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Nelson Mandela - The Legacy

Above Poster by תמרה ז'זמר

Despite the threat of rocket attacks on Tel Aviv over 230 people attended an event last Thursday In which a unique panel discussed the legacy of Nelson Mandela and its relevance to Israel's challenges. The evening was MC'd by former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Tova Herzl.

The event organised by Telfed in conjunction with the S African Embassy, Forum Tzorah and Wits Alumni brought together five prominent speakers. Each gave fascinating insights into their personal acquaintance of Nelson Mandela, the struggle for S Africa;s freedom and the lessons that can be learned in dealing with conflict in our region.

Telfed Chairman Dave Bloom welcomed the speakers and  paid special tribute to the large audience who had braved attacks from Gaza and had come to the event at the Tel Aviv - Jaffa Academic College.

MK Dov Lipman spoke eloquently about his own parliamentary involvement with South Africa - having represented Israel at the memorial ceremony for Nelson Mandela last December.  He quoted Mandela's inspiring words which, he said, had much symbolsm for both the micro and macro situation in Israel.

South African Ambassador Sisa Ngombane spoke passionately about his involvement in the ANC and his encounters with Nelson Mandela "in the early days".  Whilst Ngombane had not chosen a path of politics but rather working the SA Foreign Service (mainly Francophone countries) the Ambassador related some fascinating stories relating to Mandela's style of leadership and how he had inspired a whole generation of like-minded people to follow his (sometimes tough) decisions.

Benjamin Pogrund gave an excellent analysis of the background to Mandela's life and the process of change which he facilitated in South Africa. He pointed out that there were several factors in that process and its timing including the fall of the former Soviet Union which helped leaders like Mandela and De Klerk make brave decisions for the benefit of South Africa.

Bassem Eid spoke of his several visits to S Africa (including as a guest of the Jewish Board of Deputies) and his concern and battle for human rights in the Middle East. In his talk he criticized both the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Governments on their policies and inability to resolve their differences.  He referred to Mandela as an inspiration for his work.

Liliesleaf Farm chief executive Nic Wolpe gave a wide ranging talk on the freedom struggle in South African in which his father Harold had been closely involved. He mentioned the names of several other ANC leaders like Walter Sisulu who worked with Mandela - emphasising that it was not just a one-man show. He explained in interesting detail the context of the forces at play at the time. It was Wolpe's first visit to Israel.

A special award was presented by Les Glassman (Wits Alumni) to Nahariya art student Tamara Zesmer for a poster she drew about Mandela (see above).

Max Moss's son Yair prepared a special film about Mandela which was shown to the audience setting the context of the evening's debate.

Max spoke of future plans for an annual workshop around the theme of Mandela's legacy which would invite youth leadership for both Israeli and Palestinian societies to take part. 

Co-organiser Jonni Zausmer wrapped up the evening and thanked the speakers and all concerned for a stimulating and meaningful evening.

For photos of the event - see Telfed's facebook page -   or the album

You can listen to the speeches on Youtube via the following links :

TELFED: Nelson Mandella, the Legacy - - Relevance to Israel Part 1 of 2 


TELFED: Nelson Mandella, the Legacy - - Relevance to Israel Part 2 of 2

Or for individual speechs :



Bassem Eid

Nic Wolpe

Ambassador Ngombane


Pogrund answers questions


Bassem Eid answers questions

Nic Wolpe answers questions

Tamara receives award for poster

Jonathan Zausmer wraps up





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