It was an honour to again join thousands of Thornhillers and supporters of Israel from across the GTA in participating in the 47th annual Walk with Israel.
Thanks again to the UJA Federation sponsorship, and to the dozens of sponsors and close to 20 thousand folks who turned out for the annual event.
I conveyed greetings from the interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition in Parliament. At the same time I passed on Rona’s farewell as her interim leadership comes to an end this week. But I was also clear that, whoever emerges this coming weekend as Leader of the CPC, he or she will certainly continue the party’s unequivocal and enthusiastic, principled support for the Jewish Community and the State of Israel.
Israel’s Consul General to Toronto, Galit Baram told the crowd that it was heart warming to see such a huge outpouring of support for Israel in Toronto. “Democracy, multiculturalism and minority rights are just a few things Israel and Canada share in common. We appreciate the strong support Canadian government is giving to Israel.”
This year’s Walk aimed to raise over $450,000 towards transformative projects in Israel, 100% of which will go directly towards agencies in Israel that are partnered with the UJA, including programs which support Israel’s Ethiopian community, hospitals, universities, job creation and youth employment in Bat Yam, Eilat and Sderot.
In recent years, UJA has focused its partnership on Sderot, a city which came to symbolize Israel’s remarkable resilience. Located just one kilometre from the Gaza Strip, it has been under relentless attack by Hamas terrorists who fired thousands of missiles from Gaza into Israel. The Sderot program was created in order to improve performance of students at school, to encourage community activism and involvement, enable youth to succeed, and encourage young adults to get a college education and well-paying jobs. Last summer, additional emphasis was placed on helping residents of Sderot cope with the trauma of rocket attacks and the conflict with nearby Gaza.