By: John Buhler In 1943, both houses of the Alabama State Legislature made history by being the first to call for the formation of the State of Israel. This was two years before the end of WWII, the liberation of the death camps, as well as the full understanding of what had happened under Adolph Hitler’s Final Solution. For reasons that many feel could only be described as biblical, our state led the charge by unanimously passing the hand-written proposal into law. That was the beginning of a long and strong relationship with our most ardent ally, and our unique bond is something both states enjoy celebrating to this day. The Alabama-Israel Task Force (AITF) will be hosting several distinguished leaders from Israel for a special Alabama-Israel Leadership Gala in North Alabama on Saturday, November 18th 2017, at 7 p.m. at the Epicenter in Tanner. Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is a leading expert in counter-terrorism and one of Israel’s most decorated heroes. Mr. Eeki Elner is the founder of the Israel Leadership Institute in Sderot-Israel. The evening will honor leadership and celebrate friendship between Alabama and Israel during this 50th Anniversary and Jubilee of the Reunification of Jerusalem. It will include the Israel Leadership Award ceremony and presentation from the Steering Committee and Board of Directors of the Israel Leadership Institute (ILI). The ILI is one of Israel's truly advanced and creative leadership schools, with a board of directors which includes some of Israel's most distinguished leaders across a variety of disciplines. There will also be a special commemorative presentation honoring the Consul General of Israel to Alabama, Lior Haiat. The Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, will be honored as the recipient of the 2017 Israel Leadership Award 2017. Israeli BG Gal Hirsch will present the award personally. The Alabama-Israel Task Force had nominated Governor Ivey for consideration having witnessed first-hand her exceptional work and leadership on behalf of the Alabama-Israel relationship. As Lt. Governor and President of the Senate, her strong keynote at a statewide gathering, her invitation to the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset to address a Joint Session of the Legislature, and her support of anti-BDS resolution and legislation, have been a testament to her leadership and dedication to this historic relationship. As governor, she has carried on that legacy signing a Statement Against Anti-Israel Bias and issuing a Proclamation Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem. The Gala is a charitable benefit for the Alabama-Israel Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response (EPDR) initiative with the Israel Leadership Institute in Sderot. Through AITF’s partnership, ILI was able to launch an 18-month leadership training earlier this year in Kiryat Shmona (Israel) at the request of their Mayor. In addition to the governor, Israeli Consul General, and special guests from Israel, U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy and Kayla Moore are joining us at the Gala, our host district U.S. Congressman Mo and Mrs. Martha Brooks (AL-05) will be attending, and we have secured personal video greetings to the Gala from the Mayor of Jerusalem. We are in the process of securing a personal video greeting from the Speaker of the Knesset (Israel’s National Parliament). The Alabama-Israel Task Force (AITF) seeks to provide a bridge and catalyst for broader cooperative efforts and help cultivate an even stronger and expanding state-to-state relationship between Alabama and Israel for the mutual benefit of their people. For information on the Task Force or the Gala, visit: www.AITF-Web.org By: John Buhler

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