Connect with us


Making Jerusalem a city for the entire world to admire

By SIMONE COHEN SCOTT Nomi Yeshua occasionally passes through Canada representing the Jerusalem Foundation. Last summer she came through Winnipeg with Mayor Moshe Lion of Jerusalem. The delegation from Israel was thanking the Canadian donors who have helped to build and support projects geared to make Jerusalem the cultural and civilizational hub of the planet that she should be, and almost is.

Nomi Yeshua – Canadian Executive Director, Jerusaem Foundation/the late Teddy Kollek, former mayor of Jerusalem

Nomi was back in Canada again last month, planning a tour that would showcase an innovative project geared to help young women from all the diverse communities in Jerusalem to lift themselves up into independence – in other words, to train them to actualize their inherent entrepreneurial skills. 
She was spending a few days in Winnipeg, and so we were able to book a little visit together. I met Nomi several years ago when she spoke in Gimli at a JNF brunch, and I wanted to update myself about recent changes in her title, details of how she landed her job in the mayor’s office upon making aliyah, and how she transitioned herself through various roles until she does what she does now. Our conversation revealed another transformation: that the art of fundraising has come a long way since Golda Meyerson travelled the United States in a housedress with her hand out.

Nomi was born in Vancouver, but the seeds of Zionism were planted early. When only in middle school, she applied to a program offering grade 10 on Kibbutz Kfar Blum. She was accepted and spent that single year of high school in Israel, no doubt delighting her grandmother who had made aliyah in 1977. 
Finishing high school in Vancouver, looking for an education along the lines of liberal arts, she chose Political Science and obtained a B.A. from the University of British Columbia. In 1990, Nomi herself made aliyah, joining her grandmother and aunt, both Winnipeggers, Aunt Miriam having made aliyah in 1966. It was through them that Nomi, a brand new Israeli, found her dream job in Mayor Teddy Kolleck”s office. 
In Nomi’s own words: “I went for lunch with my grandmother at the home of my aunt’s neighbour. The neighbour, Frada Feigelson, had a sister, Shula Eisner Navon, who had worked for Mayor Teddy since 1965, and she hired me as her assistant. Shula left a couple of years later and then I took over her position.” 
Note that Shula began with Teddy (named Tadeuz after Theodore Herzl) the same year he became mayor, and worked for him for over 25 years, when she hired Nomi. Back in 1965. Jerusalem was still occupied by Jordan up to the Green Line (meaning the 1947 War of Independence ‘cease fire’ line which had been drawn with a green crayon). 
By 1966, Teddy had founded the Jerusalem Foundation, a fundraising device to allow people of the world to assist,whether by large or small amounts, in the cultural development of their ‘city on the hill’. Its first initiatives were public parks in the poorer neighbourhoods, funded by donors in New York.

Without the Foundation, moving money smoothly between countries, as now, would not have been possible. Teddy was nothing if not charismatic, his personality permeating every field he entered. Before long he also planted the beginnings of the Jerusalem Museum. He was chummy with every cultural icon of the era, bringing them all to Jerusalem, making the city the focus of high intellectual achievement. Isaac Stern, Arturo Rubinstein, Saul Bellow, Isaiah Berlin, Marc Chagall, Yitzchak Perelman -these were all his friends. 
Shula would have developed a high sense of aestheticism and beneficence. This was the aura of the workplace Nomi entered, the influence and legacy under which she was to walk her career path. Nomi told me she owes to Teddy her passion for classical music. I believe she has also internalized the values Teddy instilled into the Jerusalem Foundation.

During his life prior to his years as mayor, Teddy was a man of action. In 1942 he was appointed Deputy Head of Intelligence for the Jewish Agency. By 1945, he was in contact with the highly secretive MI5’s main representative of British Military Intelligence, (There is some mystery about his activities during this period.) Through 1947 and 1948 he represented the Haganah in Washington, during which time he managed, (working from within the Haganah), to clandestinely transport into Palestine used and leftover American military armaments, including ammunition, which formed the basis of what became the Mossad during the War of Independence. 
From 1952 he served as the director general of the prime minister’s office. Teddy Kollek and David Ben Gurion were cut from the same cloth: neither was religious; both were educated in Vienna. Just as Ben Gurion didn’t whine that the land being offered to the Jews was inadequate, so Teddy took it in stride when his city suddenly ballooned in size and population/ His attitude was: “Of course, come in, let me help you.” 
Immediately, he arranged for the provision of milk for Arab children. Then he placed City Hall smack on the seam line of the unification. Religious or not, if there were discontented naysayers, as in the day of the ten spies, these two men were able to withstand them.

