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Remis Speakers’ Forum hears from representatives of the Jerusalem Foundation

Shai Doron, President, & Nomi Yeshua, Chief Development Officer – of the Jerusalem Foundation

Not often does the Remis Speakers’ Forum have two speakers at once. Further, we almost never have speakers honour us by planning their trips to accommodate our schedule.
But that’s what Shai Doron and Nomi Yeshua did, and we are the richer for it in our appreciation of Jerusalem. These two people are the President and the Chief Development Officer, respectively, of The Jerusalem Foundation, and their outstanding presentation was truly inspirational – at the Speakers’ Forum on July 29.





Nomi set the stage by giving an overview of the rationale for, and the founding of, the Jerusalem Foundation. She is well placed to do so, having made Aliyah from Vancouver in 1990, when she immediately landed a job in the mayor’s office. Except for various leaves of absence while she furthered her education, Nomi worked with Mayor Teddy Kollek, gradually transitioning from the mayor’s office to the Jerusalem Foundation.

Teddy Kollek became Mayor of Jerusalem in 1965, when part of the city was under occupation by Jordan. His jurisdiction included about 2,000 Arabs. Two years later, unexpectedly, East Jerusalem was liberated, and 69,000 Arabs joined the rest of the population.
Growing up in Vienna, Teddy had experienced a city where diverse groups interacted in a friendly fashion, everyone participating in everything the sophisticated city had to offer. This exposure to possibilities influenced his vision of what Jerusalem could and should become. He, of course, immediately became aware of, and was disturbed by the reality he’d inherited. East Jerusalem under Jordan had not developed anywhere near the cultural opportunities as had West Jerusalem, and he desperately wanted this situation to be rectified.
Teddy’s tax based civic budget would provide the basics such as schools, but was inadequate for the enrichment opportunities necessary to develop a modern, mid-century, city. It was the need to forge beyond these limiting parameters, that motivated him to develop the Jerusalem Foundation.
Thus, Teddy enabled himself to raise funds from lovers of Jerusalem everywhere, to build theatres, sports centres, concert halls, libraries, art galleries, museums, community centres, and plenty of parks and green spaces.
Nomi showed a series of graphs prepared by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, which illustrated the lead-up to the demographic Teddy inherited.

In 1922, early in the British Mandate Period, the population of Municipal Jerusalem was 63,000 (including 29,000 Arabs). By the end of WWII, the population had grown to 164,000 (including 65,000 Arabs). During the years between the War of Independence and the Six Day War, the population had grown by about 30,000 (but including only 2,000 Arabs, the rest being in Jordan-occupied territory).
With the liberation of East Jerusalem, 69,000 Arabs became part of Municipal Jerusalem, bringing the total population to 267,000. Deciphering graphs is sometimes difficult, but what these numbers show is the proportion, the fracturing, and perhaps the temperament, of the population at the beginning of a unified Jerusalem under Mayor Kollek. A challenging situation indeed!

Within these general population numbers, the break-down of the study became more nuanced. In 2017, the year this study was completed, the population of Municipal Jerusalem was 902,000, 342,000 of which were Arabs. More graphs gave us more information.
Analyses of Jews, Muslims, Arab Christians, non-Arab Christians, those not identified by religion, were all displayed. Within these population groups further analyses proceeded. Age groups, gender, variations of religious observance, education, poverty rates, and on and on, were graphed out every which way.
Nomi accompanied each with explanations. By the time she was done, the enormity of the problem, the intricacies of the complications, had thoroughly sunk in. How was Teddy’s vision ever going to be actualized?

Then it was Shai’s turn. In 1989, Shai became the director of the mayor’s office, working closely with Teddy Kollek, coordinating and managing significant projects, including being involved in urban planning. In 1993 he was appointed Director General of the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.
The zoo was Teddy’s brainchild, too. He wanted a place where every niche of demographic could bring their families, and feel ‘at home’, from Ultra-Orthodox Jew to Devout Muslim, to Christian, to visitors of every faith, to secular. Shai was more than inspired. He expanded and transformed the zoo into a meeting point for all Jerusalem residents and visitors. In 2011, he led and developed the construction of an aquarium, the first in Israel, adjacent to the zoo.
During his tenure, the zoo became the leading tourist attraction in Israel, attracting more than 700,000 visitors every year. Last year Shai was appointed President of the Jerusalem Foundation. Teddy must be qvelling over his protege!

