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Danny Hakim Awarded The Order of Australia Medal

Danny Hakim celebrating the OAM award with Ambassador Paul Griffiths (standing third from left), family and friends

One of the best and most life-changing bar mitzvah presents Danny Hakim received was a one-year subscription to karate classes from his grandmother. That gift was the start of a journey that culminated in him being named in the 2022 Australia Day Honors List for service to the international community in a wide range of roles.

"It's the first medal that I received that I did not really have to fight for," Hakim said when he was recently presented with his Order of Australia Medal from Australia's ambassador to Israel, Paul Griffiths. Hakim has twice won a world karate silver medal for Australia but the original reason his grandmother had given him the gift, he explained, was for his own self-protection. "She experienced anti-Semitism in Egypt and her parents had experienced the pogroms in Odessa. She thought I should do a sport that would come in handy."

In order to teach karate here after making aliyah in 2001, Hakim – a seventh degree black belt who holds the highest rank for Shotokan karate in Israel – had to obtain a certificate from the Wingate Sports Institute. At the classes, he noticed that a significant number of men and women from the Israeli Arab sector were taking the karate instructors' course. "The idea came to me of promoting coexistence through karate. I set up the Budo for Peace organization, where Israeli and Palestinian children study traditional martial arts together in an atmosphere of respect and safety." He continues to serve as the chairman and to train all Israeli youth to use martial arts for peace rather than war.

Hakim was a recipient of the 2019 Sylvan Adams Nefesh B'Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize for Culture, Arts and Sports. He was the founding chairman and is a board member of the Israel branch of Kids Kicking Cancer, which empowers child cancer patients to deal with pain, difficulty and crisis through martial arts. Together with his brother Paul, he is also a founder of the Israel Life Saving Federation. These are just some of Hakim's awards and activities.

At the presentation of the award, he expressed his gratitude to Australia for all the opportunities it gave him, in particular through sport, which he continues to utilize in so many of his projects in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

"Sport in Australia is a religion," he said. "It is about fair play and equality. It is a platform for breaking down ignorance and fear and bringing communities together. That awareness and education is the gift I brought to Israel from Australia. It gave me the confidence and ability to make a difference in so many lives."

Hakim is a director of the Azrieli Foundation Canada, and is married to Danna Azrieli, a leading businesswoman and philanthropist. He has more ideas and plans for the future, in addition to his existing projects.

"Today I am focusing on creating people-to-people platforms, mostly in sports, to create social change and build trust in our incredibly polarized world," he said. "My goal is to use the power of sport to make people-to-people connections and activities that will teach meaningful life skills, prevent illness, and create dialogue. It's a path forward for a better life for all of our society and I am so proud that our family foundation is supporting it."

Danny Hakim with Ambassador Paul Griffiths
 

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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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