Mount Arbel is the latest Israeli landscape by Ulster-based artist Rachel Quirey.
Various groups of Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, have been visiting Northern Ireland to learn about our experiences of conflict and peace. Kids 4 Peace; Women Wage Peace and the Jerusalem Institute were all in Belfast, hosted and guided by Rev Gary Mason of Rethinking Conflict.
Women Wage Peace with host and guide Rev Gary Mason in Belfast.
Jerusalem Council woman Fleur Hassan addresses NIFI
The leader of the opposition on Jerusalem city council, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum visited Belfast as part of a tour organised by the Zionist Federation. Fleur spoke to a well attended meeting of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel and met political representatives from different parties. She paid a courtesy visit to her opposite number at Belfast City Hall, deputy Lord Mayor Emmet McDonagh- Brown; met Arlene Foster and William Humphrey of the DUP; Steve Aiken of the Ulster Unionists and John Blair of Alliance.
From Ulster with love
Ezra Northern Ireland representative, Jim Clint, has collected and loaded the first secondhand clothing container to ship directly from Belfast to Haifa. Around 400 large boxes of good quality clothing, shoes, plus duvets and pillows are to be distributed to needy Russian immigrants arriving home to Israel. Christians from two local fellowships in Northern Ireland have been collecting items for the last six months and two dedicated woman’s groups have also been knitting items of clothing for babies and children.
Boxes Packed: Jim Clint arranges Aid to Israel.
Stormont Packed to celebrate Israel 70
The Great Hall, Parliament Buildings was filled to capacity for the special Celebration of Israel’s 70th Anniversary by the Irish branch of the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem. Malcolm Hedding ICEJ International Spokesperson and Paul Givan MLA were the main speakers.
A special greeting was read out from His Excellency Mark Regev, Israeli Ambassador to the UK.
Israeli songs were led by Carl Matthews, Sharon Carter and Judy McKinnell. Dance was provided by the Shalom Dancers.
Catherine Girvan produced an amazing 70th Anniversary cake which was greatly appreciated by all.
Michael Black, Chairman of the Belfast Jewish Community gave a vote of thanks, and on behalf of the ICEJ Irish Branch, invited everyone to The Long Gallery for a buffet supper.
Having their cake and eating it: ICEJ Ireland director Brian Silvester with guest Malcolm Hedding
DUP delegation visits the Knesset and Palestinian legislative authority.
A DUP delegation comprising six out of ten MPs and four members of the Northern Ireland Assembly visited Israel as a delegation organised by Northern Ireland Friends of Israel. The delegates, who included the party’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds MP, met Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition at the Israeli Parliament. In Ramallah the delegation met Dr Nabil Shaath, former foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority.
DUP delegation pays homage at grave of President Herzog
In the centenary year of his birth in Belfast, ten DUP elected representatives paid their respects at the grave of Chaim Herzog, sixth President of Israel at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem. The DUP delegation were in Jerusalem as part of a Northern Ireland Friends of Israel organised visit to the country.
From Belfast and saving lives
While in Israel the DUP delegation saw the two medi bike ambulances donated by the Belfast Jewish community and friends of Israel from the wider community in Northern Ireland to Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross. The ambulance bikes are stationed in the Jerusalem area and serve the city’s diverse population of Jews, Muslims and Christians, saving lives.
Security Situation reviewed
DUP MPs and members of the Northern Ireland Assembly were briefed about the security situation on Israel’s northern border during their four day delegation to Israel. From the vantage of the Golan Heights the elected representatives looked at the scene in Syria where a number of rival militias vie for control of the Syrian side of the border. Security analyst and IDF retired colonel, Miri Eisin, explained the danger of an Iranian foothold in the region.
Israel @ 70 Celebrated in Belfast
Israel’s 70th anniversary was celebrated in Belfast with events on consecutive evenings at the Belfast Jewish community centre and Stormont.
Northern Ireland Friends of Israel joined the Belfast Jewish community in holding a reception at the Long Gallery Stormont, hosted by Peter Weir MLA. Amongst those attending were the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, six MLAs, consular representatives from seven countries, faith and community leaders. Speakers included deputy ambassador of Israel, Sharon Bar-li, NIFI co chair Steven Jaffe. Rabbi David Singer led a commemoration for Israel’s fallen and performed Israeli songs to an appreciative audience.
A stand against anti-Semitism – past and present.