When Shai expounds on what he sees Jerusalem becoming, in spite of its dizzying problems, one realizes not only has he caught Teddy’s vision, but he has run with it up into the stratosphere. In his words: “Jerusalem needs to be a model of shared living to the entire world…..not only Jews and Arabs but Jews and Jews”.
Teddy envisioned the goal; Shai sees the steps to the goal. He believes this shared living (not merely co-existence) will depend on the young people, and what is done for them now.
These children need these basics: Arabs and Jews need to learn each other’s language; need to learn English; need training in computer science; training in communication and leadership skills.
Today’s leaders must develop programs that will provide these ‘pillars’ as he calls them, which will ultimately implement a pluralist, productive, society. This should be done, Shai says, “……creatively, in state of the art fashion,…..with a moral, not a political, agenda.”

It was not difficult to see why this man has been so successful in raising millions in funds, necessary not only for these completed projects, but for development of the ‘pillars’ he sees as vital.
Upon reflecting back on the analyses Nomi presented, showing multiple variations of demographics, one realizes how nuanced each project needs to be, to attract, draw in, and enhance, each unique segment of the community.

But Shai’s enthusiasm is contagious. He is on a grand Aliyah, a ‘going up’ to Zion, and the impulse to join him on his vision’s path is irresistible. Nomi and Shai make frequent trips through Canada. The Remis Speakers’ Forum has already placed them on the ‘must contact’ list for next season’s roster, so our members can follow Nomi and Shai’s progress.
The key will be enlisting those creative individuals with a moral, not political, agenda, who will put their shoulder to the wheel, helping to make Jerusalem….. “a model of shared living to the entire world.” Hmmm, sounds like something right out of Scripture.

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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.

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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

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The Most Expensive Israeli Soccer Transfers

Eran Zahavi

Even if Israel isn’t known as a world soccer power, it has produced plenty of talented players who have made a living in top European leagues. On more than one occasion, an Israeli international has commanded a rather large transfer fee. But who are the most expensive players in Israel’s history? The answer could be a little surprising. We took a look back to find the most expensive Israeli soccer transfers of all time.

Tai Baribo

In 2023, Baribo made the move to MLS, signing with the Philadelphia Union. The reported fee was around $1.5 million, which is one of the highest transfer fees the Union has ever paid for a player.

Omer Atzili

Throughout his career, Atzili has played for a variety of clubs, including stops in Spain and Greece. In 2023, he joined Al Ain in the UAE for a transfer fee of $2.1 million.

Maor Buzaglo

Now retired, Buzaglo was briefly the holder of the richest transfer deal for an Israeli player. After a couple of successful seasons on loan, Maccabi Tel Aviv paid $2.7 million to rival Maccabi Haifa for Buzaglo in 2008.

Dia Saba

Saba made history in 2020 when he joined Al-Nasr, making him the first Israeli player to play for a club in the UAE. At the time, it was a big deal for relations between the two countries. Al-Nasr also paid an impressive $2.9 million transfer fee for the midfielder.

Tal Ben Haim

On multiple occasions, Ben Haim has been sold for more than $1 million. First, there was his move from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2023 for close to $1.2 million. A few years later, Sparta Prague came calling for him, spending $3.1 million as a transfer fee for the winger.

Itay Shechter

During the prime of his career, Shechter was the type of player who warranted a seven-figure transfer fee. German club Kaiserslautern paid a little over $2.6 million in 2011 to bring Shechter to the Bundesliga from Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Daniel Peretz

When Peretz was sold to Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the most expensive deal involving an Israeli player, although it was arguably the most important. He became the first Israeli Jew to play at Bayern, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The transfer fee for Peretz paid by Bayern Munich to Maccabi Tel Aviv was around $5.4 million.

Oscar Gloukh

Gloukh is one of the best young Israeli players right now. He already has three international goals in a dozen appearances to his name. Somehow, Gloukh is already one of the most expensive players in Israel’s history. After coming up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he moved to Austrian giant Red Bull Salzburg in 2023 for a transfer fee of close to $7.5 million. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him top that number one day.

Liel Abada

Abada has been a part of two huge transfer deals in his young career. In 2021, Scottish club Celtic paid $4.8 million to acquire him from Maccabi Petah Tikva. However, that number was topped in 2024 when Charlotte FC of MLS paid a fee of $8 million for Abada.

With Charlotte FC, Abada competes in North America’s top league, facing teams from both Mexico and Canada. Throughout North America, sports betting has taken off in recent years. That includes betting in Canada, where there is a large collection of trusted sports betting platforms.

Eran Zahavi

To date, Zahavi holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for an Israeli player. It’s fitting for Israel’s former captain and all-time leading scorer. In 2016, Chinese club Guangzhou City paid $12.5 million to get Zahavi from Maccabi Tel Aviv. That record was nearly broken later that year when another Chinese club offered $20 million for Zahavi, who turned it down and stayed with Guangzhou City.

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