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LIVE BLOG FROM SAFI CONFERENCE

LAST POST 13h21 - SAJR Online is posting live blogs from the event as well as pictures. Join us and follow the conference. You can follow proceedings, have conversations with other users or the delegates and see pictures. Users can also ask questions of the delegates...
by ANT KATZ | Mar 07, 2014

South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) is a movement that promotes inter-faith dialogue between the South African Jewish community and the broader South African community.

  • As with any live blogging, users have to accept that speed is often given preference over accuracy and that typographical errors can and will occur.
  • Similarly, it is important to note that this blog is a paraphrasing of what is said – as against a verbatim account. Anything that is, in fact, verbatim will be denoted within quotation marks or inverted commas.
  

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Israel - Dont

>>>>> POSTED 13h21 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The conference has broken for an hour’s lunch break, after which four optional workshops will be held:

  • "Reconciling Biblical Israel with Modern day Israel" – led by Chris Eden, national director, Bridges for Peace
  • "The State of Christians in the ME, Asia and Israel" – led by Jason (no surname provided) of Open Doors
  • "Connecting African Communities and Governments with Israeli Community and Government – the History, the Need and the Possibilities" – led by Olanipek, CEO of the Institute for Christian Leadership Development
  • "Engaging Political Platforms on Israel’s Narrative" led by Zev Krengel, president of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies.
     

>>>>> POSTED 13h00 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Anti-Israel bias Across the Globe, Moving Beyond Advocacy and Forging New Conversation" – Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman, head of the World Zionist Organisation’s department FOR Diaspora Activities and Herzl Centre.

She gave and spoke to an incredibly interesting PowerPoint presentation which SAJR Online will attempt to obtain and post this week, along with the video of her speech.

A vibrant Q&A session followed between the audience and the three panellists which ran well over its time.

Howard’s closing:

"It falls to me to sum up – we’ve all listened so there is no need to sum. The heroes are not the people on this podium but you in the audience."

Howard takes out his cell phone, an Israeli invention, and takes a picture with technology developed in Israel.



 

>>>>> POSTED 12h34 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Session 2: "ISRAEL – A LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS – AFFECTING CHANGE FOR THE BETTER"

First speaker - Mr Itai Melchior, head of trade and economics at the Embassy of Israel in SA. Itai’s speech will be shown in full on SAJR Online in the week to come.

Prof Skornick (SEE MORE BELOW), opened with thanks to the SA community for their contributions to MDA. Sadly, says Skornick, Israel’s wars have made it one of the most adept countries at dealing with trauma. He says Israel is open to share its expertise. It has assisted in Haiti after the earthquake and still maintains a trauma centre there and operates on Haitians in Israel.

SAFI H2HFirst-responder and mass casualty training, provision of ambulances in other countries like Sri Lanka, Azerbajan, India, South Africa, Indonesia and others - many of them Moslem countries.



Skornick also launched the MDA-SA initiative called Heart2Heart – a system of virtual blood donation that MDA-SA will be rolling out from the conference.

 

>>>>> POSTED 12h05 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

SAFI HowardPicture shared by Howie Sackstein, moderator of the next session – it captures the mood during the waving of Israeli flags in the previous session.

 

More pictures from Rod Mazinter:


SAFI Rod 3


Right: The Shemba Church delegates arrived a little late and were cheered when the speaker recognised them.







SAFI Rod2



LEFT: Some of the delegates from the Impact for Christ Ministries which is in the process of making a $1-million donation to update the SA-built, ‘50s-era MDA-SA built medical centre. Watch SAJR Online next week for the full story. MDA UK are joining the initiative and adding $600,000 to add on a trauma centre.




 
 
 

>>>>> POSTED 11h45 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Delegates enjoying a social tea.

The following pictures were submitted by Cape Fed vice-chair Rodney Mazinter from conference:

SAFI Rod Mazinter




Right: A part of the contingent of Israeli students in SA to support the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) in their activities on campuses around the country in the coming week of IAW.

