Friday, March 27, 2009


David Horovitz came to the UK for a 2 day speaking tour which included a ZF event with Kinloss Shul, speaking to City of London Boys School, an Israel Connect Event a Breakfast briefing and a ZF reception.
David  spoke about the contrast between the invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and the recent Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. In 2006 the government was over-confident and the Chief of Staff – who was from the Air Force – overestimated what could be achieved from the air. In 2006 there was not enough food and equipment for the army.  In Gaza the situation was much better. The operation was well planned with a day by day timetable (which included the retaking of Gaza but that was rejected by the Cabinet). The incidence of rocket fire has been much reduced.
He moved to the portrayal of the operation in the foreign media. The Guardian and The Independent are the most hostile newspapers in the world. The Guardian had given an op-ed to Khaled Mashal four months before Hamas violently put down Fatah in Gaza.  The Independent had run Israel-bashing front pages for two successive days. David Horovitz also expressed incredulity that Ahmadinejad had been asked to give the alternative Christmas message on Channel 4. He noted that the Islamic world had not reacted when Israel attacked six mosques in Gaza, suggesting that they appreciated that Hamas was using them as military sites.  He thought that Israel did not have enough presence in the media in the UK. He said it was a mistake to ban Western media from Gaza. The IDF spokesperson Avi Benayahou was good but he did not see advocacy in the international press as important.
He moved to the election. There were 34 parties for 7.5 million people, including one party that was a coalition of Holocaust Survivors and ‘Legalise marijuana’. The threshold for representation was 2%. The electorate had moved to the ‘right’, they said they wanted a Palestinian State but that the Palestinians were not yet ready. David Horovitz thinks a broad coalition including Kadima is needed.
H spoke about Iran and about how serious the threat is - many are very pessimistic saying for example that far from being a deterrent, ‘mutually assured destruction’ is an inducement for the Iranian regime.

In the wide-ranging Q+A sessions David Horovitz was asked how he had voted. He declined to answer because he wanted to position the Jerusalem Post in the middle ground. When it was the Palestine Post it was linked to Labour. Then with Shamir it moved to Likud. Now it is not linked to either side.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The ZF is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Sakol as Assistant Director of the Zionist Federation. The Zionist Federation was founded in 1899 and helped create support for the establishment of the State of Israel.  Today we promote Israel's case and defend our common future.

Gary is also director of the ZF’s young professional branch ‘Israel Connect’, which organises cultural, social, educational and advocacy events relating to Israel, as well as tours to the country. The group is comprised of young professionals ages 20-35 from across Europe who wish to take a proactive stand in support of Israel.

Gary, originally from Glasgow and a graduate of Leeds University, has worked for two years at the youth movement Habonim Dror, where he served as Camps Organiser and Mazkir. He said: “I was always involved in the work that Israel Connect and the Zionist Federation did whilst I was a movement worker, and am absolutely delighted to become part of the team behind it. This is an extremely exciting time to be joining the organisation.”

Alan Aziz, the ZF’s Executive Director, said: “This past year has seen a huge increase in the ZF’s activities in support of Israel. Gary has done a great job developing the Israel Connect group, and we look forward to having him more involved in the ZF”

For more information about the Zionist Federation or Israel Connect, please email or call 020 8343 9756.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Yesterday, Israel proudly celebrated International Women's Day - in contrast to the Arab world.

In recent years, women have made notable advances in Israeli society. For example, over 50 percent of doctors qualifying in Israel are now women. In the recent Knesset elections, a party headed by a woman (Kadima) garnered most votes and a record number of twenty-one women (including Arab women) were elected to the Knesset.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday: "Even though Israel is proud of the accomplishments it has made towards the advancement of women, there is still much to be done, including putting an end to violence against women, trafficking in women and discrimination in various fields. We still need to struggle to ensure women gain complete equality in the workplace."


The Israeli public has voted for a Jewish-Arab duo to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest in May.

Achinoam Nini, a Jewish singer better known outside Israel as "Noa," and Mira Awad, a Christian Arab Israeli, will perform a peace song. They received the most votes in text messages from the Israeli public after a contest was held on Israel's state-owned Channel One television.

The song has lyrics in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Awad has been criticized by some Palestinians, both for singing with a Jew and for being a woman. Fundamentalist Islamists have banned singing by women.

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition in which countries across Europe and beyond participate and is one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world. This year's Eurovision will be held in Moscow.

Awad, 33, who was born in the Galilee and now lives in Tel Aviv, appeared to enthusiastic reviews in a popular Israeli television sitcom last year. She will be the first Arab to represent Israel at Eurovision. Arab Israelis have previously represented Israel at Miss World and other competitions.