Israeli peace delegation learns about ORT


3 June 2005 A delegation of prominent Israelis brought to London by the non-government organisation Forward Thinking met World ORT Director General Robert Singer this week. The delegation, led by Knesset member Dr Yuri Shtern, was in London under the aegis of Forward Thinking, a non-government organisation that aims to contribute to official peace negotiations around the world by engaging marginalised groups in dialogue with each other and with decision makers. World ORT is not a political organisation, Mr Singer said. The meeting, therefore, did not look at the political aspects of peace in the Middle East. It was, however, a valuable opportunity for us to explain to the delegation the importance of tolerance and mutual respect at a grass roots level and in particular the teaching of such values to the next generation. ORT Israel is the largest single educational network within the organisations global operations with 90,000 students Jews, Israeli Arabs, Druze and Bedouin. Our flagship inter-communal project is the Bridges Programme, through which Arab and Jewish ORT students build relationships with each other by undertaking joint scientific and technological projects. But the ethical principles which underpin this programme shape the learning environment in all our schools, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, Mr Singer said. With Dr Shtern were the Director of the Jerusalem Summit, Dmitry Radyshevsky, television producer Leonid Blehman, Vesty editor-in-chief Sergei Podrazhansky, Israeli Students Organisation Vice-Chairman Alex Miller, media producer Alexandra Juran, Israel Beitenu spokesman Mark Kotlarski, Nazareth Illit Deputy Mayor Lia Shemtov and Michael Gribov, the director of the Knesset Forum on the Middle East. During their stay in London, delegation members have been meeting members of both houses of Parliament and representatives of the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence and BBC as well as members of the Jewish community. It has been very useful to hear more about ORTs work, said Dr Shtern. ORT was established in Russia and it is good to see how an organisation, which grew out of Russian Jewry, has become a major worldwide operation. Im very impressed by ORTs activities and salute its achievements.