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WIZO’s Major Function this year was a successful event that was well enjoyed by all who attended.

Our high profile guest speaker, Mr Moshe Bogie Ya’alon, attracted a wide range of guests to the function who all braved the wild weather to join us, including the Israeli Ambassador Mr Shmuel Ben-Shmuel who attended from Canberra.

It was an ambitious endeavour to partner with The Joint Australia for our 2016 Major Function and one that proved to be well worth the effort and hard work by both organisations. WIZO and The Joint Australia have a shared dedication to breaking the cycles of poverty in Israel and a mutual commitment to cultivating the best possible future for our Jewish Homeland.

Anat Vidor, President WIZO NSW and Eva Fischl OAM, President The Joint Australia are two strong and passionate women who each delivered powerful messages on the night outlining the importance of the work we do in Israel.

The warm, calm and sophisticated ambience in the room made it difficult to believe that a storm raged outside. With wet umbrellas neatly tucked under tables our guests relaxed and enjoyed a seamless evening where each and every detail was attended to. Vivien Fainerman and Talia Kaplan from Mount Sinai sang the national anthems beautifully followed by a creative sand artist who depicted the importance of family and community through his dynamic artwork.

Bogie, who resigned as Defence Minister in May this year following an extensive military and political career, brought us messages in his speech that were both confronting and comforting.

When Mr Ya’alon took the stage he started by expressing his personal gratitude to WIZO as both his grandchildren attend a WIZO Day Care Centre and he knows firsthand the high quality of care they receive. He also acknowledged the Sydney Jewish Community and said that even though he has travelled extensively and met with Jewish communities throughout the world, we as a community are unique and have much to be proud of.

Mr Ya’alon covered the extent of the security challenges facing Israel on each and every border yet even as he outlined the confronting details of the hostility with Egypt, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Hamas, PLA and Dash he simultaneously expressed an undeniable and clear confidence in Israel’s ability to deal with these challenges. Bogie brought home the impact of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on the Palestinian people by describing how the closure of the Soda Stream factory in the West Bank due to the BDS led to over 1000 Palestinian people losing their jobs.

Mr Ya’alon shared his experience of standing on the Golan Heights and looking to Lebanon to see the smoke and bombs of a nation at war, and looking to Israel to see the green fields of a productive and forward moving nation. A clear and telling image which served to generate pride in our beloved Israel.

In line with WIZO’s goals to secure Israel by strengthening her people, Mr Ya’alon outlined how the social welfare issues in Israel are impacting her security. It is becoming increasingly expensive for soldiers from the low socio economic areas to complete their service in the IDF as more frequently the day to day living needs of these soldiers, such as groceries, need to be provided in order for them to train and fight. These amongst other social challenges are becoming problems that effect Israel’s security.

Mr Ya’alon presented a practical and sensible point of view and the evening was an excellent opportunity to listen to someone who is highly regarded across the political spectrum and who may be the next Prime Minister of Israel.

At the conclusion to his speech Bogie affirmed “It is the head and the heart of the Jewish people that makes the State of Israel strong. Am Yisrael Chai.”

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