November 10, 2023 — New York, NY
American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch and President Michael Tichnor this week returned from a solidarity mission to Israel during which they met with the Israeli government, spoke with family members of those being held hostage by Hamas, and visited with the injured, survivors, and victims' families of the October 7 attack.
“In the wake of the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust, our delegation traveled to Israel to deliver a clear message: we are standing with you,” said Deutch. “We carried with us a message of unity and support from the entire Jewish Diaspora. Among other meetings, we had the honor of hearing from families of Kfar Aza who graciously shared with us not only their harrowing experiences but also their unbreakable spirit. AJC is committed to doing all we can to help them reunite with their loved ones and rebuild their lives. Their strength inspires us all.”
Deutch and Tichnor were joined by AJC Jerusalem Chair Ben Plotkin, Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa Policy Group Chair Michael Feldstein, Advocacy Chair Bobi Baruch, National Policy Chair Melanie Nelkin, Associate Chair of the Board of Trustees Cliff Goldstein, AJC Board of Trustees Member Curtis Lane, AJC Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer Jason Isaacson, and AJC Chief of Staff Casey Kustin.
“From its founding in 1906, AJC has stood up for the Jewish people and Israel time and time again, and today, that mission is more important than ever,” said Tichnor. “The work we do today will shape the future for our children and grandchildren. We remain steadfast in our dedication to the people of Israel, their safety and security. The incredible volunteers and professionals at organizations like United Hatzalah, Hadassah, and ZAKA continue to not only provide key services to our community, but also hope. We will continue to support their efforts on the ground in Israel – for as long as they need.”
Among other members of the Israeli government and Knesset, the group met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ronen Levi, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ambassador Ron Dermer, and Speaker of the Knesset Amir Ohana.
The delegation visited the headquarters of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit, where they met with CEO Duby Weissenstern, and United Hatzalah headquarters, where they met with President Eli Beer, to thank staff and volunteers for their dedication to their communities and the people of Israel. AJC has awarded grants to both ZAKA and United Hatzalah to support their work.
The group spent time with those recovering from the October 7 attack at Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center and later sat down with Kazim Khalileh, cousin of Awad Darawashe, a Muslim paramedic who was murdered on October 7 while providing care to the wounded.
They also met with U. S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew to discuss the United States’ support for Israel and the important role the U.S. government will play in helping to bring every single person currently being held hostage home to their loved ones.
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit www.ajc.org.