US delegates meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, attend groundbreaking for a new day care center.
Leaders of NA’AMAT USA joined representatives of the organization from Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Belgium, Argentina, Uruguay and Israel last week for the first NA’AMAT International Solidarity Conference in Israel. The delegation, led by national president Elizabeth Raider, were special guests of the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin during the conference’s opening session on February 10. Raider addressed the group on behalf of NA’AMAT USA.
President Rivlin welcomed the representatives. “The State of Israel has always been committed to the value of equality,” he said. “In the Declaration of Independence, our leaders committed themselves to the complete social and political equality for all citizens of Israel, without distinction of religion, race or gender. And when we promise something we then must be committed to working hard to deliver on our promises.
“You, the women of NA’AMAT have always supported the State of Israel, and dedicated so much to the welfare of the citizens of Israel. You were always proud Zionists, even in times when people were afraid to show public support for Israel. Moreover, your support helped, and still helps us, to ensure that we live up to our promises and that we keep alive the symbiotic connection between Israel’s Jewish and democratic identities.”
Raider thanked the President and the First Lady for the opportunity. “Our countries may be separated by oceans, but our goals, our work and hearts are as one in providing continued support and expanded programs and services of NA’AMAT in Israel,” Raider said. “Together we all strive to ensure that the promise of a brighter future for all Israeli citizens is a reality.”
Attendees at the 7-day conference also took part in groundbreaking ceremonies for a new day care center in Beersheba, a project co-sponsored by NA’AMAT USA in memory of its past national president, Alice Howard, as well as a dedication ceremony for a new day care center Karmiel. NA’AMAT sponsors over 250 daycare centers for 18,000 children across Israel.
Other highlights included a day at the Glickman Center for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence; a special evening in the Ayanot Youth Village, one of NA’AMAT’s boarding schools; and a day in Jerusalem.
Delegates discussed key issues confronting Israel, women and families, and NA’AMAT’s role in meeting those challenges. For members of NA’AMAT USA, the conference provided an exciting opportunity to experience the fruits of the organization’s efforts to promote gender equality and to help women with childcare, legal and family issues, domestic violence, and employment issues.
“It impresses me that 125 NA’AMAT delegates from the Diaspora would clear a week from their schedule and arrive at their own expense for a solidarity conference with the NA’AMAT movement in Israel,” Galia Wolloch, president of NA’AMAT Israel told The Jerusalem Post. “These are women who feel a deep commitment to the Zionist enterprise and work for the welfare of women, children and families in Israel.”
The NA’AMAT International Conference was followed by a two-day meeting of the World Zionist Organization, which included representatives of leading Jewish organizations worldwide. NA’AMAT national president Elizabeth Raider and national treasurer Debra Kohn served as delegates. National fundraising vice president Janet Gurvitch and Judith Sokoloff, editor of NA’AMAT Woman magazine, attended as observers.