The 2016 delegation of African-American Leadership traveled to Israel from December 11th to 18th. The delegation was comprised of political bi-partisan leadership as well as, business, legal and civic influentials.
The group was warmly received AIFL Executive Director, Ruby Shamir and Mrs. Tali Koren, AIFL Delegations Coordinator. Their experience began with the personal story of sacrifice and triumph from Tel Aviv’s Deputy Mayor Mehereta Baruch Ron. Mehereta an Ethiopian born Jew who escaped persecution by migrating to Israel with her family. They were able to observe and spend time with children at the Bialik Rogozin School which has children from over 40 countries. At Natal Trauma Center, they saw firsthand how Israel addresses suffering from combat stress, people injured in terrorist attacks, children who lost their parents, parents who lost their children and brothers and sisters who lost siblings in military operations or terrorist attacks that are all too common in Israel.
The delegation had the honor of meeting with American Ambassador Dan Shapiro and speaking with government officials, members of the judiciary and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Palestinian Pollster, Dr. Halil Shikaki.
The solemnity of their visit to Yad Vashem , the Western Wall and other holy sites highlighted the historic, religious and cultural importance of this tiny nation beyond the lens of the Middle East conflict and scope of the international media coverage. Delegates understood that as the sole democracy in the Middle East Israel’s experience is a unique geopolitical phenomenon and that this tiny nation has much to offer the world in every aspect of life.