The 2016 delegation of Assembly Speakers and State Legislators not only culminated another successful year of programming for the AIFL but they welcomed the new year in Holy Land. This year’s delegation was a collaborative effort between the America-Israel Friendship, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel. The bi-partisan group was comprised of past and present NCL leadership and represented ten states across the US:
House of Representatives Minority Leader, Oklahoma Legislature
The Honorable Mark Mickelson
Speaker Pro Tempore, South Dakota Legislature
The Honorable Greg Snowden
House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore, Mississippi Legislature
The Honorable Angela Williams
House of Representatives Majority Caucus Chair, Colorado Legislature
Group Director, National Conference of State Legislatures
The group’s tour began with an overview of the Israel and the Middle East. They then embarked on visits to the infamous Rabin Center for Peace, they were hosted for lunch by AIFL Chairman for UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman. They gained a greater understanding of Israel’s security intelligence community from the ‘Man Behind the Iron Dome’, Brigadier General (Res.) Dr. Daniel Gold, and Michael Levinrad, Executive Director, International Cooperation Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) Prime Minister’s Office. They met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of Knesset including M.K. Yoel Hasson, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.
They visited historic fort, Masada and floated in the Dead Sea, venturing North to the Druze village of Isfiya for dinner. Catching a glimpse into the future at the start-up nation’s OrCam Technologies, developers of a portable, artificial vision device which allows the visually impaired to understand text and identify objects.
For members of the delegation this visit highlighted the legacy of US-Israel relations having gained a better understanding the importance of the longstanding diplomatic relations between the two countries.