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Rita wows Wembley

by: SJ Reporter - Last updated: 2005-05-17



More than 3,000 people packed into a sold-out Wembley Conference Centre last week Thursday evening as Israeli superstar Rita provided the climax to Israel’s 57th birthday celebrations organised by the Zionist Federation.

Prior to the show, the Israel Ambassador Zvi Heiftz addressed the audience, telling them: “Our main achievement over 57 years is that every Jew from around the world now has a place of their own.”

Earlier in the day there were tastings of Israel food and wine, children’s entertainment, an art competition and the launch of the book, Israel in the World Today.

Films including The Battle for Zion,  A Little Bit Different and A Different War were also shown.

At the events reception, Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks described Israel as “the story of our past, part of our present and our hope for the future”.

He added: “May Israel be strong, may British Jewry be strong and let us always strengthen one another”

Other speakers included Rabbi Tony Bayfield, chief executive of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, Prof Eric Moonman, president of the ZF and Estelle Gilston, chairman of the ZF.

A presentation was made to Zvi Ravner, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Israel Embassy, who is shortly to return to Israel.

ZF executive director Alan Aziz said: “Our intention was to send everyone home happy and uplifted and feeling a little bit closer to Israel – and that’s exactly what we achieved.

“We will be enlarging the event next year into an all-day exhibition but before then we hope to invite Rita over again for another concert.”