Bham Council Member Wants Israel At "Forefront"
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER WANTS ISRAEL TIES AT 'FOREFRONT'
Birmingham City Council member Jay Roberson stood in front of the Birmingham City Council last month to express his solidarity with Israel. Councilor Roberson visited Israel recently as part of a delegation coordinated by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and provides Israel educational experiences for legislators, locally and nationally.
Councilor Roberson was inspired by his visit and since his return has taken a leadership role in support of Israel. In March he was part of the Alabama delegation that attended the AIPAC policy conference in Washington DC. He demonstrated this support as he asked his fellow City Council members to pass a resolution he had drafted asking the Council to join him in support of a strong American-Israel relationship.
Longtime Jewish community volunteer leader Donald Hess and The Birmingham Jewish Federation's Director of Community Relations Joyce Spielberger joined him at the podium as he read the resolution which was passed unanimously by the City Council.
Councilor Roberson also showed a short video he had made of his Israel trip to the council and audience. Beautiful images of his visit were displayed accompanied by the councilor's narration. He is pictured here standing on the shore of Israel's Sea of Galilee.
It was clear that members of the Council and audience were moved by this presentation. City Council President Roderick Royal thanked Councilor Roberson for his presentation and commented on the strong relationship our Jewish and African American communities have had throughout Birmingham's history and today. Two members of the Council also took the opportunity to express their appreciation to Donald personally for what the Hess family, longtime community leaders and philanthropists, has meant to Birmingham.
PROGRAM MAY 10TH
During his trip to Israel, Councilor Roberson also had the opportunity to visit Hadassah Hospital. In an email to The BJF, he wrote that this was one of the "highlights" of his trip saying, "During our visit to Hadassah Hospital the administration expressed how they serve the entire country of Israel, including Palestinians injured in combat."
"From its state of the art cancer center, amazing Children's Hospital, and emergency room layout, Hadassah Hospital is efficient in dealing with catastrophic injuries from warfare," he added. "Most important is the Israeli government makes sure that all citizens have healthcare coverage through the investment of its citizens from the poor to the rich. Now that is impressive!"
The BJF's Jewish Community Relations Coalition and the Birmingham Chapter of Hadassah invite everyone to hear more about Councilor Roberson's Israel experience. He will be the keynote speaker at a joint program Thursday, May 10th at 7 pm in the Levite Jewish Community Center Senior Lounge.
Included in the program will be a showing of his video and a presentation of his City Council resolution. The program is free and open to the community. The evening will include the installation of Hadassah's new officers. For more information about the program contact Joyce Spielberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 879-0416 or Sherrie Grunfeld at email@example.com or 249-7154.
The following are text excerpts from Councilor Roberson's video:
Shalom. My pilgrimage to Israel opened my eyes to the spiritual and historic value of Israel. To know that we were on holy ground in Jerusalem...and to have the opportunity to pray at the Wailing Wall was truly indescribable. The highlight of my visit was standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and hearing a sermon from the Book of James on leadership. It motivated me and confirmed my conviction regarding the position of leadership in the City of Birmingham.
On the heels of visiting Israel, I attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington DC. There, more than 13,000 attendees gathered for a common cause, including strengthening the policy-making bond between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As we look towards the future, we must continue to keep the American-Israel relationship at the forefront of our conversations locally, nationally, and abroad.