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A periodic e-newsletter from the B’nai B’rith World Center – Jerusalem, Pesach 2018/5778


Strategic Challenges in Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Gulf

The B’nai B’rith World Center coordinated an international conference on “Strategic Challenges in Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Gulf” sponsored by BBI, the Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Studies (BESA) and the Center for Righteousness and Integrity (CRI). This was the third in a series of joint international conferences undertaken with BESA and RCI over the past three years at the initiative of the World Center.  The conference, held at Bar Ilan University on February 22, offered cutting edge discussion of the new strategic challenges in the Persian Gulf, addressing such question as: Can Iran’s hegemonic drive be contained and its nuclear program reversed? How likely is Iranian-Israeli confrontation in Syria? Will Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman succeed in reforming the kingdom? How real is the evolving Israeli-Saudi alliance? Are the Gulf states a spent power?
BBI President Gary Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin addressed alongside leading experts from Israel and abroad. The lectures can be viewed here:


Jewish Rescuers’ Citation to Enzo Cavaglion

B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem director Alan Schneider conferred a Jewish Rescuers’ Citation upon Enzo Cavaglion (99 years old) on January 21 in Cuneo, Italy, in recognition of his heroism in saving the lives of Jewish refugees in northern Italy during the German occupation. 

Enzo Cavaglion was one of the 14 founding members of the partisan group “Italia Libera” (Free Italy), established on Sept. 12, 1943 (the same day that Cuneo was occupied by the German First SS Panzer Division — by Duccio Galimberti, an outspoken anti-Fascist lawyer from the city. They ensconced themselves in the sanctuary of the Madonna del Colletto, 18 kilometers to the west of Cuneo. Enzo and his younger brother, Riccardo, stayed with the group until October 1943, when they had to leave to help their own families escape arrest in Cuneo. In addition to the combat they waged against the Germans and Italian Fascists, Enzo and Riccardo endangered themselves to help Jews who sought refuge in villages around Cuneo. More than 1,000 Jews living in the remote Italian-occupied French Alpine village of Saint-Martin-Vesubie had fled in the face of the German army that invaded the area following the announcement on Sept. 8 of the armistice signed between Italy and the Allies. Men, women, children, the elderly and disabled scaled the Maritime Alps over the international border into Italy in a harrowing ordeal, only to find the Germans already roaming the area. About 300 of these Jews were captured and dispatched to Auschwitz. The remaining 700 found refuge among the welcoming local peasant population. Enzo and Riccardo found hiding places for them, furnished them with the necessary documents and hid them in the mountains in order to evade the Nazis.
Following the presentation at Enzo Cavaglion’s home, a tribute symposium took place at Cuneo’s historic synagogue. In addition to Schneider speakers included Enzo’s son, noted history professor Alberto Cavaglion, Mr. Federico Borgna, Cuneo mayor and city council member Manuele Isoardi, B’nai B’rith Milan President Paolo Eliezer Foà.

Survivor Harry Burger credited Enzo and Riccardo with saving his life and his mother’s life by warning them that the Nazis were hunting for them. Another survivor, Alfred Feldman, wrote in his memoir, “One Step Ahead: A Jewish Fugitive in Hitler’s Europe,” that he witnessed a daring theft of identity cards by Enzo and Riccardo from the mayor’s office in Vignolo, Italy, that were then falsified and distributed to some of the refugees. Enzo performed all of these activities despite the additional danger he faced as a result. 

Since its establishment in 2011, the Jewish Rescuers’ Citation has been presented jointly by the World Center and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Fellow Jews during the Holocaust, in an effort to correct the public misconception that Jews did not rescue fellow Jews during the Holocaust. To date, nearly 200 heroes have been honored for rescue activities in Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Holland and now Italy. While in Italy, Schneider also addressed a meeting of the B’nai B’rith Cassuto Lodge in Milano.

Watch the video of Enzo Cavaglion receiving the Jewish Rescuers’ Citation here. For more information on the history of the Jewish Rescuers’ Citation, click here.

Joint Three-Country Leadership Mission

The B’nai B’rith World Center composed the January 17-19 Israel-leg of the third biennial Greece-Cyprus-Israel leadership mission, a joint initiative of  the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), B’nai B’rith International and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The mission itinerary included meetings with to the top-tier civilian and security leadership in Greece, Cyprus and Israel in an effort to help strengthen the burgeoning relationship between these countries and with the United States. The highlight of the Israel portion was a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin. Meetings also included: Zohar Palti, head of the Political-Military Bureau, Ministry of Defense; MK Avi Dichter, Chairman, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and visit to IDF Naval Base in Haifa.  B’nai B’rith’s delegation included President Gary P. Saltzman, CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, Chairman of the Executive Peter Perlman, B’nai B’rith Foundation Chairman Irving Silver and B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider. The strengthening cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel in a trilateral partnership continues to develop, helping to foster peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean and the broader region.

