Sunday, 21 August, was no ordinary day for Zionism Victoria as we hosted the exclusive Australian launch of Rabbi Dov Lipman’s book, An ‘American’ MK, Behind the Scenes in the 19th Knesset, followed by an engaging panel on modern Israel.
During the book launch, Rabbi Dov Lipman, former Member of Knesset for Yesh Atid Party and Director of Public Diplomacy at World Zionist Organization, shared his experiences as Israel’s-only American-born MK.
From leaving the comfort of his home in the US, learning Hebrew and joining the Israeli political circles to passing laws on improving the lives of visually-impaired people, fighting against religious extremism, supporting animal rights and becoming one of the leading figures in the area of Israeli public diplomacy, Rabbi Lipman’s journey inspired the audience to support Israel and advocate on its behalf.
Participant Fay Kingsley said, “Rabbi Lipman’s personal example reminds us of the tremendous impact of aliyah from English-speaking countries. His talk encouraged Jewish unity and highlighted the significance of diplomacy work we should all do in our own capacity.”
The book launch was followed by a compelling panel called Israel Today – Conflicting Views. Moderated by Jeremy Leibler, Honorary Secretary of Zionism Victoria, the panel featured Rabbi Dov Lipman, Liat Cohen Raviv, Senior Director, Diller Teen Fellows International, and Uri Levin, Shaliach, Progressive Judaism Victoria.
The panellists discussed public diplomacy, religion and state, Jewish identity of younger generations and the differences between the American and Australian Jewish communities.
“Everyone can do something special for Israel, and the Australian Jewish community is a testimony to that,” said Rabbi Dov Lipman. “It’s my first time in Australia, and I am very excited to see so many people to be involved in Zionist activities.”
Panellist Liat Cohen Raviv added, “In order to build a strong connection to Israel, we have to present a realistic view of the country with imperfections and difficulties like any other. It’s our responsibility to educate the community about Israel’s strengths, uniqueness, beauty but also, its challenges.”
Panellist Uri Levin, Shaliach, Progressive Judaism Victoria, said, “Getting immersed in experiences developing Jewish identity is crucial. Of course, we can’t expect that one solution will work for all, but we have to continue involving the diaspora community to make Israel relevant in their lives.”
Sharene Hambur, President of Zionism Victoria, said, “Rabbi Dov Lipman’s book launch and our thought-provoking discussion on modern Israel created an opportunity for insightful discussions. We look forward to hosting many more events bringing together the diverse points of view of our community.”
To see a complete video of the Israel Today panel, please click here.
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