“True Inspiration from WIZO” as Tova leads a major international Zionist organization.
Tova Ben Dov, World President of Wizo, shared a fascinating past with us, in a recent interview with Olga Israel. Olga is past president of the European Union Jewish Students’ Association, and head of Current Affairs with Jewish TV Channel.
The interview began with a discussion concerning the similar nature of their work in connecting with Jews on an international basis. Tova mentioned about the mutual exchange of dialogue that exists between such prominent Jewish organizations, in particular about the gathering of Jewish students that brings them together for a wonderful meaningful experience. Tova then moved onto her own incredible background that led her to the head of WIZO.
She first answered the question as to why she is in Wizo? Her father came to Israel in 1908 from Plonsk. The children of the famous Israeli leader Ben Gurion were raised by Tova’s grandmother, when Paula was running with her husband Ben Gurion all around the country. On her mother’s side is eight generations in Israel. Her uncle married his cousin, Tova’s grandmother. They had a baby when her sister (Tova’s grandmother), was already a grandmother! He was the Chief Rabbi of Tiberius.
The Jewish Agency arranged for prominent rabbis to travel to Tiberius to hear Jewish law from the chief rabbi there. He’s buried in Tiberius close to famous Tzadikkim. So as Olga put it, based on this colorful upbringing Tova is Zionism!
Tova joked that she has the birth certificate of a Palestinian, as she was born in 1937, during the British Mandate of what was then called Palestine. When the question of Palestinians was raised, she mentioned that a survey showed that 74% wanted to stay in Israel; however that was said without any prejudice as to any political stance on the issue.
Tova was born in Tel Aviv, a fact that she is proud of. She has done much good work for WIZO in Tel Aviv, from women in distress, high risk, etc. We were treated to a collection of wonderful cherished photographs, one showed her father digging the foundation stone for Neve Zedek, which was to become an important part of Tel Aviv. He was a graduate of the Rav Cook Yeshiva.
Her father was one of the first metal industrialists in Israel. However, in our next issue, we will see how her father was to become such a prominent influence on Tova’s sterling work. We will better understand about Tova becoming not just a world wide leader, but also an inspiration as a female equivalent of a Mench.
Be a Mensch Foundation kicked off the sales of the book in a press conference recently held in Tel Aviv”
Former Justice Minister Professor Yakov Neeman, and Nobel laureate Professor Dan Shechtman called to focus on building Jewish values to strengthen unity within Am Israel.
But what of the more universal potential of this aspiring movement? The foundation is reaching beyond Israel’s Jewish majority as well. Master Chef champ Nof Atamna –Ismaeel, an Israeli-Arab who has a doctorate in microbiology from the Technion, spoke at the kickoff event and called to adopt Mensch like values as a key to a tolerant society.
The Be a Mensch educational campaign launched in the Israeli media under the banner of “Respecting the other…strengthening unity” which properly applied fosters integrity, tolerance, and respect across Israeli society, while recognizing diversity.
Moshe Kaplan MD- founder and Chairman of Be a Mensch foundation
“If we could bring together people, and they walk away loving each other, this could be the cure for cancer,” says Moshe Kaplan who is an immunologist. “Our educational material is of universal value and will be available to Jews and non-Jews alike through the world.”