It is fortuitous that the Jerusalem Foundation was already established by this time. From its beginnings it has been apolitical, embracing the Jewish mandate to be caretakers of Jerusalem for the benefit of all the people of the world. This mindset led Teddy to embrace his new communities with open arms, and strive to bring them the same enhancements he had begun in the rest of the city…. green spaces at first, then tentatively expanding to cultural and social centres.

Fast forward to the present, with 4,000 plus projects completed or in the works. Not that ‘completed’ is ever stamped across the page. And no longer is the meeting of open hand and deep pocket the way it’s done. In 1966 the Jerusalem Foundation was incorporated in New York City. In 1970 a Canadian Branch in Montreal was opened by the Bronfman family, a contact Teddy made when moving arms. 
Beginning in the early 20th century, more and more philanthropic efforts were being channelled into entities like these, (the Rockefeller Foundation being one of the earliest), as efficient ways to expedite the movement of large sums of money through government regulations, and to facilitate the management of funds over long periods of time. Teddy obviously was an excellent people person, arranging his friends into donors, his donors into friends, and then, eek!…..channelling them into boards of directors.

It takes a special gift, and there is no doubt in my mind that gift also resides in Nomi. From Teddy’s office she went on to various fundraising and marketing positions, managing also to obtain a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Tel Aviv. At one point she served as liaison to Mayor Nir Birkat. As she told me, fundraising and what it accomplishes cannot exist without the building of relationships. 
For Nomi to develop and direct this structure of board members and donors, as she does, bespeaks a temperament that loves and respects people. It’s a big job; it consists of many small jobs. Over the years Nomi has done everyone else’s job. I met her when she was Director of the Canada Desk; now she is Chief Development Officer as well as Executive Director in Canada. There have been others, each indicating an upgrade in skill and responsibility, but I get the feeling many of the duties are intermingled. 

Projects over the decades have gone beyond parks and cultural centres, although its safe to say those haven’t stopped. Nowadays, a not so frequently mentioned element of the Jerusalem Foundation, words to the effect of ‘…….integrating the day to day lives of the city’s inhabitants…..’ has moved a little more front and centre. ‘Shared living’ is the phrase being used. ‘Easier said than done’ as the saying goes. 
Nomi pointed out serious complications in accomplishing this, which originate in the city’s education system. She told me that there are four streams of public schools, all segregated, all paid for by taxes, with no way to loosen up and unravel them. The first time these kids have anything to do with each other is when they enter the IDF. Up till then, there is no interaction. They have not had any contact with other perspectives. Overcoming this alienation is going to take more than nice architecture. 
Not to mention Arab communities established during the Jordanian occupation, including an early refugee camp cheek by jowl against an Arab village. Nomi, you’ve got a big job ahead of you! Knowing Nomi better now, I am convinced she will tackle it one knot at a time. Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was certainly wise to come and thank Canadian donors. I hope he’s also thanking the ones who “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem……” Psalm 122:6a

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Top 7 Dumbest Things Said About Israel Lately

US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the media following a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, US, July 17, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The team at HonestReporting has scoured the Internet to bring you some of the dumbest things people have said about Israel in the last two months. From sheer malice to total ignorance, it’s incredible just how far some people are prepared to go when it comes to criticizing Israel. Here’s just seven examples:


Briahna Joy Gray, podcaster, host, and former Bernie Sanders National Press Secretary, confidently made this statement recently: that when Hamas talks about eliminating Israel, “it’s not talking about killing all of the Jews.”

According to her, Hamas really means eliminating the idea of a “Jewish state” and replacing it with something more akin to the United States of America.

Here’s @briebriejoy claiming Hamas does not want to genocide Jews (despite it being their charter,) claiming they want a “peaceful” one state solution and that Muslims were not involved in October 7th.

This is a delusional fantasy multiplex.

— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) June 1, 2024

Guess we misinterpreted Article 7 of the official Hamas charter — “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them” — and Article 13, “Palestine is an Islamic land… Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Muslim.”

Briahna, if Hamas was nearly as wholesome as you say, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have been resolved decades ago. This naïveté is painful to watch.


We commend the below ex-study abroad student for being open to listening. However, it is important to highlight the average Western young adult’s knowledge and understanding of the Middle East. This is the situation that countries like the United States have found themselves in, with various social justice movements ultimately backing values that oppose their own.

It may be lost on some that Islamic-run Palestinian territories like the Gaza Strip are generally unfriendly towards the LGBTQ community. What is surprising here, is that this woman apparently visited and spent time in Israel. It would be assumed that she would know that Israel is a Jewish state.

Do queers for Palestine understand what they’re supporting?

— Lady Maga USA (@LadyMagaUSA) June 3, 2024


Jackson Hinkle has been on our radar, and his recent appearance on TalkTV proved that he lacks knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially regarding diplomacy.

