During a recent educational tour in Canada, Noam Bedein, director of the Sderot Media Center, an independent advocacy organization in the Negev, encountered a surprising amount of support for Israel among the members of the First Nations — the country’s indigenous people, like the Native Americans here — he met. As often-displaced groups, they told Bedein, a Sabra, they understood Israelis’ love for their land.
Among a growing international hostility toward Israeli interests, the reservoir of affection for Israel “surprised me,” Bedein tells The Jewish Week in a telephone interview.
This month some individuals from the First Nations are getting to see the Jewish state firsthand. A delegation, the latest that has brought some 300 members of the First Nations to Israel in the last decade, is there this week under the auspices of B’nai B’rith of Canada.
The group’s itinerary has included a stop at Yad Vashem, bottom right. Everywhere they go, Bedein says, they repeat their support for Israel.
“It is a very powerful thing to see,” says Bedein, right in bottom left photo, “It encourages me to keep speaking on behalf of Israel. We are not alone.”