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From February 22nd to February 28th, NIFC was proud to tour Lihi Shmuely, the deputy director of Israel Hofsheet, across Canada for an emergency speakers tour. Despite multiple winter storms, hundreds of Canadians joined us to hear from Lihi and NIFC Executive Director Ben Murane. We stopped in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver to speak to Canadian audiences about the urgency of this moment — and to ask supporters of Israeli democracy to join the fight to protect it.

Israel Hofsheet is one of the leading grassroots groups fighting for religious freedom for all Israelis. We heard from Lihi how religious freedom is particularly under attack with Israel’s new extremist government. The ability of all Israelis to access equal rights, regardless of their religion, sexual orientation, gender, or ethnicity, is seriously under threat.

Lihi spoke to us about how this moment is different from previous moments in Israel’s history. She told us, “It is important to know that we’re not moving backward. This isn’t something we’ve seen before; it is unprecedented.”

And it was clear that the audience agreed about the uniqueness and the urgency of this moment. At the beginning of each program, we asked the audience how many people were really concerned by what they were hearing from Israel. At all four events, the response was unanimous.

Lihi shared that she came to Canada to tell Canadian Jews that the battle for Israeli democracy is our fight too, and to invite us to do what we can to help.

To that end, at the end of each program, NIFC Executive Director Ben Murane appealed to the audience to take action. Ben asked each person in the audience to invite three friends to join the movement to protect Israeli democracy by asking them to sign this petition.

As we heard from Lihi in Montreal, “this isn’t a matter of right and left; it’s a matter of the core identity and soul of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Watch the recording of the Toronto program: