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Community 'connects' for unique Israel rally


There is one phrase that rings true for anyone following the conflict between Israel and Hamas: the future of Israel affects the future of Jews everywhere, plain and simple.

That’s why Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County decided it was time for a clear statement of solidarity.

To listen to this audio, you will need to install the Flash Player.

Click "play" to the left and listen to the virtual rally for Israel.

Nearly 200 people phoned in from across the United States to take part in the “Stand Strong with Israel” virtual rally. The rally, which functioned as a teleconference, featured expert analysis on the ongoing conflict with Hamas and perspectives from Israel on the humanitarian services being offered through Federation’s Israel Emergency Fund.

Donations to the fund immediately provide emergency housing, meals, trauma care and respite opportunities for tens of thousands of people in Israel who are affected by the ongoing conflict. Through the rally and its communications, donations to the Israel Emergency Fund jumped 20%.


Chaim Shacham, Consul General of Israel to Florida & Puerto Rico

The rally being held in a “virtual” setting allowed people to take part from anywhere. Participants engaged from Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties; Atlanta; Washington, D.C., Philadelphia; New York City; Connecticut; and the Chicago metro area. One caller even listened in from the Auto Train, which transports people and their cars from Florida to Virginia.

Chaim Shacham, Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico, opened up the rally with a clear breakdown on the motives of Hamas, the terrorists’ tactics and Israel’s actions toward peace.

“Hamas exploits civilians. Israel protects civilians,” said Mr. Shacham. He continued, “Israel’s demands are very clear: we have to demilitarize Hamas.”


Jerry Silverman, President & CEO, JFNA

Then Jerry Silverman spoke. Mr. Silverman is president & CEO of Jewish Federations of North America and is currently in Israel witnessing the impact of the work being made possible by Federations.

“Our unrestricted dollars are so critical – they allow us to respond in a millisecond when crises occur,” said Mr. Silverman. “We’ve been able to bring 5,500 children out of the south of Israel for days of fun and respite. That is where the dollars are going.”

He went on to describe several instances of people stopping him throughout his trip in Israel to thank Federations for the work they are ensuring for people at risk.

Mr. Silverman specifically thanked Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County for not only meeting – but exceeding – its commitment to provide vital services to the people of Israel.


Dr. Luis Fleischman, Jewish Community Relations Council

Dr. Luis Fleischman of Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council explained the steps Federation has taken in response to the state and global reaction to the conflict.

Fresh from a trip to Washington, D.C. where he advocated for Israel with Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, Dr. Fleischman also penned letters on behalf of Federation to the consul generals of France, Germany and Great Britain. The letters expressed gratitude for the countries’ support of Israel’s right to defend itself and requested cooperation in Israel’s goal to dismantle Hamas’ military infrastructure. He also co-authored an op/ed article, which you will soon see in south Florida newspapers.

"Make your voice heard by speaking out through letters and emails to your elected officials," Dr. Fleischman urged. "Insist they support Israel's right to self defense and the need to disarm the terrorist Hamas regime."

But when it comes to how you – or anyone, for that matter – can make an immediate difference in Israel, Dr. Fleischman answered without hesitation:

“Anyone who wants to immediately improve the situation for the people of Israel should give to the Israel Emergency Fund.”


Rebecca Caspi, VP, Israel & Overseas, JFNA


Sam Liebovich, Chair, Israel & Global Initiatives

Federation also thanks Rebecca Caspi (Senior Vice President, Israel & Global Initiatives, JFNA) and Sam Liebovich (Chair, Israel & Global Initiatives, Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County) for speaking at the rally.

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