In an ideal world, everyone should live ‘”happily together.” Unfortunately, the world is filled with strife, and there are difficult conflicts across continents that have not been solved. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is incredibly complex, and both sides have been in on-and-off negotiations with each other for decades to no avail.

Why bend over backward to attempt to become a respected public figure if you have no will to study the history of conflicts you speak so staunchly about?


This is a particularly common trope we have seen rise in popularity — but it is not true. Research by author Yossi Harpaz estimates only about 10 percent of Israel’s population holds dual citizenship.

As writer Simone Somekh noted in a thread on X, Israeli Jews of North African and Middle Eastern descent, for example, are not welcome back to live in those countries and do not hold citizenship.

“Almost every Israeli has 2 passports.” This is what happens when you attend TikTok University: your opinions are based on lies.

Let’s debunk this claim

— Simone Somekh (@simonesomekh) June 5, 2024

In conclusion, there are many who desire another passport, but to Avon Lady’s dismay, 10 percent is not almost every Israeli.


This despicable comment was made live on Al Jazeera by a Gazan woman during her interview with head news presenter Elsy Abi Assi back in April. She claimed that during the IDF operation in Al-Shifa Hospital, soldiers raped Palestinian women and violently slaughtered other Palestinians who were taking shelter in the hospital at the time.

But, according to a tweet on X by Al Jazeera columnist and former director Yasser Abuhilalah, Hamas even disproved this claim.

The woman later admitted she inflated these claims in order to “arouse the nation’s fervor.”


Unfortunately, this isn’t the only shocking accusation about Israel that TikToker Guy Christensen has made.

His main point: Israel uses these tools to move Palestinians into enclaves so that they are easier to target and control. There is major context missing here. Guy also makes false claims about apartheid.

One outrageous claim he makes is that roads in the West Bank are made separate for Israelis and Palestinians. This is simply not true.

Guy also fails to give context to IDF checkpoints across the West Bank, which exist for security purposes. Checkpoints are meant to prevent terror attacks on Israeli civilians. Previous terror attacks and intifadas indicated the necessity, and have proven effective. The same goes for the contentious security barrier.

His accusations that Gazan restriction of movement is so that Israel can keep them oppressed is also false. Gaza is ruled by a terror organization, in case you haven’t heard.


Israel is quite right, how was it supposed to know there would be civilians crowded in a refugee camp

— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) June 4, 2024

Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about this statement is that the IDF itself said it was aware of where the displacement camp was, and that it did not strike it. The Hamas terror target was roughly 650 feet away. Further, targets were pinpointed with smaller munitions to reduce surrounding damage. A devastating secondary explosion due to the strike, believed to be a Hamas weapons truck, resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Top 7 Dumbest Things Said About Israel Lately first appeared on

Continue Reading


New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN (May 21, 2024) A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

(Updated May 28)

We contacted Ms. Harel to ask whether she’s aware whether there has been an increase in the number of Israelis deciding to emigrate from Israel since October 7. (We want to make clear that we’re not advocating for Israelis to emigrate; we’re simply wanting to learn more about emigration figures – and whether there has been a change in the number of Israelis wanting to leave the country.)
Ms. Harel referred us to a website titled “Globes”:
The website is in Hebrew, but we were able to translate it into English. There is a graph on the website showing both numbers of immigrants to Israel and emigrants.
The graph shows a fairly steady rate of emigration from 2015-2022, hovering in the 40,000 range, then in 2023 there’s a sudden increase in the number of emigrants to 60,000.
According to the website, the increase in emigrants is due more to a change in the methodology that Israel has been using to count immigrants and emigrants than it is to any sudden upsurge in emigration. (Apparently individuals who had formerly been living in Israel but who may have returned to Israel just once a year were being counted as having immigrated back to Israel. Now that they are no longer being counted as immigrants and instead are being treated as emigrants, the numbers have shifted radically.)
Yet, the website adds this warning: “The figures do not take into account the effects of the war, since it is still not possible to identify those who chose to emigrate following it. It is also difficult to estimate what Yalad Yom will produce – on the one hand, anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews and Israelis around the world reminds everyone where the Jewish home is. On the other hand, the bitter truth we discovered in October is that it was precisely in Israel, the safe fortress of the Jewish people, that a massacre took place reminding us of the horrors of the Holocaust. And if that’s not enough, the explosive social atmosphere and the difference in the state budget deficit, which will inevitably lead to a heavy burden of taxes and a reduction in public services, may convince Zionist Israelis that they don’t belong here.”
Thus, as much as many of us would be disappointed to learn that there is now an upsurge in Israelis wanting to move out of the country, once reliable figures begin to be produced for 2024, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that is the case – which helps to explain the tremendous popularity of Ms. Harel’s website.

Continue Reading


Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News