The delegation of American Hellenic and American Jewish community leaders explored the major economic (business and tourism), energy sector and security developments underway with high-ranking government officials and visits to military installations. 

This Third International Leadership Mission — a joint 18-member delegation — represents the ongoing organizational cooperation between the American Hellenic and American Jewish communities and broad diaspora support for the trilateral relationship. The four organizations built upon two previous, groundbreaking three-country leadership missions in January 2014 and January 2016, which were widely recognized and praised as contributing to intergroup and international cooperation and friendship. 

World Center Convenes Principal Event Marking 100th Anniversary of Balfour Declaration

B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem, as a member of the Balfour Centenary Committee, convened an international conference marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration at the Knesset on Nov. 7. The conference took place under the auspices of Knesset Speaker, MK Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein in the Knesset auditorium with some 300 people in attendance. It was preceded by a special meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and followed by a discussion in the Knesset Plenum marking the 100th anniversary of this seminal document that called for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. 

B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin addressed both the conference – titled “100 Years since the Balfour Declaration—From Declaration to Independence to Regional Power” – and the committee session.

B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Chairman Haim Katz provided an introduction for the conference keynote speaker, Lord Rothschild OM GBE. Additional foreign speakers included renowned historian professor Simon Schama and visiting British parliamentarians: Lord Polak CBE, Honorary President of Conservative Friends of Israel; and Rt Hon Joan Ryan MP, Parliamentary Chair of Labour Friends of Israel (recording of the event can be viewed here). Other speakers included: Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Israel David Quarrey; Dr. Martin Kramer (Shalem College), Prof. Efraim Karsh (Bar-Ilan University) and Members of Knesset: Yehiel Hilik Bar and Yoav Kisch — Co-Chairs of the Israel–Great Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group. In addition to Edelstein, opening remarks were also presented by Zionist Executive Chairman Avraham Duvdevani and Balfour Centenary Committee Chairman Dr. Alan Webber. Special guests included Philip Weyers, great-grandson of Jan Smuts a Zionist supporter and member of the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917. 

World Center Featured at Award Ceremony for Chairman of the Board of Federmann Enterprises

The B’nai B’rith World Center was showcased at an event held on November 8 in Tel Aviv to honor Michael Federmann, Chairman of the Board of Federmann Enterprises Ltd. with B’nai B’rith International’s 2017 Distinguished Humanitarian Award. The Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated dynamic leadership through a commitment to philanthropy and to the communities they serve. This was the first time the award was presented in Israel. Among the participants were leading business and civic figures. A new World Center promotional video (link) was premiered at the event while ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain and India and Germany addressed the gathering alongside BBI President Gary Saltzman, CEO Daniel Mariaschin and World Center Chairman Dr. Haim Katz (a video of the event can be viewed here).   

Since 1969 Michael Federmann has held different managerial positions in the Federmann Group. He serves as Chairman & CEO of Federmann Enterprises, as Chairman of the Board of Elbit Systems and as Chairman of the Board of the Dan Hotels. Dan Hotels was founded in 1947, when two brothers, Yekutiel (Michael Federmann’s father) and Shmuel Federmann bought the Kaete Dan, a guest house located on the Tel-Aviv shoreline. Now in its 70th anniversary, Dan Hotels encompasses 14 hotels and as Chairman of the Board, Michael Federmann oversees more than 3,600 employees. The King David Jerusalem is the Chain’s most prestigious hotel, accommodating world leaders and recently hosted U.S. President Donald J. Trump during his visit to Israel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. The Dan Hotels have just opened their first 230 room hotel in Bangalore, India. Since 2000 Michael Federmann has served as Chairman of Elbit Systems Ltd. Elbit Systems is a leading international defense electronics company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world. The Company operates in the areas of aerospace, commercial aviation solutions, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), homeland security applications, unmanned aircraft and naval systems, advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, electronic warfare (EW) suites, airborne warning systems, electronic intelligence systems, data links, artillery systems, cyber security solutions, military communications systems and radios. The Company employs more than 12,500 people worldwide, with 16 sites in Israel as well as a variety of local entities to support and engage with clients both home and abroad. The Company’s annual revenue in 2016 was U.S. $3.26 billion and the Federmann Group is the major shareholder. Michael Federmann serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of The Hebrew University, since 2009. In 1996 he was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Hebrew University. 

