mercredi 18 novembre 2015


■ THE CENTER Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel (COHSI) – an umbrella for 54 Holocaust survivor organizations, which is headed by former diplomat and former Knesset member Colette Avital – recently received the Tikkun Olam award from the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project. It is not widely known that during the Second World War, Haiti provided a haven for close to 300 Jews fleeing the Holocaust. The project is the brainchild of Bill and Harriet Mohr from the San Francisco Bay Area.
A child Holocaust survivor, Bill Mohr is a retired Hewlett-Packard manager who spent 10 months in Haiti when he was four years old, prior to immigrating to the United States. He became interested in his family’s wartime history when he joined the planning committee for a reunion of people born in, or descendants of Jews from, Furth-Nuremberg.
His interest in reconnecting with his past was enhanced when he saw television coverage of Israelis in Haiti bringing medical aid to the Haitian population following the devastating earthquake. It struck him how interesting it was that Haiti had shown compassion for desperate Jews, and 70 years later Israelis were repaying that kindness.
He and his wife wanted to make people more aware of Haiti’s role during the Holocaust, and thus the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project was born, and with it the Tikkun Olam prize, which was awarded to Avital, who is also a child Holocaust survivor, and to Avi Rosenthal, the CEO of COHSI.
Last week, on the eve of Kristallnacht, COHSI was also among recipients of Awards of Light citations from the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel which is headed by former culture and sport minister Limor Livnat. The award ceremony at the Knesset was also attended by MK Avi Dichter, the former chairman of the foundation, who is the son of Holocaust survivors.
■ IN THE forefront of Israel’s humanitarian assistance to Haiti was IsraAID, which is hosting a conference on “Can Haiti Grow? Haiti and Israel – Partners in Recovery and Development,” at which speakers will include former prime minister of Haiti Laurent Lamothe and world-acclaimed actor, director and social activist Sean Penn. The conference, to be held at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv on November 30, will address key issues concerning Israeli humanitarian response in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and will examine where Haiti is today.

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