Hundreds of marchers took to the streets in Belfast city centre to commemorate the Holocaust and make a stand against the contemporary growth in anti-Jewish racism. The March of Life gathered at Jaffe Fountain and marched to City Hall. An evening event at Belfast Castle was addressed by Holocaust survivor, Henry Schachter.
Herzog exhibition at Linen Hall.
A year of marking the birth in Belfast of a President of Israel was launched at the Linen Hall library with a packed reception in the presence of the Israeli ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Mark Regev, and an exhibition which runs till April 13.
Amongst those attending the reception were the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, councillor Sonia Copeland, elected representatives from the Northern Ireland Assembly and Belfast city council, a senior Irish civil servant in Belfast, representatives from a large number of cultural and civic institutions in Northern Ireland, the lay leader of the Dublin Jewish community, a representative of the American consulate, and members and friends of the Belfast Jewish community.
NIFI’s co chair Steven Jaffe spoke about the life of Sarah Herzog – an important community figure in her own right – and Ambassador Mark Regev addressed the diplomatic careers of Chaim Herzog and Abba Eban, who were both living in Belfast a century ago. Books by and about Herzog family members were presented to Linen Hall director, Julie Andrews, and NIFI’s President, Gerald Steinberg, gave the vote of thanks.
Flag of Israel honoured at Ulster Hall
Upwards to 700 people packed the Ulster Hall to attend the International Christian Embassy Taste of Tabernacles event. Speakers included Rabbi David Singer, Pastor Robert Baxter of ICEJ France and guest of honour, the Ambassador of Israel, Mark Regev. The flag of Israel joined flags of over 30 nations – including the UK, Ireland, and Iran, many carried by nationals of those countries. As always, it was an evening of great energy, with praise, dance and music, presided over by ICEJ Director, Brian Silvester.
During his visit to Northern Ireland, the Ambassador of Israel, Mark Regev, met with representatives of different parties at the Assembly. He shared a positive message for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, based on improving relations between Israel and large parts of the Arab world.
Visits to Israel
Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev Dr Frank Sellar, spoke of many family visits to Israel, and his family’s connections with the Jewish community, during his fascinating and heart warming address to the Belfast branch of the Council of Christian and Jews.
Flying to Israel
With current arctic conditions across Europe its not difficult to understand why Israel is a paradise for migrating birds – and bird watchers.
Off to Israel for an international conference are a party of seven keen ornithologists from Northern Ireland who have a particular interest in swifts.
As well as listening to conference papers and visiting bird viewing points, the delegates from Northern Ireland will be attending a special Swift welcoming ceremony in the Holy City of Jerusalem, at the Western Wall.
Friendly match in Belfast
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’ Neill is very gracious about the Israeli team who will be visiting Belfast in September.
“When we are looking at options for friendly matches we want teams that will challenge us and help us improve as a squad,” said NI manager Michael O’Neill.
“Israel offer both of those things. This is an excellent game for us and we will use it to build on what will hopefully be a positive result against Bosnia”.
Israel in colours
A fabulously vivid Israeli landscape painting by Northern Ireland-born artist Rachel Quirey. Rachel has visited Israel on nine occasions and can’t wait to go back! A glimpse of Rachel’s amazing talent can be seen by visiting her website;
Auschwitz in black and white
Amongst many lectures, films and events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in Northern Ireland, Bangor- based photographer David Campbell displayed some incredibly moving photographs he took during his recent vist to the Auschwitz death camp. The exhibition was hosted by the North Down museum. If you know a venue that would be interested in showing these 44 beautifully framed and haunting photographs please contact David through his website https://www.photographerdave.co.uk/auschwitz .
Conference gathering of friends of Israel
The International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, Ireland branch, held its annual residential conference in January. Inspiring guest speaker was international Christian educator Christine Darg, who heads the international Exploits ministry, pictured with ICEJ director, Brian Silvester.
Meeting with Isaac Herzog MK
NIFI’s London-based co chair, Steven Jaffe, met Isaac Herzog MK, leader of the opposition in the Israeli Parliament. They discussed next year’s centenary of the birth of Isaac’s father, President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, who was born in Belfast in September 1918.
Steven also met the deputy ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to Israel, Tim Reilly, and former Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, during his visit. Photo shows Steven with Isaac Herzog MK (centre) and Itzchak Sonnenshtein of the World Zionist Organisation to Isaac’s right.
