May 25, 2011 / 21 Iyar 5771
Landmark events in the United Kingdom and United States showcase MAKOM and Israel Campus Fellows
New York, May 25, 2011 - In the past week, both the United Kingdom and the United States have hosted major Israel-centric events, each prominently featuring Jewish Agency work. While in the United Kingdom, the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) held its annual conference drawing and galvanizing more than 1,500 supporters of Israel from throughout the country with the Agency’s MAKOM program playing a major role, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had its largest gathering ever, with more than 11,000 Israel supporters converging on Washington, expressing appreciation for the advocacy work of the Jewish Agency Israel Campus Fellows at Hillel.
At the BICOM event, in addition to a keynote address by Natan Sharanksy, Chairman of the Jewish Agency and former Soviet dissident, the Agency’s MAKOM, Zionist educational program, played a significant role in both the organization and content of the conference. MAKOM, an Israel engagement initiative of the Jewish Agency, develops content and empowers Jewish educators, activists and community leaders to develop deep, innovative and honest programming. Recognizing that not all supporters of Israel have the same views, MAKOM challenges Israel’s supporters to both struggle with and embrace the vibrant complexity of Israel and the Jewish people today.
Directly stemming from the successful BICOM conference and demonstrating the importance of pluralism in the Jewish community which is the hallmark of the Jewish Agency, MAKOM convened a unique educational session for the educational leaders of the British Jewish Community. Participants came from all streams of Jewish religious practice and from major organizations such as the London Jewish Community Center, Limmud UK, UJIA and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
At the AIPAC conference, where the speeches of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanayu were in the spotlight, the Jewish Agency Israel Campus Fellows program received prominent attention. 12 Israel Fellows from campuses across the country attended the conference and shared their experiences on how to educate and advocate for Israel on college campuses. Two Fellows were recognized and received significant awards for their work on campus at AIPAC’s Campus Award Dinner. Nimrod Barnea, an Israel Fellow at the University of North Carolina (UNC), won the “AIPAC Ally of the Year” award, acknowledging his hard work and leadership with the students at UNC and for creating a pro-Israel group on campus. Josh Khan, an Israel Fellow at the University of Florida, won the prestigious Duke Rudman Annual Leadership Award for Israel activism on campus.
The Israel Fellows program places outstanding young Israelis on key campuses to serve as North American college ambassadors to the campus community. The program is a collaborative effort between the Jewish Agency for Israel and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Currently operating on 34 campuses, a recent gift by the Adelson family will fund the expansion of the program to include 50 campuses.
Director of Communications