Walk Raises $350,000 for Bat Yam



By: DAN VERBIN AND ELAD BENARI  
Published: June 1st 2010
in News » Local

Toronto's Jewish community walks with Israel
Pic: UJA Federation
Toronto's Jewish community walks with Israel
Pic: UJA Federation

This year’s 42nd annual Walk with Israel began with a unique and historic launch featuring a who’s who of speakers that culminated in a speech by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the first Israeli PM to visit Canada in almost two decades.

 

Prominent community member Julia Koschitzky gave opening remarks at the Ricoh Coliseum, calling Sunday morning’s opening a “once in a generation event, the kind our children and grandchildren will never forget.”

 

Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, Miriam Ziv, said that she was “deeply moved by the energy in the building.”

 

She commented that Toronto’s Walk with Israel is the second largest walk in the Diaspora.

 

She said that she feels fortunate to work alongside the community in Canada, a generous group that is always willing to do more. She added that there has been a strong relationship between the Diaspora and Israel ever since the Jewish State’s founding in 1948. “Each needs and depends on the other.”

 

She commented on the large turnout, saying that the presence showed “incredible solidarity.” The Ambassador quoted Hillel: Do not separate yourself from the community.

 

According to Ziv, the challenges Jews face as a people are great but our bond is greater. Furthermore, she said that all the community members, politicians and officials present at the launch send a message to the world: “We are strong in faith and spirit and we will continue to defend the state of Israel.”

 

Alan Winer, Chair of UJA of Greater Toronto, thanked Ziv as well as Israeli Minister Yuli Edelstein who also spoke. He also thanked all the politicians from various levels of government for being there.

 

Toronto is a “city of people who truly understand tzedakah and tikkun olam,” he said. “Your generosity allows us to truly transform thousands of lives each year.”

 

Next up, Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, welcomed Netanyahu on behalf of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

 

“I am delighted to extend greetings to everyone participating in this Walk with Israel,” stated McGuinty, adding that all Ontarians benefit from the contributions of the Jewish community to Canadian life.

 

Hoskins called the walk a “laudable cause,” saying, “While we are citizens of Canada, we also are citizens of the world.”

 

The Minister accompanied McGuinty on his recent trip to Israel and he told the audience that he was “impressed at Israel’s many accomplishments.” He visited Bat Yam during his trip – the money raised by the Walk is going to the children of Bat Yam, a city with a large population of Ehtiopian immigrants that faces many challenges, including high unemployment, subpar living conditions and an education system that needs lots of help – and said that “UJA is making a remarkable difference in Bat Yam” with very meaningful results.

 

Peter Kent, Thornhill MPP and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Americas, also spoke.

 

“I am honoured to be bringing greetings on behalf of the government of Canada and a man who always walks with Israel, Prime Minister Stephen Harper,” said Kent.

 


Related articles: (Walk with Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, UJA Federation)

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