Reaching American Youth


Kudos to Gary Rosenblatt for his timely and thoughtful interview with Israeli Consul General Ado Aharoni, who puts forth eloquently the need for expanding the numbers of American youth beyond the “small circle of pro-Israel advocates who can be effective in making Israel’s case” (“We’re Changing The Conversation About Israel,” July 12).

As chairman of the board of the America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL), founded in 1971 to win friends and support for Israel, I heartily concur with Aharoni, a tireless champion of the Jewish people, in his campaign to attract the young and enlarge the scope of the Israeli dialogue to include a focus on the considerable achievements of Israelis in multiple areas.

Moreover, AIFL is pleased to note that the young American blogger, referred to in the article for his public criticism of Alice Walker’s highly critical comments about Israel in her new novel, penned his response after visiting Israel in June under the auspices of the AIFL’s first “Writers and Bloggers” mission.

We congratulate Birthright Israel’s excellent efforts in providing trips to Israel for young adults, 18 to 26. Our Youth Ambassadors Student Exchange program (YASE) has provided a younger demographic —10th and 11th grade American public high school student leaders of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and religions —with an opportunity to participate in a month-long study-exchange program in Israel.

By reaching out to teenagers, YASE empowers them to become advocates for Israel in their local communities and, later, on, college campuses.

Chair, America-Israel Friendship League Manhattan