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Making Friends for Israel Since 1971

The America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) has been building and mobilizing grassroots support for Israel and strengthening the relationship between the two countries through people-to-people activities for 50 years.

By sending Leadership Delegations to Israel, conducting outreach to program alumni and other interested parties, engaging in Pastor/ Educator Seminars, and hosting an annual Youth Ambassador Student Exchange (YASE), AIFL continues the vision of its founders. These leaders sought to promote a strong and enduring friendship and cooperative bond between Americans and Israelis of all ages, faiths, ethnic backgrounds and political orientations.

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Our mission is to increase Americans’ understanding of the contemporary Israel story — its entrepreneurship, culture, medical research, environmental protection initiatives, and so much more.

This is a story unknown to most Americans, because the media usually presents Israel principally through the lens of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Broadening that lens is critical to building greater appreciation and support for Israel.

our history

AIFL Through the Years

1971

The America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) is formed and “dedicated to the promotion and development of mutual friendship and understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the State of Israel through the interchange of cultural, educational, artistic, and scientific knowledge between both democracies.”

1973

AIFL celebrates the bond between the American Labor Movement and the State of Israel with the first in a series of testimonial dinners at the New York Hilton.

1976

Commemorating the U.S. Bicentennial, AIFL publishes two important booklets: “Birth of Two Nations” and “A Legend is Born.”

1977

AIFL initiates a youth program to Israel for 29 New York City high school students, who travel to Israel for a month and participate in Israeli social, cultural and educational activities.

1980

AIFL showcases the Israeli invention of Tuboponics, a highly productive, space-saving means of growing plants without soil and an important step forward in urban farming.

1982

AIFL begins to support and launch pro-Israel groups, among them Project Interchange, which arranges 10-day seminars in Israel for groups of Americans engaged in public life.

AMEDEL, a division of AIFL, is formed to broaden understanding of the modern Jewish world, with a focus on Israel and its people. AMEDEL facilitates production and distribution of programs for television and other forms of media.

1985

Between 1985 and 1990, AIFL conducts the AIFL Young Journalist Exchange Program for 15 Israeli young professional journalists and 15 American students of journalism. The program is funded by the USIA through the President’s International Youth Exchange Initiative.

1991 | Partners for Democracy Award

The America-Israel Friendship League establishes the Partners for Democracy Award to recognize individuals who have been both champions and activists for the cause of democracy. It is the highest award given by AIFL.

1999 | AIFL Launches “Citizenship Through Exports Exchange”

Cedric and June Dempsey provide the foundation for building sports and educational exchanges between young American and Israeli athletes, coaches and referees from diverse racial, religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. These bilateral exchanges emphasize and encourage the values of good citizenship, sportsmanship and leadership, and imbue in each participant a sense of tolerance, understanding, appreciation of differences, and respect for self and others.

2001

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon delivers the keynote address at AIFL’s Partners for Democracy Awards Dinner.

2007

AIFL launches Israel Day at the New York Stock Exchange.

2010

AIFL launches its “Strength Through Diversity” initiative with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Simon Wiesenthal NY Tolerance Center.

2011

AIFL establishes its Think Tank to explore Zionism and Judaism, with an emphasis on independent and fresh thinking. AIFL Think Tank excels in bringing in valuable outside perspectives and has issued dozens of position papers. AIFL hosts Shlomo Molla, MK, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset for a tri-city tour and a roundtable discussion, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling,” which also describes his rise to influence and the status of the Ethiopian Jewish community.

2013

AIFL takes a leading role in countering an Israel divestment campaign led by members of the Presbyterian Church. AIFL arranges a delegation to Israel for the Church’s senior clergy, after which the church abolishes the resolutions calling for divestment at its General Assembly. YASE alumni lead AIFL at the annual Celebrate Israel Day Parade in the streets of New York City.

2014

AIFL honors the Iron Dome Project, a joint project facilitated by Israeli technology and American financing, that is responsible for saving thousands of lives in Israel. “And so, not only have we been supportive of Israel in its right to defend itself, but in very concrete terms – for example, in support of the Iron Dome program that has intercepted rockets that are firing down on Israeli cities – we’ve been trying to cooperate as much as we can to make sure that Israel is able to protect its citizens.” — President Barack Obama, August 1, 2014

2015

AIFL initiates its Pastor-Educator Seminar program “Why Israel?” to reach local pastors and Christian educators, the key opinion-makers at the grassroots level.

2018

AIFL welcomes back the Israeli cities of Haifa and Modi’in to its Youth Ambassador Student Exchange Program.

2021 | 50 Years of Impact

For 50 years, AIFL has enhanced the bonds of friendship between the people of the United States and Israel by engaging and educating people of all ages, faiths, ethnic backgrounds and political orientations to better understand the common foundations of both countries. These common bonds sustain deep and long-term friendships.

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