Press Coverage

Media Coverage

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

The Jerusalem Post: US Mayors Bond with Israel

NY Jewish Life, OpEd by Syracuse (NY) Mayor Stephanie Miner: A Belief in Delivering the Promised Land

Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel: What Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero Learned in Israel

Knoxville Mayor’s Overseas Trip Teaches Strong Lessons; Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero went overseas to Israel with a group of mayors from across the country


Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

AJC Project Interchange participant Palki Sharma wrote the following reflection of her experience in Israel:

There is an Israel beyond the gunfire

Carrot juice and gunfire

Israel is a country that stuns you with its beauty and incongruity. And that’s an understatement. Our chopper (called BDS, not weird at all!) landed on Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. It’s a dormant volcano where lava seeps from the base and not the top of the mountain, leaving the soil around it rich with minerals. There are lush vineyards as far as the eye can see. The Instagram happy lot had just turned on their selfie cameras when we were beckoned to the other side.

There was a UN convoy practicing a drill. The young Irish officers refused to talk. But a few minutes down the road we met more soldiers, men, and women, resting with their backpacks and machine guns, lying under olive trees, posing for cameras. War, perhaps, is just a state of mind for some.

We were headed to cafe Kofi Annan, packed with tourists and students. Kofi Annan in Hebrew sounds like ‘coffee on the clouds’. Apt. around tables laden with salads, coffee, carrot juice, pizzas and oranges, animated conversation ebbed and flowed. It was like any other cafe, except that you heard booming sounds intermittently.

It’s the ISIS fighting, said our guide. He passed on a pair of binoculars. In the distance, you could see the Syrian border. This is the only place in the world or one of the only since I don’t know better, where you can see the full theatre of war, live and unedited, perched on barstools.

After a while, the sounds ceased. It’s lunch break for the fighters, we were told. Of course. Ideology gives only so much sustenance.

The scene reminded me of Tom Friedman’s description of the Lebanese war in the 80s. An American friend of his was invited for dinner on Christmas Eve. Amid artillery salvos and machine gun fire that shook the neighborhood, the hostess put off serving dinner hoping that things would calm down. After a while, she asked, “Would you like to eat now or wait for the cease-fire?” I thought it was a bit exaggerated. Not anymore. It’s a coping mechanism.

For a country that has lived under the constant shadow of war when it’s not fighting one, this perhaps is the only way to survive and thrive. The Israelis have turned it into a fine art, complete with blooming hydrangeas in the kitchen garden and lace doilies on the window sill.

More power to Merav!

We were led into a fine dining restaurant with sparkling wine goblets and oversized lampshades. We were to meet a member of Knesset from the ruling coalition. Merav Ben Ari was to brief us on policy and politics. She walked in pushing a pram. Her three-month-old daughter gurgled greetings as the mother shook hands with us. She’s the first lawmaker in Israel to have conceived a baby with a gay friend and opted for shared parenting out of wedlock. At the risk of soundly too credulous and callow, I have to say I cannot imagine a politician in India, much less a woman, doing this and being cheered for it.

She discussed the corruption allegations against Prime Minister Netanyahu while burping her baby and forking her ravioli. The picture was almost inspirational - a working mother, unapologetic about tending to her baby while meeting a delegation, not expected to prove her dedication to her profession while balancing it with ‘life’. Envy.

All the exhortations about leaning in and claiming your space seemed fraudulent. It’s not really a choice for most women where I come from. It’s an offer with pre-conditions foisted on them. Most struggle to convince their bosses that they are committed professionals and to their children that they are committed mothers while living in the constant guilt that they might end up being neither.

Ben Ari gave me hope. But unfortunately, I did not follow much of what she said. My contemplative mood coupled with an overdose of cheesecakes that had me looking forward to a nap on the bus to our next destination.

Palki Sharma traveled to Israel for the AJC’s Project Interchange 2017.

Media Coverage - UN Ambassdors July 2017

Thursday, July 20th, 2017


The Jerusalem Post:
AMBASSADOR to the United Nations Danny Danon achieved two missions simultaneously last week, when, in cooperation with AJC Project Interchange, and together with American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris, he led a delegation of nine UN ambassadors to Israel.