 
 
SAFI Rod Mazinter1



LEFT: SA Zionist Federation (Fed) national vice chair Reeva Forman closes the first session entitled "SA Action for Israel"






>>>>> Posted 11h20 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"A New Vision for Israel and South African Relations" – Olga Meshoe, member ACDP and daughter of Rev Dr Kenneth Meshoe, ACDP Leader

Olga, too, delivered a most astute position as a Christian Zionist and spoke of the new SA pro-Israel organisation Deisi. This speech, too will be published in its entirety.

In closing the Session, moderator, SAZF vice-chair Reeva Forman, thanks Luba Mayekiso and the other speakers.

Videos of all these speeches will be posted on www.SAJR.co.za in the coming week.



>>>>> POSTED 11h02>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Dispelling the Apartheid Myth of Israel" - Abel Zimani, Pastor, Impact for Christ Ministries

Pastor Zimani gave a very emotive and powerful speech which SAJR Online will publish in its entirety. The Pastor had the floor on their feet several times waving Israeli flags and cheering.

"A Platform for African Support for Israel" – Sam Gordon, national director, Africa Israel Initiative

Another powerful and well-accepted speech that was widely cheered and applauded and which SAJR Online will publish in its entirety due to the incredibly cogent content and arguments made.

>>>>> POSTED 10h20 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

AVROM KRENGLE – Chair, SAZF

 

IAW 14 Dry BonesDelivered a very powerful and punchy speech to huge applause.

In essence, Avrom’s message was that the battle against the Israel Apartheid lie is to beat it in SA.

We need to persuade our government to use our the way we solved our problems in this country and share our skills with all parties in the ME.

We want SA leadership to understand that SA, maybe more than any other country in the world, can assist in peace-making.           

 

JONATHAN SILKE – Chair, SAZF

 

IAW - don't supportIsrael has charmed the world in the face of adversity.

As much as 50% of UNGA time in the early days was dedicated to tiny Israel

To Jewish people Zionism is not a movement of the Jewish people.

Today Israel is a great success story with a modern society –

Israel’s social cohesion is stronger than ever before – yet in SA we are faced with a BDS that demonises Israel.

Success in parliament last week, IAW, Lawfare

We have to be pro-active – we are moving into a new mode in which we will have a joint strategy and proactive policies

Israel is working with China and India

Attempts to deligitimise Israel has singularly failed in this country.

>>>>> POSTED 10h03 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Lenk Arthur Ambassador - LONGAmbassador Arthur Lenk – I was supposed to be in Israel today with the King of Swaziland. The MFA staff are on a domestic Israeli strike. I shouldn’t be here. But I couldn’t let friends of Israel gather without being here with you

2013 was a disaster for BDS:

  • They broke up a concert, it was rescheduled
  • They said NoBama, he came, twice!
  • Dan Zamir sold out, students shouted "Shoot the Jew"
  • Scandal at Rhodes – forced to pay her out – a couple of weeks later the VC left his job
  • Political Parties in parliament watered down "CT Declaration" – Sherylynn Dudley singled out.
  • Israeli students here to support IAW – to bring a message of peace

    BDS in SA fewer followers on Facebook than the Israeli Embassy, SAFI has 53,000 on Facebook!

BDS is insignificant in SA

We have an event in September – Africa for Israel – we are going to fill a stadium. I have visited 8 of the 9 provinces of SA.

 What are Israel’s intentions?

  • We are trying to make peace, we have done so with two (Egypt and Jotdan), We are trying to make peace in an impossible neighbourhood
  • We are the Innovation Nation
  • We are trying to share Tikkun Olam with the world. We are working with farmers in SA (in line with chap. 6 of the NDP) – we are doing it.
  •  If you want to be in hi-tech, if you want water purification projects, we want to help
  •  If Israel has to do so, We will defend ourselves. We intercepted a shipment of long distance missiles from Iran to Gaza.

