Parents of Three Kidnapped Israeli Teens Join Former President Peres, Jewish Agency Chairman Sharansky in Saluting Partnership2Gether
Peres: “It takes a person of great dignity to experience such tremendous pain and produce such deep and abiding hope – you are proof that such people exist. All of Israel shares your pain.”
Sharansky: “The future of the Jewish people depends on the sense of shared responsibility between all Jews around the world.”
JAFFA, ISRAEL – Ninth President of Israel Shimon Peres and Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky today (Thursday, April 7) joined hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world in celebrating the twentieth birthday of The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether (P2G) program at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. Also in attendance were the families of the three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered in the summer of 2014—Eyal Yifrah, Gil-ad Shaer, and Naftali Frankel—who declared the P2G Global School Twinning Network the recipient of the 2016 Jerusalem Unity Prize, created in their sons’ memory.
Speaking to the parents, former President Peres said: “It takes a person of great dignity to experience such tremendous pain and produce such deep and abiding hope – you are proof that such people exist. All of Israel shares your pain.”Turning to the hundreds of Jewish leaders and activists in attendance, he said: “I wish to thank you, the representatives of world Jewry, for your uncompromising work strengthening the connection between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel. This is not easy work and it is full of difficulties, but you do it without giving up. Everyone was against the State of Israel but we succeeded despite the odds. We have become a creative, innovative nation. We are the only country in the Middle East that has no brother and no friend – not in language, not in religion, and not in culture. We have been attacked many times and they have done everything possible to destroy us, but despite it all, they have not destroyed our morality or the righteousness of our path.”
Chairman Sharansky said: “The future of the Jewish people depends on the sense of shared responsibility between all Jews around the world. The solidarity and connection between all parts of the Jewish people are key, and our future will be built on a foundation of morality and on the basis of Aliyah.”
Partnership2Gether (P2G) is a network of hundreds of communities in Israel and around the world, which are paired with one another and maintain long-term relationships aimed at strengthening the residents of both and the bonds between them. Founded in 1996 by The Jewish Agency, The Jewish Federations of North America, and Keren Hayesod-UIA, P2G today connects some 450 communities in Israel and around the world through 46 established partnerships. 10,000 volunteers work to build meaningful connections between the communities by addressing residents’ core needs, engaging in exchange programs, and fostering a common Jewish identity.
The P2G Global School Twinning Network connects tens of thousands of students at more than 650 schools in Israel and around the world, who participate in joint educational activities and interact with one another online, while faculty members engage in joint training. The goal of the initiative is to bring about a positive cultural shift in Israel-Diaspora relations by developing a sense of unity and Jewish family amongst Jewish children, teachers, and parents around the world. Additionally, the program seeks to reinvigorate young people’s connections to Jewish life, to the Jewish people, and to Israel, and to create a common Jewish educational conversation.
PHOTO: Former President Peres and Jewish Agency Chairman Sharansky celebrate Partnership2Gether’s 20th birthday at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, Israel, April 7, 2015.
Photo credit: David Shechter for The Jewish Agency for Israel.