“Many Israeli-Australians are living in the Israeli time zone at the moment, doing as much as we can with our useful connections, enterprise and experience, to play an important role to help Israel, in every segment,” Melburnian Eitan Drori told The AJN last Friday.
“Many of us haven’t slept at night [Australian time] since the slaughter that happened in the Gaza envelope on October 7.”
The chair of the Global Israeli Leadership Organisation (GILO) and president of the Association of Israelis in Australia, highlighted the range of areas Israelis here are involved directly in to help Israel’s war effort against Hamas.
Their contributions – on a voluntary basis – include participating in think tanks and news interviews, in hasbara [advocacy and education], fundraising, procurement, public diplomacy and organising rallies to raise awareness about the ongoing hostage crisis.
“The most obvious example is the core group of Israelis running the show at rallies for Israel in Melbourne and Sydney … drawing thousands of people and media.
“Rather than protesting, they are taking an informative approach to demonstrating, they’re organised, they have websites and are active on social media.
“It really shows their initiative and role in building unity and focus in the broader Jewish community.”
In fundraising and procurement, Drori said small projects driven by Israelis are resulting in sending essential items to Israel, such as vests and medical equipment, for IDF reservists. “And that’s been from the beginning … my understanding is that Israeli-Australians helped to raise $260,000 within the first 48 hours of this war.”
Drori said public, or informal, diplomacy also has an important role and it’s an area Israeli Diaspora communities are well-placed to assist in. “I’d say there are close to a dozen Israeli-Australians who are contributing in this way behind the scenes to help Israel in a range of issues – including supporting efforts to release the hostages – through outreach at all levels of leadership in Australia.”
In the field of advocacy, Drori said Israeli researchers, academics and public speakers are doing amazing work in online Zoom forums and webinars, citing his close colleague Ran Porat as an example.
“Ran is very effective in media relations, particularly through his research associate role for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.”
For his part, Drori has been co-hosting a weekly Sunday afternoon online update about Israel for Australian Christian group Kingdom Builders, which has thousands of members.
He added, GILO’s latest project involves board members from around the world billeting displaced Israeli families from border communities for short breaks to benefit their mental health.