Aboriginal leaders from Canada to visit Israel


TORONTO (JTA) — Thirty young aboriginal leaders from Canada will travel to Israel to study culture and society in the Jewish state.

The Youth Leadership Development Mission to Israel will take place April 29 to May 6.

Under the auspices of Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, the First Nations leaders will visit Christian and Jewish holy sites, study the Israeli immigrant absorption experience, and skate at Israel’s only full-sized hockey rink, located at the Canada Centre in Metulla.

The group also will meet with the Galilee branch of Kav Hazinuk ("The Starting Line"), an Israeli youth leadership development program funded by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.

"The objective of this trip is to help develop leaders among First Nations youth," said Ron Evans, chief of the Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba, who will lead the mission. "I visited Israel for the first time last year and I was overwhelmingly inspired. The Jewish people are the historic, indigenous people of Israel. For Canada’s First Nations, Israel’s story demonstrates how an ancient people can maintain their heritage while embracing the modern world, and in so doing achieve self-determination."

By studying the Israeli experience, "these highly motivated youth will return to their communities empowered with additional knowledge and leadership tools," said Shelley Faintuch, community relations director for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and an associate director of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

"The future of Canada’s First Nations depends on building the next generation of ambitious, dynamic and innovative First Nations leaders. Our goal is to support this important project," Faintuch said.

Recommended from JTA