SAZF media alert: Press Statement

New “Kibbutz centre” opened in KZN 

16 February 2017

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) on Wednesday the 15th February 2017 hosted the official launch of the Project TEN Centre in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. The launch was officiated by the famous human rights activist Mr Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, alongside with Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa Mr Arthur Lenk. These dignitaries visited the various projects the Centre is in partnership with and interacted with the communities. Today Mr Sharansky will meet both Jewish and Christian community leaders in Johannesburg, in efforts to consolidate the Federation’s work in South Africa and fortify the growing outreach between various communities in the country. He will also focus on the application of Israeli developmental techniques and how they are relevant in the South African context.

The launch of the new Project TEN centre highlighted its inspiring work in South Africa. The centre is an exciting apolitical initiative proudly supported by the local partners the SAZF, Israel Centre and the Victor Daitz Foundation to impart life-changing skills and values to the indigent communities around Durban. The centre’s activities are based on the key Jewish tenets of Tikkun Olam (repairing of the world), volunteerism and charity work. A vibrant group of young Jewish adults from around the world carry out the centre’s important work on a daily basis, enabling them to play a role in addressing  the challenges facing South Africa’s less fortunate citizens and truly embrace what it means to be an active global citizen within a Jewish framework. So far the centre has partnered with local NGO’s: the Domino Foundation, which administers schools, day care centres, and children homes, and the Dennis Hurley centre which serves underprivileged communities in Durban.

A brief background on Sharansky

Natan Sharansky has headed The Jewish Agency for Israel, the largest Jewish non-profit organisation in the world, since 2009. Born in Donetsk, Ukraine, he was imprisoned by Soviet authorities in 1977 for his human rights activism and his desire to immigrate to Israel. Following a global campaign calling for his release, he was freed after nine years in prison and immediately flew to Israel to be reunited with his wife, Avital. He was later elected to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and served as a senior minister in several Israeli governments, rising to the position of Deputy Prime Minister. The author of three bestselling books, Sharansky has been awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, one of very individuals to receive both of the highest civilian awards of the United States. In 1990, he met with Nelson Mandela at Mandela’s request, and the two compared their experiences of imprisonment for their activism. Upon Mandela’s passing in 2013, Sharansky recalled their meeting: “Nelson Mandela was able to transform an armed campaign into a peaceful struggle for human rights. In so doing, he succeeded in building bridges and fostering cooperation where such ties had previously been unimaginable. I was struck by his ability to see beyond the immediate goals of his efforts, pursuing the brighter future he wished to see for all South Africans”.

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