StandWithUs VIP Leadership Mission - May 2019
Participants arrived during the weekend that Hamas was firing rockets into Israel, yet enjoyed a peaceful week just prior to Eurovision beginning. The tour was well rounded, giving everyone a chance to be a part of Israeli fabric and emotions during Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism) and joyous celebration on Yom Haazmaut.
Welcome To Tel Aviv!
On the night we arrived, after checking in at the gorgeous new Setai Hotel in Jaffa, we received a welcome from the head of the inernational division of the Tel Aviv City Municipality. We were then surprised to see the City Hall building light up with StandWithUs, as the local government welcomed us to Israel!
Exclusive Experiences In Jerusalem
There were meetings with government and military officials, a visit to the Western Wall tunnels where our guide opened up rooms that are not open to the public, and a Shabbat dinner in the living room of San Diego lay leaders who have a magical view directly across from the Kotel.
Up Close In The Rocket Zone
We visited the Gaza border, met with the army located there, visited a moshav that is less than a mile from the border and picked delicious tomatoes, courtesy of one of the families who live there. Speaking to the families who live next to the border, they had just spent long days living in bomb shelters, unsurprisingly, due to the Hamas barrage of rockets attacks just prior to our arrival.
Exclusive briefing at Tel Aviv City Hall - joined by Eytan Shwartz, head of the international division of Tel Aviv Municipality. Following this meeting, the City Hall building lit up with the word StandWithUs to honor our arrival and our work for Israel!
Exclusive military briefing on the Gaza border with the special IDF border intelligence reconnaissance unit
Laying a wreath at the Machal Memorial for the oversees volunteers who fought and fell in Israel's war of independence - it was an honor to meet with people who fought in1948.
We met at IDF Headquarters with Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, who, after our meeting, took us up to the
roof top helicopter pad where we had a stunning view of the city.
We went on a wonderful tasting tour of Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda Market, as part of a special guided tour to experience the different backgrounds of the diverse people of the Jewish State.
Knesset Member Gilad Erdan, Minister of Strategic Affairs, visited us at the StandWithUs Education Center for a briefing, as did Gdeer Mree - one of the newest members of Knesset, the first Druze Female representative who told us a little about her aspirations for the Druze community, who are so loyal to the State of Israel. At the StandWithUs Education Center, we also were delighted to meet with SpaceIL Chairman Morris Kahn who is the major funder for Israel's Beresheet Moon Mission. We also enjoyed briefings from the Director of our newest office in Brazil, Andre Lajst, and our incredible social media team.
Enjoying the tastiest cherry tomatoes ever, grown on the closest Israeli community to Gaza and frequently in the firing line of Hamas rockets
Special briefing at the IDF Headquarters by Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, followed by a 360 degree lookout from the rooftop helicopter pad viewing Tel Aviv
An engaging, informative and enjoyable tour of the Jerusalem "basin."
Private briefing by the Member of Israel Knesset and Minister of Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan
Getting ready to serve IDF Lone soldiers at a BBQ on Independence Day!
Discussing Israeli diversity and democracy with Gdeer Mree -
the first Druze Female representative in the Knesset
Exclusive meeting with SpaceIL Chairman and main funder of Israel's Moon Mission, Beresheet, Morris Kahn
Philanthropists Morris Kahn and Sammy Sagol with our group
Politics Over Lunch
Arriving hot on the heels of the Israeli elections, we received a political briefing from the Jerusalem Post Knesset Correspondent, Lahav Harkov, an Alumnus of the StandWithUs Israel Fellowship, and after a Shabbat banquet at the King David Hotel, we heard from the inspiring author of “The Zionist Ideas,” Prof. Gil Troy.
Wine Tasting And More!
Following a wine-tasting lunch in the Binyamin region, we reviewed the latest in anti-BDS legislation in the United States together with Prof. Eugene Kontorovitch. International Businessman and philanthropist, Patrick Drahi, the founder of i24 News hosted us at the i24 Studios. Former diplomat and right-hand man to President Shimon Peres, Nadav Tamir welcomed us to the new Peres Center for Innovation and we also met Peres’ son-in-law there, a noted physician.
As Israel heads into its 7th decade since the rebirth of the State, we explored Ethiopian-Israeli identity with an incisive speaker who made his own way through the dessert to Israel and we also looked at Arab-Israeli realities with our own Muhammad Zoabi, a well known Israeli-Arab Zionist who is currently in the Israeli army.
Our VIP Leadership Mission enjoyed a Gala Dinner in Jerusalem with 200 other Israeli supporters of StandWithUs and were privileged t