Trade and tourism, there is excellent room for growth. We have a great story to tell.

>>>>> POSTED 09h47 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Isla Felman is MC. Opening prayer.

Ben Swartz, convener, welcomes: HE Ambassador of Israel Arthur Lenk, leadership of ACDP, MP of IFP, FF and Avrom Krengel, Fed chair, Ben Levitas chair of Cape Fed, members of DA and ANC,

Guests from overseas, Rabbi’s, Pastors, people from Israel, Ghana, Camaroon, Zambia, Congo, Mauritius and others.

Apologies from Chief Rabbi (in Israel) and others.

This event started two years ago and we managed to bring together 100 people – today we have over 150 Christian orgs. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

We are here today to offer the aspirations and intentions of orgs such as 2 Churches alone represent 20-million SA Zionists who express their love and support for Israel.

The familial relationship between Judaism and Christianity. We have been part of the silent majority. We don’t need to be silent anymore. The majority of SA stands in love of Israel.

People will ask how we measure our success. Next year, SAFI hopes to be 300 orgs, the following year 600.

Netanyahu: "Israel is an Island of hope. Israel is not what is wrong about the ME. Its about what’s right in the ME."

This conference was planned 6 months ago. Co-incidental that it falls day before IAW.

We have distributed a declaration. Get to understand it. We will be giving this to govt.



>>>>> POSTED 09h29 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The venue is suddenly filling up. SA time is slow and Jewish time is slower. The conference was supposed to start at 9am. There must be at least 300 seats here. It is now 09h16 and 100 are seated, 100 are fressing and 100 are gathered around the entrance. Sound like an SA Jewish function?

I am sitting next to Fed deputy head Rod Mazinter and a host of young, mainly black Israeli students out for IAW. I love their confidence.

Several overseas delegates were introduced to me – one being keynote speaker Professor Yehuda Skornik – here is something about him that I did for the SAJR print edition this week:

Pre-eminent Israeli Medic visits SA

Eminent Israeli medical Professor Yehuda Skornick arrives in SA on Friday to deliver the keynote address at a Zionism event on the weekend.

He will also deliver speeches at both Wits and UCT during IAW. Prof Skornick has published over 1,000 medical papers, is the immediate past president of MDA Israel, he is Israel’s appointed member (ambassador) to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

He has also founded - and funds - two Yeshivot in Tel Aviv in memory of late father-in-law.

Prof Skornick was also head of the surgery department at Tel Aviv Medical Centre for over 20 years.

Skornick is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society of Cancer Research. He is also a member of both the European and American Societies of Surgical Oncology. He will be hosted in SA by MDA-SA chairman Mark Hyman and his wife Beula.

Skornick, who is Dati, has a tight schedule, but for the benefit of anyone who wants to meet him or hear him speak, his itinerary will be as follows:

Skornik Professor Yehuda He arrives on 7 March and will be davening at Glenhazel Shul at Yeshiva College with Rabbi Tanzer, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and Juerg Eglin (the head of mission for the International Committee of the Red Cross in SA).

On Saturday morning he will be at the Mizrachi Shul in the morning and will attend Mincha at Northfield Shul.

RIGHT: PROF SKORNICK

On Sunday he will deliver the keynote address at the SA Friends of Israel advocacy conference and will launch the Heart to Heart initiative in SA.

On Monday 10 March Prof Skornick will tour Soweto in the morning before delivering a talk to students at Wits on the first day of Israel Apartheid Week.

On Tuesday morning he will be speaking at a business breakfast sponsored by Citidal and Perigrine – while in the evening he will speaking to Hatzolla and Netcare executives at Hatzolla.

On Wednesday morning he will travel to Cape Town for a lunch with community organisations and invited VIPs after which he will address students at UCT before flying back to Johannesburg.

