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StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson Awarded Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize

Left to right: Co-founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart together with philanthropist Sylvan Adams present Michael Dickson with the Bonei Zion Prize at the Tower of David, Jerusalem - September 23, 2019. (Photo: Sasson Tiram)

(JERUSALEM, Israel -- September 23, 2019) -- UK-born StandWithUs Israel executive director Michael Dickson was presented the 2019 Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion ("Builders of Zion") Prize at a ceremony on September 23, 2019. Dickson, together with seven other outstanding Anglo Olim (immigrants to Israel) from English-speaking countries was recognized for "making a major contribution to the State of Israel." He was honored in the field of "Israel Advocacy" StandWithUs LIVE streamed the ceremony which began at 5pm and held at the Tower of David in Jerusalem.

Michael Dickson said: "This is a thrilling honor which I share with the founders, staff, students and activists of StandWithUs who work tirelessly to fight antisemitism and to support Israel around the world, on campus, in the community and online. To be able to contribute to the State of Israel and to work with our team to inspire the next generation is an honor and something that I cherish each and every day.” CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs, Roz Rothstein stated: "We remain so proud of Michael for receiving this well deserved award and for all his accomplishments for Israel and the Jewish people! We credit him for the expansion of our StandWithUs Israel office where we are impacting thousands of students from all over the world every single month.  The Israel Fellowship for post army Israeli college students, which Michael helped to develop, has been extremely successful, with over 2,000 alumni.

"Michael is a talented director with an abundance of vision, creativity and determination that has impacted our local growth and success.  He is a true treasure of the StandWithUs mission of Israel education and the fight against antisemitism," she added.

Hundreds of Olim from English-speaking countries – including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, and USA - were nominated for the prize. The prize recognizes outstanding Anglo Olim who have helped Israel in a meaningful way by encapsulating the spirit of modern-day Zionism and contributing in significant ways towards the State of Israel. Recipients were chosen by a prestigious panel of committee members.

The other honorees are: Dr. Ora Paltiel, Director, Hadassah Center for Research in Clinical Epidemiology and Professor, Braun School of Public Health in the field of Science; Leah Abramowitz, Co-Founder of Melabev and Coordinator of the Institute for Studies in Aging in the field of Community & Non-Profit; Dr. Beverly Gribetz, Principal of the Evelina de Rothschild—Tehilla Secondary School for Religious Girls in Jerusalem in the field of Education; and Danny Hakim, Founder and Chairman of Budo for Peace and Chairman of Kids Kicking Cancer Israel in the field of Culture, Art & Sports.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Harold ‘Smoky’ Simon for his decades of service to the Jewish State – his role in the founding of the Israeli Air Force as well as acting Chairman of World Machal and his contributions to Israel’s insurance and pension arenas. In addition, the Young Leadership Prize has been given to Miriam Ballin, Founder of the United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit.

The prize is sponsored by Sylvan Adams, a Nefesh B’Nefesh Oleh and Canadian real estate developer, who is committed to developing the State of Israel. Sylvan is dedicated to showcasing the impact and achievement of Israelis to the world, viewing the Bonei Zion Prize as an integral piece of this mission.

Bio for Michael Dickson: Michael Dickson is Executive Director of StandWithUs-Israel. He assumed his position in 2006 after making Aliyah from London with his family.

Michael leads a dynamic team in Jerusalem for the international non-profit, which is a respected provider of Israel educational material and programs. His role includes pioneering innovative Israel educational initiatives, running campaigns to counter discriminatory BDS boycotts of Israel, overseeing the organization’s significant social media presence and hosting delegations of politicians, diplomats, academics and other people of influence in Israel.

Michael helped establish the StandWithUs Israel Fellowship, which has become the go-to public diplomacy program on Israeli campuses and has graduated over 2,000 of the country's future diplomats and leaders. These outstanding Israeli young adults have gone on to staff major corporations, political parties in the Knesset, government ministries and embassies, and NGOs worldwide.

