Solidarity and Young Professional Missions Bring Message of Strong Support
New York, NY: July 30, 2014 — Last week’s FAA ban and the constant barrage of rocket attacks into Israel was no deterrence as more than 50 participants of Jewish National Fund’s L’Chaim Solidarity and JNFuture Leadership Institute (JLIM) missions arrived earlier this week to support the nation and meet with Israeli leaders and soldiers as Operation Protective Edge enters its third week.
Billed as Breathing Life Back into Israel, the L’Chaim Solidarity Mission was organized by JNF only two weeks ago, when constant rocket assaults from Gaza into Israel began to negatively impact Israel’s economy and the mood of her people. The mission commenced Sunday and runs through July 31.
“Now more than ever, the people of Israel need to know that Jews around the world stand in support of our homeland and her people,” said JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, who is leading the mission of 35 participants from across the country along with mission chairs Lauren Mescon, Melinda Wolf, Vivian Grossman and Rabbi Brian Glusman (vice chair).
Sunday the mission met with students at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI), a JNF partner, where some 150 American students are completing a summer session earning academic credit and exploring the region, and had a discussion with former Ambassador Gideon Meir. On Monday, they met with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Israeli Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau. The mission visited the Western Wall and Ammunition Hill, the site of a major battle in the 1967 War. Today the group traveled to the south and met with the mayors of Sderot and Be’er Sheva, and with firefighters and soldiers involved in Operation Protective Edge.
During Operation Protective Edge, over four million Israelis have been threatened with rocket attacks. Rockets have been fired all over Israel, from the southern towns that border Gaza to the northern cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. Students at AMHSI’s Hod Hasharon campus on numerous occasions experienced the Code Red alert sirens and fled to shelters on the campus.
In the coming days participants will meet with residents of the Northern Negev who will share their personal stories and experiences, hear exclusive security updates and attend insider briefings with top Israeli officials, volunteer at JNF’s Indoor Recreation Center in Sderot, speak with Iron Dome IDF representatives for a unique look at this remarkable system, and help deliver much-needed supplies to Israeli firefighters and IDF soldiers and hear their stories of bravery and courage.
The JLIM Mission also arrived in Israel this past weekend and returns July 31. Led by Yael Septee Kane, JNF’s chief Israel advocacy and leadership officer, its participants include more than 20 young Jewish professionals from across the US.
“Being in Israel leading the JLIM mission during this time has been even more meaningful than we anticipated,” said Jonathan Gertman, JLIM mission co-chair. “The sense of solidarity among the Israeli people, and between the Israelis and us as visitors that chose to continue the mission, has been moving,” he added.
Co-Chair Dana Rubin agreed: “Many individuals have shared with us the belief that the JNFuture leaders participating in the mission represent a devotion and passion to Israel that is inspiring and critical to the future of Israel and the Jewish people.”
The first two stops the mission made were visits to David Ben Gurion’s home and Independence Hall in Tel Aviv to emphasize the special tone of this particular trip. While most of the mission is to focus on leadership activities and meetings with successful young business leaders in Israel, the present crisis turned the journey for the young people into one meant to send a strong message of support.
JNFuture is the gateway for the next generation to JNF. JNFuture engages and energizes young leaders who are committed to environmentalism and community development in Israel. JNFuture members support and connect to JNF’s mission through speakers, special events and trips to Israel.
For more information on JNF, call 303-573-7095 or visit www.jnf.org.