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Former Mossad Chief to Speak to Winnipeg’s Jewish Community

Efraim Halevy, former head of Mossad, is coming to lecture at the annual Distinguished Lecture series in Winnipeg, on May 3, 2012.

The series benefits the work of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada (JHCWC). The evening with Halevy is the primary fundraising event for the Centre which manages museum displays and the Holocaust education and awareness programs. The JHCWC also maintains historical materials which preserve the history of Western Canada`s Jewry, in particular in the province of Manitoba. The community`s genealogical research archives are also maintained on site.

The collection includes copies of community newspapers dating back as early as 1910, over 7000 photographs, a complete database of Jewish gravestones (current to December 2010), and countless manuscripts and papers. This archive is constantly growing; for example, we recently received the Yiddish papers of Adele Wiseman, Canadian literary luminary.

The JHC’s many publications on Western Canadian Jewish history include: Coming of Age: a History of the Jewish People of Manitoba, Our Musical Heritage: a Century of Jewish Musicians and Music in Winnipeg, and nine volumes of essays in Jewish Life and Times, with special volumes on Jewish women, Jewish radicalism in Winnipeg, pioneer life and Jewish Farm Colonies.

Previous invitees to the annual Kanee Distinguished Speaker Series lecture, have been internationally-known speakers such as Sir Martin Gilbert, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt and Ambassador Dore Gold. In 2012 it is Efraim Halevy, former Chief of Israel’s Mossad.

Halevy will speak at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. His topic, “Impossible Missions: Israel’s greatest threats inside and out” candidly outlines the country’s modern day challenges.

The Centre invited Israel’s legendary security consultant, negotiator, political provocateur, speaker, author and retired Mossad Director, many months in advance. His talk, however, comes as Israel grapples on the international stage with its rift between the security establishment and the country’s political leadership.

Winnipeg, nestled at the geographic centre of North America, may be the beneficiary of significant insights from Halevy, renowned for his iconoclastic views.

His often controversial stance is based on a 40 year career in the Mossad. Having moved up the ranks from intelligence officer in 1961 to years as Director of Israel’s elite Institute of Intelligence and Special Operations, Halevy is uniquely positioned to cut through the rhetoric of USA, Israel, Iran, and Syria.

Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions after a lecture of about an hour. It is expected that Halevy will reveal provocative plans and fresh insights for co-existence once and for all.

With service to no less than five Israeli Prime Ministers, countless international dignitaries, and hundreds of missions and negotiations in his charge, he has worked ceaselessly in the cause of Israel’s security. Much of it in “secret diplomacy.”

It is expected that the evening will also touch on the prestigious Shasha Centre for Strategic Studies. The Israeli-based centre researches policy and presents white papers to stimulate public discussion leading to practical policies to effect sustainable change in the Middle East. This meshes well with the education initiatives of the JHCWC as well as its mandate to monitor news and events pertaining to racism, anti-Semitism, and world news affecting the Jewish community.

Winnipeg audiences anticipate fresh perspectives from the man who began to share behind the scene details on his watch in his book, “Man in the Shadows.”

As anonymous in his civilian look as George Smiley, the lead character in a John le Carré novel, Israel’s modern day spymaster and now editorial writer and professor holds that creative solutions must be found and soon.

On Iran Halevy has said, “They don’t know how to extricate themselves. We have to find creative ways to help them escape from their own rhetoric.”

Contrary to the panic generally promoted about Iran’s nuclear arms status, the evening is likely to touch on his views of Israel’s military and strategic might – “I believe that Israel is indestructible.”

Pragmatic and hopeful Halevy is known for his initiatives to “start the ball rolling.”

While to many outside of Israel the situation looks dire, Winnipeg’s audience may find solace in Halevy’s sign off line in a recent Jerusalem Post editorial, where he wrote, “The impossible happens twice a week in Israel.”

The lecture is a public event open to all. For more information on the work of the Jewish Heritage Centre visit http://www.jhcwc.org/

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Efraim Halevy will speak at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 8:00 p.m, as part of the annual Kanee Distinguished Speaker Series lecture. His topic, “Impossible Missions: Israel’s greatest threats inside and out” candidly outlines the country’s modern-day challenges.

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