NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Susan and Isaac Wakil Israel Tour participants meeting with Australian ambassador to Israel, Paul Griffiths (centre).

The Australian Jewish News
October 7, 2022

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) Susan and Isaac Wakil Israel Tour recently returned from a week in Israel.

The delegation included a diverse group of young professional non-Jewish Australian leaders, from fields such as media, politics and government relations.

Participants were given an insight into the complex geopolitical tensions in the region and shown the diversity of Israeli civil and religious society. It was led by JBD director Gabi Stricker-Phelps, accompanied by ZFA public affairs director Bren Carlill and JBD COO Lauren Alagh.

The group received briefings from Israeli and Palestinian diplomats, politicians, academics, and civil society activists. They also visited religious and cultural sites across the country.

Megan Lane, director of communications and government Affairs at CyberCX and a former Labor adviser, called the trip “eye-opening”.

“This visit has left me with a greater appreciation for how civil society and the ongoing conflict have and continue to shape each other – a perspective only possible because of the incredible candour and generosity of our hosts and partners,” she said.

“The enthusiasm Israelis have for their country is infectious. It’s clear that Israel’s best days are ahead of it.”

Jacqui Munro, vice-president of the NSW Liberal Party and president of the NSW Liberal Women’s Council, said, “What I have loved most about this trip is the ongoing invitation to ask questions.

“I was inspired by the experts we met, who generously shared their nuanced perspective, gumption and commitment to progress for the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.

“What is an incredibly complex political situation, threatening the safety of millions, can only be better understood through honest dialogue, good faith engagement and the courage to listen.”

Stricker-Phelps told The AJN, “This tour was so important in the context of rising misinformation on social media about Israel.

“I am so grateful to the Wakil Foundation for supporting this vision and enabling us to run a tour that amplified various aspects of Israel and its resilient society.”

JBD CEO Darren Bark said the JBD was pleased to host the tour. “These missions provide a rare and invaluable insight into Israel, debunking misinformation and giving participants a true understanding of the situation on the ground.

“We look forward to hosting further visits.”