December 27, 2000
By Gil Hoffman
(December 27) - Jewish Agency Chairman Sallai Meridor slammed Prime Minister Ehud Barak's reported plan to cede control over the Temple Mount and parts of Jerusalem, saying it endangers the capital of the Jewish state.
"The Jews of the world did not dream for generations about about Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, or Netanya," Meridor told a Jerusalem conference of immigrant leaders. "They dreamed about and prayed to only one place, and that is Jerusalem. In these days when Jerusalem is in danger, because there are those who do not feel a connection to the city, we have to say, 'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning.'"
Volunteer leaders of some 100 immigrant organizations and projects participated in the conference, the goal of which was to encourage cooperation among the organizations and to train a new generation of leaders among the immigrants.
"The conference succeeded in bringing together new and veteran immigrants to assist each other and help create a more civil society," Immigration Absorption Minister Yael (Yuli) Tamir said after addressing the immigrants.
Event organizer Bella Goldberg, from the Shiluv organization that helps immigrant organizations integrate into society, said that by working together, the immigrant leaders will be able to take better advantage of available resources and make sure they are not duplicating their efforts.
Kafkaz Immigrant Organization Chairman Yonatan Mishev said the conference helped his organization learn from other organizations that help immigrants from the former Soviet Union how not to make the same mistakes.
"Volunteering is important because it's easy to say how bad something is, but it's a lot harder to go out and do something about it," Mishev said. "I decided it was important to me to become one of the doers and not the talkers."
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