By Stephen E. Lipken
An Israel forum, Support, Education, Engagement (SEE) was held at Beth El Synagogue Center, New Rochelle on Sunday, May 7, featuring a Keynote Speaker and series of Panel Discussions including Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHS); Friends of Israel Defense Force Lone Soldiers Panel; Religious Inclusion and Israel Activism on Campus by StandWithUs (SWU) plus Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism (SPACA).
About 200 community members attended, including children who were treated to a Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) demonstration in the Youth Lounge.
Other organizations showcased were: AJC Global Jewish Advocacy; Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA); Friends of United Hatzalah of Israel (FUHI); Israel Bonds; Israel Cancer Research Fund; Jewish National Fund (JNF); Masorti and Untold News.
Ammunition Hill National Heritage Memorial Events and Marketing manager Alon Wald disseminated JNF’s partnering with Muss High School and Ammunition Hill Site, recalling how JNF evolved from purchasing land in Israel to planting “210 million trees, the most in any country” and attempting to settle 1 million people from the center of Israel to the Negev. Wald’s father Captain Rami Wald was killed in 1967 at Ammunition Hill.
Keynote Speaker, IDF Colonel Kobi Marom (ret.) spoke about Russian control of Syrian airspace, constructing air and naval bases along the Syrian coast. He delineated three main challenges 1) Syria; 2) Refugees and 3) ISIS. “Syria is a tremendous battlefield, giving Iran the opportunity to construct an infrastructure on Golan Heights against Israel.”
Marom stressed that Hamas is developing cyber-technology and using human shields.
“I am very proud that Beth El organized this program for the entire Westchester Community,” Beth El Synagogue Center Rabbi David Schuck stated. “We need to find ways to engage as many people in our communities with Israel. The panels challenged people to deepen their perspectives on what is happening in Israel and I hope that we introduced people to organizations that are working to strengthen Israeli society in ways that reflect their values and interests…”
In addition to Beth El Synagogue Center, other community sponsors of the event included The JCC of Harrison; Scarsdale Synagogues Tremont and Emanu-El; Temple Israel Center, White Plains; Temple Israel of New Rochelle and Westchester Jewish Council.