On Thursday morning Prof Skornick davens with the Yeshiva College boys and will deliver a Shiur. He flies out on Thursday evening.

Just delivering the Sunday keynote and the two IAW campus groups would be a full schedule for a week-long trip – but this is one visitor who plans to make good use of his time and meet as many members of the community as possible.

>>>>> POSTED 08h30 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As can be expected, there has been frenetic activity by conference organisers since I arrived at 07h45

One of the highlights of success of the past two South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) Israel Advocacy Conferences was bringing together those in the Jewish community working on Israel advocacy, with Christian communities who share this passionate to promote Zionism.

Reports from SAJR Online users, a growing number of whom have followed the websites’ live blogs in the past, indicate that they are followed in two separate ways. Some prefer to log on every now and then to catch up, while others leave the page open and simply refresh (push the F5 button on your keyboard) the page from time to time.
 
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Users are encouraged to join the conversation by:

  • Posting comments below;
  • Engaging with one-another; or
  • Posting questions to any of the speakers.

SAJR Online undertakes to either ask your question at today’s conference and posting the answer, or, where not possible, to e-mail users’ questions to the speakers and get and publish answers after the event.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

SAJR Online will be posting live blogs from the event as well as pictures and a twitter-feed just visit

www.sajr.co.za on Sunday and the info will all be there for you.

Israel - dont LONGYou will be able to follow proceedings, share tweets, see pictures and even ask questions of the delegates.

SAFI was started in 2012 in response to the continued anti-Israel invective that has become the byline of political parties, civil society, NGOs, churches, individuals and the media. From its small beginnings, it has grown exponentially to become a body that embraces all people, irrespective of their colour or creed, who support Israel, who accept that God gave Israel to the Jewish people as their home, and who are prepared to stand up against radical fundamentalism which seeks to delegitimise and demonise both Israel and the Jewish nation.

On 9 March 2014, the second SAFI Israel Advocacy Conference will be held, presenting a miscellany of excellent and experienced speakers, each presenting a different focus on the topic of inter-faith, pro-Israel advocacy. There will be both religious and secular opinions; professional and personal; factual and emotional. Among the topics under discussion will be Christian Support for and Understanding of Israel; Dispelling the Apartheid Myth of Israel; Innovation-Israel the Start-Up Nation model; Heart to Heart; Reconciling Biblical Israel with Modern Day Israel; The Position of Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Israel; Connecting African Communities & Governments with the Israeli Community and Government

Everyone who is anyone...

Among those attending, some of whom will be addressing the crowd, will be Bishop Phakama Shembe of the Shembe Church and many of his followers: Olga Meshoe, daughter of ACDP leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe; Thuli Makhene of the Pastors Ministers Prayer Network; DA Councillor Darren Bergman; Prof. Yehuda Skornik, Professor of Oncology at Israel’s Tel Aviv University; Mbovane Boniswa and others of the Africa Israel Initiative; a delegation from Impact for Christ Ministries; Chris and Cecilia Eden of Bridges for Peace; Deputy Israeli Ambassador to SA Michael Freeman; Luba Mayekiso and a delegation from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; Reverend Albert Mbenga-Ukulangai; representatives of Congo For Peace Without Borders; representatives of the Vuka Africa Foundation; the Christian Friends of Israel; the Africa House of Prayer; Christians for Peace in Africa; the Institute for Christian Leadership Development; and others.

IAW2During the course of the day, delegates will be signing a Declaration which is to be launched at the Conference.

SAJR has pleasure in inviting you to join this ground-breaking Conference from anywhere in SA or the world THIS SUNDAY.

SAJR Online will also have daily coverage next week of the efforts of SA Zionists and Jewish students to combat IAW and get the real true message out there. We have SAUJS correspondents on as many campuses as they have branches. So stay tuned.

A dedicated ANTI IAW WEBSITE (check it out) will also be updated daily. SAJR Online’s own library of VIDEOS is carrying messages to be used.

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