Judith Brown
Young enough not to quit and old enough to know better.

A salute to Israel’s 75th anniversary: the International Forum of Hasbara

“As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, with eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope will not be lost.” (Hatikvah)

The words of Israel’s national anthem echo Israel’s resiliency and its role in the world today. A celebration of hope is celebrated at home and the Diaspora.

After 75 years as a State, Israel continues to contribute to the world of music, literature, art, science, and technology. It embraces the world as it develops ways to improve the quality of life for all humankind. Israel’s friendships around the world support its tenacity and remain committed to the challenge of promoting Israel globally.

The Solidarity for the 75th Anniversary of Israel international forum of Hasbara in Jerusalem (September 10 & 11) is a perfect example of global initiatives toward peace and understanding. With the ancient remains of the Tower of David as its backdrop, the forum will be led by Israeli House (Beit Israel) founder and business entrepreneur Itsik Moshe. The forum combines the 75th anniversary of Israel celebration with viable sustainability of public advocacy around the world. Itsik Moshe brings with him a “practical plan” in solving the financial and public relations challenges and burdens in advocacy activities worldwide.

Itsik Moshe is Chairman of Israel GeorgiaChamber of Business, Founder & Chairman of Israeli House NET, Vice President of the European Alliance for Israel (EAI), and Board member of the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ). Itsik Moshe who survived an assassination attempt by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, in November last year, is enthusiastic in coming to Jerusalem to introduce what he calls a “methodology” that disseminates information and encourages involvement from all political and social global arenas in bilateral activities, discourse, and awareness.

Israel House (Beit Israel) is a nonprofit foundation and agency based on the concept of public diplomacy (hasbara), that enables effective diplomatic international friendships with Israel. Israel House was founded in 2012 by Itsik Moshe in an attempt to reverse negative attitudes toward Israel especially by the UN. The pilot plan was launched in Georgia with participation from Israeli Parliamentarians, public opinion leaders, and international organizations. The Israeli House and Itsik Moshe’s goal is to establish 100 representative offices around the world without any financial assistance from the Israeli government.

The upcoming September 10-11, 2023, Forum in Jerusalem is an important steppingstone toward realization, that an attitude and opinion can be reversed through sincere cooperation and advocacy for Israel in its attempt to reach out in peace toward the global community. The participation of 18 countries, their ambassadors, top Israeli government officials from both sides of the aisle, and heads of international Jewish organizations, makes this event unique in its concept and objectives.

The forum showcases international entertainers like opera singer Elmina Hasan, “Queen” of Hebrew song Kristi Japaridze, and the Hora Jerusalem dance ensemble. The forum will launch the Israeli House 2024 calendar of events that include ongoing public relations projects in Europe, and a few “firsts”, like the observance of International Holocaust Day in Sri Lanka (In participation with the Sri Lanka Friendship Association in the Israeli parliament).

An example of a most significant project to date for Israel outside the country is the restoration of cluster of ancient synagogues. Standing in the heart of old Izmir, Turkey, are Jewish synagogues dating back to the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 15th Century. An unlikely place to imagine a historical Jewish past in a prevalent Muslim country. A testimony to the approximate 50,000 Jews who lived in harmony with their Muslim neighbors and who managed to build viable Jewish communities, traditions, and lives some five hundred years ago.  When we currently opine on the rift between faiths and their traditions, the Izmir synagogue project proves otherwise. With perseverance and the right attitude, bridges can be built and crossed between religious beliefs and nationalities.

The Kiriaty Foundation, with the support of the Turkish Government and other agencies, spearheaded the restoration project of those synagogues that were deemed viable to be “saved” and restored to their original splendor. This included the myriad of religious artifacts and tapestries that were cleaned, repaired, and placed back in the synagogues for viewing. The fact that Izmir is an integral part of the Turkish tourist economy, makes the Izmir project not only significant, but the most relevant. Millions visit Turkey and Izmir every year. The unprecedented cooperation between the international private community, NGO’s, and GO’s.

The success of the synagogue restoration project and understanding the unique Jewish history in the Ottoman Empire, led the Kiriaty Foundation to another new initiative of establishing a Jewish-Ottoman Museum for Tolerance and Coexistence. The museum objective is to showcase the “historical attitude” of the Ottoman Empire toward Jews and minorities persecuted in Europe during the Inquisition. The Turkish government sets this museum project apart as one symbolic of interfaith and intercultural synergy.

The museum will span across six centuries of “co-creation and co-existence” between Muslims, Jews, and Christians in an area one would consider hostile to Jews. A legacy that brings to the forefront and to the current generation possibilities of peace and the recognition that the right mindset allows the integration of faiths and tolerance to unite and prosper.

Similar examples of codetermination between states and countries will not only improve relations between Israel and the rest of the world, but also educate those who currently have a negative opinion of Israel, that tolerance is possible without compromising one’s identity. The goal of the International Forum in Jerusalem is to demonstrate that bilateral international cooperation can be achieved through sustainable informative and measurable methodology that goes beyond economic solutions. “We come now to Jerusalem with proof of self-financed work model.” (Itsik Moshe)

Attendees will include: the World Zionist Organization (WZO), European Alliance for Israel (EAI), Global Israeli Leadership (GIL), Israeli House Net, ministers, and members of the Knesset. Included also in the list of leaders and representatives are H.E Isaak Herzod President of the State of Israel, and Mr. Eli Cohen, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Itsik Moshe succinctly concludes that “One million Israelis who are living outside the state of Israel make up a potential of one million Israeli ambassadors, and when there are 8 million Israelis and Diaspora Jews around the world, there should not be a budget problem for financing advocacy.”

The Solidarity for 75th Anniversary of Israel, an International Forum of Hasbara starting on September 10, at the Tower of David in Jerusalem, a tribute to the Jewish spirit and “…the two-thousand-year-old hope…” that …” will not be lost”.

(Point of Contact for the International Forum is Uri Barner:

About the Author
Judith was born in Malta but is also a naturalized American. Former military wife (23 years), married, and currently retired from the financial world as Bank Manager. Spent the last 48 years associated or working for the US forces overseas. Judith has a blog on www.judith60dotcom Judith speaks several languages and is currently learning Hebrew.