At the Pictures
The Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast showcased the best of Israeli cinema, in association with UK Jewish Film and the Belfast Jewish community’s Jews Schmooze initiative. Packed houses watched the light hearted documentary, Hummus the Movie, and the serious Holocaust thriller, Past Life. Also showing were the raucous comedy, Hebrew Hammer, and the more introspective, A Quiet Heart.
The successful mini-season was supported by the Embassy of Israel, London. Dr Katy Radford MBE, of the Institute of Conflict Research, chaired post-show discussions with Israeli film director, Oren Rosenfeld, and with local cultural figures.
A spiritual leader of Israel whose journey began in Belfast
The Irish embassy in Israel hosted the publication launch of a newly-translated biography of Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog. Herzog was rabbi in Belfast during the First World War and became chief rabbi of the Irish Free State and then chief rabbi of Israel – one of the most senior positions in the Jewish world.
The book, entitled The Rabbinate in stormy days covers Rabbi Herzog’s experience of political unrest in Ireland and in pre-state Israel.
You can watch the launch event here – speakers include the Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to Israel, Alison Kelly, and Isaac Herzog MK, the chief rabbi’s grandson and leader of the Opposition in the Israeli parliament.
Balfour centenary celebrated at Stormont
A capacity audience at the Great Hall Stormont enjoyed Israeli songs – performed by singer-songwriter Tally Koren, and a variety of presentations to mark 100 years since the Balfour declaration – an important milestone towards the State of Israel. Members of the House of Lords, Commons and Northern Ireland Assembly were among the audience.
Guest of honour was the deputy ambassador of Israel, Sharon Bar-Li. The event was organised by Northern Ireland Friends of Israel and the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem Ireland branch.
The development director of the Abraham Fund, which promotes sharing and equality between Jew and Arab in Israel, found his visit to Northern Ireland “inspirational” – in particular, visiting schools. You can read Anton Goodman’s reflections here:
Speaking in Church
Christian broadcaster, Simon Barrett, spoke to large Church gatherings in Bangor and Carryduff on his stand with Israel. Simon presents the Middle East report on Revelation TV. During his visit – Simon’s first to Northern Ireland – he interviewed two Christian leaders, Brian Silvester and Ivor McClinton on why they stand with Israel:
Photo: Packed church to hear Simon Barrett of Revelation TV.
Northern Ireland and Israel were paired together in group D of the Snooker World Cup played in China. Northern Ireland won out 3 frames to 2, represented by Mark Allen and Joe Swail. Israel’s players were Shachav Ruberg and Scottish-Israeli professional, Eden Sharav who has played previously in the Northern Ireland snooker open.
Very welcome visitor to Northern Ireland, senior adviser in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, Tomer Ashwal, meets Christopher Stalford MLA today in Belfast.
Congratulations to Aryeh from Israel for being the 3000th person to like Northern Ireland Friends of Israel on Facebook – building bridges between Northern Ireland and Israel!
Reflections from Israel
Belfast Church of Ireland clergyman, Rev Paul Jack, shares his reflections following a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2016, with the Anglo-Israel Association together with other Christian leaders. Rev Paul left the region profoundly changed and his deepest prayer is that: “the Israeli and Palestinian people will take the brave and incremental steps towards the peace, new relationships and prosperity they all deserve” .
You can read Rev Paul Jack’s blog from the website of the Anglo Israel Association here: http://angloisraelassociation.com/blog/a-reflection
Israeli visitors in Belfast
A group of leading rabbis from Israel visited Belfast as guests of the think tank, Forward Thinking. Brr. It looks cold and wet at Stormont . The rabbis met a number of religious leaders and engaged in warm and cordial conversations during their visit to Northern Ireland.
Class act – the Voice from Israel
Israeli Palestinian American and international song writer and performer – perhaps that’s only one way of describing Lina Makhul, winner – by popular vote – of the Israeli TV talent competition The Voice. Born in the States to a Palestinian Christian family, and resident in Acco, Israel, hyper-talented Lina performed two nights in Belfast at the SSE Arena as support act for the British girl band, Little Mix.
March of Life in Belfast
Yom Hashoah – Holocaust day in the Jewish calendar was marked by a march in central Belfast which started at the Jaffe fountain at the Victoria Shopping centre and made its way to City Hall displaying the flags of many nations. The march is designed to raise awareness of the Holocaust and alert people to the contemporary surge of racism including Jew hatred.
