Walden wows in Sydney

From left: Victoria Nadel, Professor Tsvia Walden, Miri Orden, Rebecca Dreyfus, Barbara Ford, Sharon Davis and Sandy Hollis.

PROFESSOR Tsvia Walden, daughter of the late Shimon Peres, last week addressed a large crowd at the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA) NSW Council House. 

Hosted in conjunction with the United Israel Appeal (UIA) and Progressive Trust, the event featured a speech by the Ben-Gurion University psycholinguistics professor that touched on human rights,human rights and Middle East peace.

“We all want to better society and much is decided by the place you live in and the values you decide to live by,” Walden said. “The Jewish community’s existence was always pluralistic, with many languages, many cultures, never one person being right, never one opinion being the only one. This is the heart of our tradition.”

President of the International Council of Jewish Women Robin Lenn, who attended the event, described it as “a very crowded room of interested women from different walks of life who were enthralled by what she had to say”.

Lenn described Walden as a “vital woman” and a strong speaker. Walden’s address also gave a great deal of background on the work of her father and her own work putting together the documentation for the Geneva Accords. She also spoke about her personal life and work as a professor.

Walden also described how she urged then-US president Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to attend her father’s funeral, despite the risk that Abbas took by attending. She then shared a glimpse of her personal relationship with her father and how he encouraged her to be an independent thinker, even if her ideas were at odds with his.

“She evoked very strong memories of her father,” Lenn said. “It was an honour to meet her and a very special occasion for us to host her.”

Her impact on the audience was summed up in NCJWA past president Victoria Nadel’s vote of thanks with a tweaked quote from Peres: “Tsvia – you have dared to bring about positive change. You have not been afraid to do so, and at the same time you have remained true to your moral compass and Jewish values.”

While in Sydney, Walden also visited Emanuel School where she ran an interactive workshop on feminism for year 9 students, which coincided with International Women’s Day.

YAEL BRENDER