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Keren Hayesod-UIA’s Worldwide Mission

One of our essential tasks at Keren Hayesod-UIA during wartime is to increase awareness abroad and among Diaspora Jews about the situation in Israel. For us, every meeting or event, even if not directly related to the war, receives mention or comprehensive reference to what the country’s residents experienced on October 7 and the price they have paid and continue to pay. Since the beginning of 2024, we have held many worldwide events and conferences and arranged unique visits to Israel. At every event, the 134 hostages kept in merciless captivity in Gaza were at the forefront—women children, infants, and men—civilian and IDF soldiers alike. The sense of urgency is as poignant as ever, and numerous worldwide events are scheduled for the coming months.

Below is a summary of some of the events from the beginning of the year:

On January 31, Baron Eric de Rothschild hosted the annual “Rothschild Lunch,” bringing together 40 prominent donors of Keren Hayesod Switzerland at the Rothschild Bank to discuss Israel’s challenges. This year, we welcomed Mrs. Dana Azrieli, Chairwoman of the global Azrieli Group, as the keynote speaker. In her inspiring speech, Mrs. Azrieli shared her journey to Israel and her engagement in Israeli society and outlined her vision for the “post-Swords of Iron” war era. Among the attendees were Baron de Rothschild, Israel’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Ms. Yifat Reshef, Steven Lowy AM, Chairman of the KH World Board of Trustees, and Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod-UIA, as well as the President of Keren Hayesod Switzerland, Claudia Scheiner, and Mrs. Nadia Gute Biasini.

Also on January 31, a meeting was held in Paris between the Executive Bureau (BE) members and Steven Lowy AM, Chairman of the KH World Board of Trustees, and Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod-UIA, at the residence of Dan Serfaty, Co-Chairman of Keren Hayesod France.

On March 3, we organized a Keren Hayesod-UIA tour for a delegation of 45 volunteers from France. Throughout the day, they visited the Gaza border area region, witnessing some of the sites where the October 7 massacre occurred. The group held a brief memorial ceremony at the site of the Nova Festival in Re’im. Later in the afternoon, they visited an absorption center in Ashdod, meeting young Olim (immigrants) from France and hearing Monica’s story, who tragically lost her son in the Nova Festival massacre. To conclude the day, they visited the Hostages Square in Tel Aviv.

Michal Uziyahu, Eshkol Regional Council

Also on March 3, Approximately 1,000 community members gathered in Australia for the annual UIA Victoria Gala event during the first week of March. At the event, the participants displayed strong emotions and unity with the people of Israel. The theme of the event was “Rebuilding the Dream,” during which memorial candles were lit, and empty chairs were left symbolically for the citizens held captive, awaiting their return. Among the esteemed guests were Major General Doron Almog, Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, and Michal Uziyah, Head of the Eshkol Regional Council, and Dafna Admati, who survived the October 7 massacre in Beeri, who delivered speeches emphasizing the importance of the connection between the Australian community and Israel.

At the annual Zurich event, held on March 7, approximately 300 people attended, exceeding our usual numbers. This time, guests from communities that had yet to attend Keren Hayesod-UIA events were present. Furthermore, the middle-aged demographic, aged 40 to 50, which typically does not participate in such events, showed incredible solidarity by attending and generously contributing.

Also on March 7, Dina Nathusius, long-standing member of of Keren Hayesod-UIA Women’s Division in Guatemala, held an important meeting at her residence in Guatemala City with 80 guests in attendance. At the event, five new “Lions of Judah” members joined the group of now 19 Lions of Judah in Guatemala alone—an impressive achievement indeed. One of the unique aspects of the event was the combination of the formal ceremony with humorous segments that followed, under the theme of “Life Goes On” and “Not Surrendering to Terror.”

Another notable and emotional event was held in Monaco on March 11, attended by 140 esteemed participants. Enrique Zimmerman participated in a joint prayer for the return of the captives.