Large Church gatherings in support of Israel
Over 250 people attended events in support of Israel and the Jewish people at Congregational Church Abbots Cross Newtownabbey and Larne Mission Hall. Speakers were London-based NIFI Co chair Steven Jaffe and NIFI supporter Ivan Laybourne. In Newtownabbey Pastor Trevor Gillanders welcomed Steven and Ivan and spoke of the Church’s Biblical appreciation of Israel.
Steven and Ivan with the elders of Larne Mission Hall.
Young Israeli visitors to N Ireland
Between 20th – 25th April, the London-based think tank Forward Thinking facilitated a series of meetings in Dublin, Belfast and London for a delegation of young activists and political advisors from the Israeli Labour party. This visit was organised as part of the Irish Peace Process Programme, an initiative which brings delegations from key constituencies in Israel to Belfast and Dublin to discuss experiences of the conflict and the subsequent peace process.
Across five days, the delegation held intensive discussions with a number of groups, including representatives from a cross-section of political parties in Northern Ireland, young party activists, academics, former paramilitaries, civil servants and representatives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Viewing Jerusalem in central London – Colin Davidson exhibition
A peer, Northern Ireland MPs and Jewish community leaders and professionals gathered to view the exhibition by Ulster artist, Colin Davidson, at the Fitzroy Gallery in London. Davidson has drawn 12 large portraits of Jerusalemites from diverse backgrounds. Curator Oliver Sears explained the exhibition. The gathering was organised by Steven Jaffe, NIFI’s London-based co chair who is a consultant to the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Sharing Educational experience between Northern Ireland and Israel
Experts in Shared Education from Queen’s University Belfast have visited Israel to explore potential collaboration. The Belfast team met educationalists from various institutions and observed a science lesson conducted in Arabic at a Jewish school at Ganei Tikvah. Contacts between Queen’s and Israel on the subject of Shared Education are over four years old and were pioneered by Professor Tony Gallagher.
United nations stand with Israel at Ulster Hall
Representatives of the nations of the world took to the stage at the Ulster Hall in Belfast this week as the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem held a Taste of Tabernacles event in front of a packed house of approximately 800 people. The evening was one of colour, music and worship as the audience got a glimpse of the celebration of the Biblical feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.
Deep in thought
We pay tribute to the wonderful Worship band who lead and perform with energy, passion and commitment at the Taste of Tabernacles events in Belfast and in Co Wicklow organised by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem.
Shoah victims honoured at Bangor West
Over 300 packed Bangor West Presbyterian church for a Shoah memorial service. Guest speaker was Pastor Werner Oder, an Austrian by birth and son of a leading SS officer. Werner’s father not only murdered Jews but trained others to do so. Werner has dedicated much of his career to raising Shoah awareness. NIFI’s president Gerald Steinberg attended the event alongside Co chairs of Belfast CCJ, Bishop Trainor and Rev Ken Newell and representatives of the Belfast Jewish community. NIFI was proud to help sponsor the event organised by friend Ivor McClinton.
For Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, NIFI’s co chair, London-based Steven Jaffe, was asked to discuss the Refugee settlement farm in Millisle, Co Down on NVTV, Belfast’s local TV station. Steven’s interest in the farm was sparked by photographs he was given as a student. You can watch the programme here:
Photo: Dreamers of Zion – members of the Zionist youth group Bachad who trained as farmers at Millisle.
Faces of Jerusalem
Congratulations to Ulster-based artist, Colin Davidson, whose epic work Jerusalem is being exhibited for the first time in London. The 12 large-scale portraits of individuals living and working in Jerusalem will be displayed at 33 Fitzroy Square from March 9 to 28. The portraits illustrate the diversity and shared human face of the city’s inhabitants.
ICEJ gather for 8th annual conference
The Irish branch of International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem enjoyed a wonderful Conference recently with speakers Christine Darg, Robert Baxter and Edwin Michael. Delegates from Northern Ireland and the Republic looked at the different aspects of Christians being “Watchmen on the Walls” of Jerusalem.
Honoured by Israel, remembered in Derry – a heroine of the Holocaust.
Londonderry women remember their Aunt who died in Auschwitz alongside Jewish children in her care. Jane Haining was posthumously named as Righteous Among the Nations at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem in 1997.
Visiting Israel with a disability