Black South African Women Inspired by a Tour of Israel

A move to improve relations with South Africa’s Black community was undertaken recently by NA’AMAT and the Afro-Asian Institute of Histadrut. From all indications, the effort was successful.

Thirty-one representatives of the Organization of Black South African Women, an umbrella group encompassing five organizations, came to Israel as the guests of the two Israeli organizations for a two-week study tour.

The tour included a visit to the Knesset, and Debre Mobiletse, head of the delegation, said afterwards that she and the delegation members were honored to have been accorded hospitality in the Knesset, a privilege denied to them in their own country where they did not even have the right to vote.

Masha Lubelsky, secretary general of NA’-AMAT (Movement of Working Women and Volunteers), initiated the tour following her own visit last year to South Africa where she was the only white woman to address the Black South African Women’s Convention.

The 31 Black women met with the heads of departments of NA’AMAT and inspected the organization’s facilities throughout Israel to learn about the programs operated by NA’AMAT to advance the status of women in the country.

Funded in part by NA’AMAT USA, The Women’s Labor Zionist Organization of America, these facilities include 800 day care classrooms, a multitude of vocational training centers for women and teen-aged girls, boarding high schools, summer day camps for disadvantaged women, counseling programs for battered women and their husbands, and pre-release workshops for the rehabilitation of women prisoners. The delegation’s visit to the Knesset was at the invitation of Labor Party MK Nava Arad, a former secretary general of NA’AMAT.

Mobiletse told the NA’AMAT leaders that she and the Black Women’s delegation had learned much during their tour of Israel and promised to incorporate the ideas and concepts they had learned into their own lives upon returning home. NA’AMAT’s experience and success in building a strong, effective movement that works to improve life for women and their families would serve as a model on which to build their own activities, Mobiletse said.

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