys a clear message about WIZO's centrality to society and to the centrality of women in making change for the better. "

WIZO - the largest social organization in Israel, works to promote the status of women, to educate children and youth and to improve the welfare of disadvantaged populations. Established in 1920 as a Zionist women's movement as a result of lack of sufficient representation for women in Zionist centers and for the purpose of helping women and children in the Jewish community in Israel. As a Zionist movement founded before the establishment of the state, WIZO established the first education and welfare services in Israel, and was a very significant body in the nascent society: WIZO established the first day care centers, founded the first "Tipat Chalav" (A Drop of Milk) baby clinics, the first youth villages and carried out all the vocational training for women in Israel. WIZO also established the first and only women's political party in Israel.

Today, WIZO operates in over 40 countries around the world through tens of thousands of volunteers who support the organization's activities in Israel. WIZO is the leading provider of education and welfare services to the Israeli government through the operation of over 800 institutions and services: 183 day care centers, 8 schools and youth villages for youth, 40 legal bureaus, dozens of single-parent women's centers, 3 domestic violence prevention centers and 2 battered women's shelters , emergency centers for children at risk and more. In 2008, the Israel Prize was awarded to the WIZO movement, in collaboration with the Na'amat and Emunah women's organizations, for their special contribution to Israeli society.