Michael has led diplomatic, academic and journalist missions to Israel and has advocated for Israel in different forums, including at the UN “Durban II” conference, in the Knesset, in Europe, the US, and in the Far East. Michael has helped pioneer the organization’s social media activity, which now has a weekly peak reach on Facebook of over 105 million people. He has been instrumental in setting up “social media situation rooms” as far back as in 2009 during Operation Cast Lead. Michael has amassed a large following on social media and his personal output reaches millions of people each month.

Under Michael’s leadership, StandWithUs’s operation in Israel has grown exponentially, empowering people in Israel and internationally to be active advocates for Israel and countering efforts to impose commercial, academic and cultural boycotts on Israel. Michael oversaw the construction of the new StandWithUs Educational Center in Jerusalem, which hosts 30,000 students and tourists a year, participating in educational programs.

Michael regularly addresses audiences and broadcasts on issues pertaining to Israel and public diplomacy. He is an accomplished writer, with many published articles, TV appearances and he is writing a book due to be published soon. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Communication of Bar Ilan University, is an Honorary member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, and was appointed to the Spectrum Forum of leading Executive Directors in Israel under the age of 40. In 2016, he was named as the 14th most influential Jew on Twitter and also one of the “30 Israelis Making a Difference” by Channel 10 TV. Michael was listed in the Top 30 of "The Aliyah 100 List" of British immigrants to Israel as one of the "flag bearers who shape the state of Israel and made a significant contribution". About StandWithUs

StandWithUs is an international non-profit Israel education organization. We are inspired by our love for Israel and the belief that education is the road to peace.

StandWithUs is dedicated to educating people of all ages about Israel and to combating the extremism and antisemitism that often distorts the issues. We believe that knowledge of the facts will correct common prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and will promote discussions and policies that can help promote peace in the region.

We educate via cutting-edge campaigns, materials, speakers, programs, conferences and missions to Israel. We reach millions of people globally via a multitude of social media platforms in 18 different languages. We ensure that the story of Israel’s achievements and ongoing challenges is told in middle schools, in high schools, on college campuses and in communities around the world.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, StandWithUs has eighteen offices and chapters across the U.S., Canada, Israel, Brazil and in the UK, with our flagship Education Center in the heart of Jerusalem. We also host programs in Latin America, South Africa, China, Europe and Australia.

For the last six years, StandWithUs has the highest Charity Navigator rating - 4 out of 4 stars - and the highest rating on GuideStar - platinum level. UK Background

Michael was brought up and Bar-Mitzvah-ed in Mill Hill and was Mill Hill Synagogue's Youth Director and Headteacher of the Cheder.

Michael was very involved in Bnei Akiva and was twice-elected to their executive (Mazkirut). While living in a 'Bnei Akiva house' working at Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue as their Youth Director, Michael met Deborah and they married in 2002.

Michael was Director of Informal Jewish Education at JFS in 2001 and grew it into a department, which was named JIEP (pronounced Jeep) "Jewish Informal Education Programmes", and continues to this day.

Michael adapted Israeli TV's version of "The Apprentice" as school programme and made a production-level reality TV show with Sixth Form students called "The Ambassador", training pre-university students to become active for Israel. The programme was a success, we made DVDs and it was rolled out to other schools around the country. He also pioneered Diversity programming at JFS in partnership with Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Black and other minority community leaders.

Michael and Deborah made Aliyah in 2006, just as the Second Lebanon War was winding down, with two children under the age of 3. At the time, they were interviewed by the Mirror and The Guardian about why any Brit would want to emigrate to a war zone.

They now have five children, aged between 7 and 15. His wife, Deborah fundraises for Women's Rights charity The Rackman Center and runs a successful Tourism advice business for Anglo travelers called "LoveLoveIsrael". Michael took on the role of Executive Director of StandWithUs which we have grown exponentially since then, setting up a thriving office in the UK, which is active on dozens of university campuses around the country.

The primary role is to counter Antisemitism and BDS and support and educate people about Israel.


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