AIFL’s 2023 Evening of Friendship and Solidarity Journal | VISIT


Media Contact:

Giovanni Cosetti
America-Israel Friendship League
Tel: 516-325-1990



For over twenty years, the America-Israel Friendship League (“AIFL”) has annually honored business and civic leaders from the United States and Israel for their contributions to strengthening the economic and business relations between the two countries.

This year, the Kenneth J. Bialkin Leadership Award is being awarded to Pfizer Inc., and its CEO, Dr. Albert Bourla, and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, and its CEO Kåre Schultz. The Partners for Democracy Award is being awarded to Danna Azrieli, Chairwoman of the Azrieli Group, and Lisa Silverstein and Tal Kerret, Vice Chairman and President of Silverstein Properties.

“51 years ago, AIFL embarked upon its mission of enhancing the relations between the people of the United States and of Israel by focusing its efforts upon the understanding and awareness of the common foundations of the people of both countries,” says Jonathan Barsade, President of the AIFL. Barsade continues to say that “we are honored to bring together this year’s award recipients, who are prime examples of the similarities and close ties between the two countries, and how these similarities are used to benefit not only the stakeholders of the organizations, but also the people of both countries, and the world at large.”

“In our lives and in our work, we are all about building communities,” said Lisa Silverstein and Tal Kerret, Vice Chairman and President of Silverstein Properties, developers and owners of the World Trade Center and other landmark properties in the United States. They continue to explain that “America and Israel are our homes, and we will continue to do everything we can to strengthen the ties between both countries, and bring Americans and Israelis together to build a better future for our children.”

“Being born in Canada, educated in the US and having made Aliyah to Israel over 20 years ago, I am truly a product of all of these countries,” said Danna Azrieli. “As Chairwoman of the Azrieli Group that manages and operates a global company and builds beautiful buildings on an international scale, I have learned that really there is more that unites people of different backgrounds than what separates us. In addition, I think that we, as leaders of the business community in Israel, have an enormous responsibility to maintain an open mind in everything we do and sustain our relationship with our friends in America.”

“Israel had given the world great hope during the pandemic by providing real world data on our COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, Inc. Dr. Bourla continued to explain that “The country’s excellent health system, digitized medical record sharing and expertise in managing crises allowed them to quickly administer vaccines and share data with the world that demonstrated the significant impact of the vaccine in preventing severe disease and deaths.”

Mr. Kåre Schultz, President and CEO of Teva explains that “Teva is extremely proud to have led the successful operational efforts of the national Covid-19 vaccines rollout in Israel. With our state-of-the-art technologies, unmatched supply chain and distribution capabilities and committed employees, we were able to spearhead this life-saving project that has contributed to vaccination efforts in Israel and served as a model worldwide. It is our mission to improve the lives of patients across the globe and we believe that everyone should have access to quality medicines whether it be for managing disease, fighting infections, or simply improving overall health.”

“The AIFL’s transformation in recent years has enabled the organization to communicate, to a larger audience, its mission that the bonds between Israel and the United States are rooted in common principles and beliefs forming a basis for true friendship,” added Eric Gertler, AIFL’s Chairman, “At the same time, the AIFL has expanded the many ways that it exposes the wonderful parts of Israel to the United States, including its culture, the arts, the food, the music, history and so much more.”

“Our two organizations, AIFL and the America-Israel Friendship League (Israel), practice what we are preaching,”, says Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Chairman of the America-Israel Friendship League (Israel). Gillerman says that these “two different organizations focus on the similarities rather than the difference in order to work together and promote the mission of creating friendship between the people of our two countries, through education, and familiarization, showcasing and discussions, in person and remote.” Gillerman says that “we are managing to show what a complex but wonderful mosaic this creates, a mosaic that is forming common bonds of true friendship.”

About AIFL

For more than 50 years, the America-Israel Friendship League has been building and mobilizing grassroots support for Israel across the United States and strengthening the relationship between the two countries through people-to-people activities. AIFL enhances 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, both of which are built upon principles of democracy, free speech, protection of individual rights and the quest for knowledge and innovation. These common bonds sustain deep and long-term friendships.

AIFL is continuing the vision of its founders, who sought to promote a strong and enduring friendship and cooperative bond between Americans and Israelis by increasing Americans’ understanding of the contemporary Israel story – its entrepreneurship, culture, medical research, agricultural technology, environmental protection initiatives and so much more. This is a story that expands beyond the traditional focus on geopolitical affairs and is unknown to most Americans. Broadening this lens enhances Americans’ understanding of Israel and Israelis, the ties between the people of these two countries, and the bonds of long-term friendship and support for Israel.

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