Ambassador Ido Aharoni spoke at Ohef Sholom Temple as part of the Community Relations Council of the United Federation of Tidewater and community partners’ 8th annual Israel Today series on Wednesday, May 8.
As a member of Israel’s Foreign Service for 25 years, and as the founder of the Brand Israel Group, Ambassador Aharoni is no stranger to the often heavy critique and condemnation that Israel receives from the international community. But why Israel?
Ambassador Aharoni explained during his talk that, “It is a terrible injustice to know a place just for its negative issues and this is what happened to Israel. So, how can Israel’s public image be improved? Not by changing Israel, but by changing the conversation,” he says.
Israel is more than the conflict, it is a place of innovation, education, culture, and diversity, said Aharoni. As a leader in water management and desalinization, for example, Israel provides clean water to the refugees in Syria. Of Israel’s nine universities, six are ranked in the top 500 globally, four of those six are ranked in the top 200, and two of those four are ranked in the top 50. Additionally, Israel is a leader in technological and scientific innovation, publishing the highest number of scientific papers per capita. “Through the power of knowledge, the face of Israel can change,” he said, “empowering its diverse and vibrant community to thrive even more.”
To learn more about the Israel Today series, visit JewishVA.org/IsraelToday or contact RGross@ujft.org.