The delegation included ambassadors from Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Togo, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Poland and Estonia. Given the strenuous overtures that Israel is making toward Africa, the fact that the majority of ambassadors were African countries served a dual purpose.

During the five-day visit, which included Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the northern and southern border areas, and even Ramallah, the ambassadors inspected centers for innovation in agriculture and water technology, met with experts in these fields and also discussed developments in the region with government officials.

But the most moving aspect of their visit was at the Galilee Medical Center, where director-general Dr. Masad Barhoum briefed them on the treatment of Syrians wounded during that country’s civil war. Over the past four years, he said, 1,600 Syrians, some suffering critical wounds, have been treated by GMC physicians and nurses. The number represents 70% of all wounded Syrians treated in Israel, he said. The ambassadors also had an opportunity to meet with some of the patients.

Times of Israel: Nine UN Ambassadors View Jewish Roots to Jerusalem on City of David Tour

Jerusalem Post: It’s Not Personal, It’s the UN

Media Coverage UNESCO Ambassadors

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

As Israel Opposes UNESCO Jerusalem Resolution, Ambassadors Visit Capital

U.S. Latino Leaders Observe Complexities of Arab-Israel Relations

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Press Coverage — UN Ambassadors, July 2016

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Delegation of UN Ambassadors Visits Site of Sarona Terror Attack, Arutz Sheva, August 1, 2016

UN-veiling the Israeli narrative, YNET, August 1, 2016

Netanyahu’s romance with Africa to heat up at the UN in September, Jerusalem Post, August 2, 2016

UN Ambassadors receive security briefings on Israel visit, Jerusalem Post, August 2, 2016

Press Coverage — Uruguayan Political Leaders 2016

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Nutrida delegación legislativa fue a Israel,, July 18, 2016

Diputado Pablo Iturralde (PN): “Israel, una experiencia absolutamente enriquecedora”,, July 22, 2016

1 de agosto- Los parlamentarios que viajaron a Israel, trasmitirán impresiones de su viaje,, July 22, 2016

Encuentro con políticos que viajaron a Israel,, August 2, 2016

Press Coverage — Indian Opinion Leaders 2016

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Tata, M&M, Rel Group in Race for Tie-up with Israel’s IAI, Hindustan Times, July 1, 2016

From Startup Nation to Orthodox State, thREAD, June 19, 2016

Namaste Israel, thREAD, June 17, 2016

Homes That Don’t Belong, thREAD, June 15, 2016

Israel’s Many Flashpoints, thREAD, June 13, 2016

An Indian Corner in the Old Quarters of Jerusalem, Hindustan Times, June 6, 2016

Palestinian Leadership Expects Ramallah to be in Modi’s Itinerary During Israel Visit, Hindustan Times, May 29, 2016

After West Asia, PM sets his sights on Israel, The Hindu, May 29, 2016

Syrian Fighters Find Respite in This Israeli Hospital, Hindustan Times, May 28, 2016

Miami-Dade College and Tel Aviv University Host Startup Nation Conference

Friday, May 13th, 2016

On May 17, Miami-Dade College’s Idea Center and Tel Aviv University’s Entrepreneurship Center are partnering together to host the inaugural Startup Nation Conference in Miami. This first of its kind conference is a direct result of last year’s Project Interchange seminar for Miami Entrepreneurs and the MOU between Miami-Dade College and Tel Aviv University that stemmed from Leandro Finol, a participant in the seminar.

Read more about this conference:

  • Miami Herald: “Miami Dade College, Tel Aviv University to Host Startup Nation Conference” and “How To Think Big: Israeli Entrepreneurs Show How It’s Done
  • Sun Sentinel: “Miami-Dade College Partnering with Tel Aviv University for Startup Nation Conference” and “Startup Nation Conference Considered a Success
  • Knight Foundation: “Miami, Tel Aviv Exchange Insights on Entrepreneurship with Startup Nation Conference
  • Check out the opening video!

    Azerbaijani Ambassador Elin Suleymanov Discusses Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and its Effect on Israel’s Region

    Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

    Azerbaijani Ambassador to the U.S., Elin Suleymanov, discusses with the current conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the possible ripple effects it could have on the Middle East. Full article can be found here.