The highlight of the visit was a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, held together with B’nai B’rith Israel President Michael Nathan and World Center Director Alan Schneider.
The meeting focused on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Iran nuclear deal, biased treatment of Israel at the United Nations and by the European Union, and economic development.
“Face-to-face meetings in Israel on the most pressing issues of the day give us insights that we could not glean in other ways,” Jacobs said.
Meetings were also held with Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon; Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog, the newly elected chairman of the Labor Party and head of the opposition; Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau; and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.
While in Israel, Jacobs and Mariaschin were briefed by Col. Yoram Laredo, deputy commander of the IDF’s field hospital in the Philippines, on his team’s two-week mission during which the hospital provided treatment to more than 2,600 people following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. (B’nai B’rith opened its disaster relief fund immediately following the typhoon and continues to work with local groups to provide for unmet needs in the community.)
Jacobs and Mariaschin also addressed a session of the B’nai B’rith Israel Board and conferred with B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman and B’nai B’rith Senior Vice President Haim Katz.
During a visit to the Knesset, Jacobs and Mariaschin met with Member of Knesset Nissim Zeev (Shas), chair of the Lobby for the Struggle Against the Delegitimization of the State of Israel; Member of Knesset Shimon Ohayon (Likud Yisrael Beitenu), chair of the Lobby for the Struggle Against Anti-Semitism; and with Member of Knesset Nachman Shai (Labor), chair of the Lobby for U.S.-Israel Relations and Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish People.
Other meetings included the visiting President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina; newly elected Secretary General of the Baha’i International Community Joshua Lincoln; Member of Knesset Yehiel “Hilik” Bar, deputy speaker of the Knesset and secretary general of the Labor Party; senior Israel Foreign Ministry officials; and the ambassadors of Japan, Lithuania and Romania.
Mariaschin also spoke at an event hosted by the ambassador of Bulgaria marking the 70th anniversary of the rescue of the Jews of Bulgaria.
“The significance of a visit such as this cannot be understated. The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem is our long-standing portal to these important discussions with high-ranking Israeli leaders. We discussed such high-agenda items as our pro-Israel advocacy, the Iranian nuclear threat, our efforts to end the anti-Israel bias of the United Nations and peace process issues,” Mariaschin said.