From our Chief Executive – May 2017

For our Yom Haaztmaut celebrations yesterday, we were honoured to have the acclaimed Israeli singer and activist Rona Kenan in London. Hearing Rona perform and discuss how her art and her activism interact was, at least for me, a relevant and powerful way to mark Israel’s 69th birthday. Rona’s music and her longstanding activism on peace, human rights and LGBTQ issues are rooted in her deep commitment to Israel. In conversation, one theme she draws on is looking back to move forward. It reminded me that not losing sight of Israel’s founding aspirations is not a nostalgia but rather a call for a better future. This is a powerful call, on this Yom Haatzmaut, to not lose sight of Israel’s goals. Sixty-nine years ago Israel proclaimed its independence with these words: The State of Israel “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants”. NIF’s commitment to this vision remains strong and it continues to drive our work.

Rona’s commitment to these values and speaking up for them has drawn the ire of the same extremists who tried to disrupt the Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony. Sadly as we come next month to mark 50 years since Israel’s victory in the 1967 War and what came after it, these attempts to drown out voices of peace and tolerance are likely to grow. We in the UK have a role to play, providing the vital support and resources for those Israelis fighting for Israel’s founding values. I am proud that NIF continues to play this crucial role.

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