YEREVAN – World Jewish Congress Jewish Diplomat Ruth Ouazana (Israel/France) delivered a speech on Israel’s revival following the Holocaust on behalf of the WJC at an event organized by the Jewish Community of Armenia.
The Jewish Community of Armenia, including local WJC Jewish Diplomat Tom Varzhapetyan, together with the Armenia-Israel Forum hosted a scientific session on Friday titled “From national catastrophes to state revival.” The session aimed to explore Armenia’s and Israel’s revivals following their respective national catastrophes and to strengthen the Armenia-Israel bilateral relationship by sharing best practices and key lessons.
Participants at the event included the adviser to the President of Armenia, Armenia’s Ambassador to Israel and other known Armenian and Israeli scientists, state officials, national minority leaders, members of the Jewish community of Armenia, journalists and businessmen.
WJC Jewish Diplomat Ruth Ouazana spoke about how the resilience of the Jewish people and Israel following the Holocaust helped shape Israel into the country it is today - a modern and thriving democracy that has become one of the most innovative countries in the world today. See excerpts of her speech below:
“I want to speak to today you as an NGO leader and as a leader of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps of the World Jewish Congress.
The World Jewish Congress, founded in Geneva in 1936, is the umbrella organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations. We are commonly described as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people.
The WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps is the flagship diplomacy program of the World Jewish Congress and a worldwide network of over 250 Jewish professionals from 50 countries acting in the fields of diplomacy and public policy on behalf of world Jewry.
I will be happy to give you insights into the Israeli society today, how its education and state of mind has very possibly been shaped in constructive ways by the catastrophe of the Holocaust and how it helped the country become one of the most innovative countries in the world today.
As an NGO leader and a leader of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps, I feel a responsibility to make the world a better place. And as a leader of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps of the World Jewish Congress, I feel proud and honored to be with you here today to be able to share ideas and knowledge.
For the first part of my remarks I will introduce the notion of resilience, and we will see how it applies to Israelis in their everyday life. In the second part I will discuss the achievements of Israel as a state, and how Jews might have used the characteristic of resilience to create a State different from most other states.
… Resilience is different to resistance to stress. Consider the differences between steel and rubber as an example. A steel bar is resistant to stress and is capable of maintaining its form while bearing large loads. But steel is susceptible to shearing and completely breaking. A rubber brick, on the other hand, will bend easily under even small loads, but it's extremely difficult to snap or break. Moreover, once the load is removed from the rubber, its flexibility returns it to its original form.
Boris Cyrulnik, being himself the son of a Holocaust survivor, introduced to France the psychological notion of resilience, based on the observation of survivors of the Holocaust.
… Every day, on behalf of over 100 Jewish communities that we represent, the World Jewish Congress tirelessly works to support and defend the rights of the Jewish State, especially in the international arena.
As the flagship program of the WJC, members of our program are equally committed to these efforts. Just at the UN Human Rights Council alone, members of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps have delivered over 70 statements in the past 4 years in defense of the Jewish people, the Jewish state, and universal human rights.
Our members conduct diplomatic meetings around the world advocating for the security and welfare Israel. We engage in viral social media campaigns to spread the truth about Israel. We publish articles in the local and international media to balance the often unfair treatment of Israel in the media. Standing with Israel is one of the World Jewish Congress’ most crucial priorities.
As we see, it is vital to be able to bend in front of catastrophes, either as a person or as a group. Being able to use the hard times we face as a springboard to decide to create something bigger and better. To become stronger from our weaknesses.
To create a state that looks like the dream we want to achieve. As wrote Theodor Herzl in the foreword of Altneuland, “If you will it, it is no dream…”
We have our dreamers, we have our builders, we have our critics; let’s use all of them to create a state that will be better each and every day - for its citizens, its neighbors, and for the rest of the world!”