B’nai B’rith Latin America Mission Visits Israel

The B’nai B’rith World Center hosted on November 4-9 a B’nai B’rith Latin America Leadership mission. The mission, initiated by BBI Board Member Jorge Steinfeld (Uruguay), included about 20 BBI leaders from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil: Jorge Stainfeld, BBI President´s Special Advisor; Jacobo Wolkowicz, Member BBI Executive Committee; Fanny Salomon, Chair of Unit Monte Scopus, BB Uruguay; Vito Atijas, former BB District 28 Vice President
Jaime Fuchs, President District 27, Chile, Bolivia, Peru; Ursula Kychental,  former President District 27; former BBI IVP
Rolf Kemper, former BB Paraguay President and Eduardo Kohn, Director, B’nai B’rith Latin America. Elements of the intensive program composed by the World Center included tours of the City of David, Western Wall tunnels, Ammunition Hill, Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, National Hall of Remembrance, the ancient synagogue at Natur in the Golan Heights; meetings with MK Haim Jelin and mayor of Efrat Oded Ravivi; briefings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and visits to leading Israel hi-tech companies. Evaluation of the mission was enthusiastic. Participants wrote that “it was the most extraordinary experience I have had to learn about Israel on-site”; “The quality of the agenda was extraordinary and a unique opportunity to know people and places”; “the quality of the agenda and the opportunity to learn in every meeting and visit was beyond  expectations.” 
In a report about the mission, B’nai B’rith Chile President Jaime Fuchs wrote (Spanish/English Google translation).

B’nai B’rith Presents Aid to Israeli Orphans

​B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider presented thousands of Shekels in financial assistance to Israeli orphans left fatherless by terrorist attacks in recent months. The funds were made available through the BBI’s Edith Pat Wolfson Fund administered for the last ten years by the World Center and B’nai B’rith First Lodge of England. The Edith Pat Wolfson donation was made on September 2017 in the northern Druze village of Mrar (Maghar) to Irin Satawi to benefit her infant child Ramos whose father – Druze policeman Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Hayil Satawi (30) was murdered on July 14th by three Israeli Arabs at the Temple Mount along with his partner First Sergeant Kamil Shanan (22) just two weeks after the child – his first – was born. The BBEngland donation went  to the five orphans of Elad Solomon – Avinoam (11), Reut (9), Amitai (5) and the year-old twins Ariel and Avishai – murdered on July 21 at his parents’ home in Neve Tzuf along with his sister and mother. The presentation was made to their mother Michal who valiantly rescued the children by barricading herself with them in an upstairs room while a Palestinian infiltrator murdered her husband and family during Friday night dinner. 

World Center Represented at Anti-BDS Conferences

B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider attended on February 12  a session of the Knesset Caucus Fighting the De-legitimization of  the State of Israel entitled “Apartout”- Fighting the “Palestinian apartheid” lie. The meeting was opened by chair MK Anat Berko (Likud) who cautioned that through incessant Palestinian propaganda, the Apartheid narrative regarding Israel has taking root around the world far more broadly than recognized by most Israel supporters. The session was attended by caucus members MK Nachman Shai (Labor) and MK Shareen Haskel (Likud) and addressed by Tzahi Gavrieli, Director, National Task Force for Countering De Legitimization & Deputy Director General, Ministry of Strategic Affairs; Attorney, Roei Shaindorf, Deputy Attorney General, international law and Dan Diker of JCPA among others.

South African attorney Luba Mayekiso, Founding Director of Africa for Israel Christian Coalition, rejected the false branding of Israel as an Apartheid state by presenting the true face of South African segregation as he experienced it. David Elhayani, Head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, presented the real economic damage caused by the BDS movement to farmers in his municipality. A week earlier, Schneider attended the first International Lawyers Conference on the legal aspects of the global fight against the delegitimization campaign organized jointly by The International Legal Forum, the Israel Bar Association and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Sessions included “Legal Trends in the Campaign against the Delegitimization of Israel”, “Delegitimization as Contemporary Antisemitism”, “BDS at the Municipal Level”, “Economic Lawfare and the UN Human Rights Council’s Database” among others. Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog opened the conference with speeches rejecting the campaign to single out Israel in legal and international fora. Speakers at the conference included top local and international counter-BDS activists and legal practitioners including BBI Honorary President Richard Heideman who presented his experience representing American victims of terrorism against accessories to terrorism in US courts. 

Schneider Addresses B’nai B’rith international Holocaust Remembrance Day Event

​B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider addressed B’nai B’rith’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day event In New York City on January 31 by phone from Jerusalem  together with Holocaust survivor Haim Roet, Chairman of the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust. The event was dedicated to the stories of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust and included presentations by the Yael Goren, granddaughter of Jewish rescuer from Bratislava Aron Grunhunt and Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Assistant Secretary General for Strategic Coordination, whose grandfather, Jewish mining magnate Dr. Moritz Hochschild, is credited with extricating 9,000 Jews from Europe to Bolivia in the 1940’s and finding jobs and support for them.