B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin gave the keynote address at the Sparta-Israel Conference, which was sponsored by the Greek branch of B’nai B’rith and the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute, and held from Sept. 2-4 in Sparta. Mariaschin also received the 2018 King Areus Leadership Award at this international conference.
The conference included several panel discussions which aim to strengthen the relationship between Israel and Greece through technology, entrepreneurship, strategic thinking and tourism. Professor Donald Kagan, who is known for his accomplishments in Classical Hellenic Culture, was recognized at the conference. Additionally, the conference also looked at the “historical and cultural aspects of the ancient friendship between the Spartan Kings and the High Priests of Israel.”
Mariaschin spoke of how B’nai B’rith’s presence in Greece came to be, with the establishment of our lodge in Thessaloniki in 1914, and how it’s helping to strengthen relationships between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. B’nai B’rith has led three trilateral missions to explore the major political, economic and security developments underway in the eastern Mediterranean.
However, Mariaschin also noted that these relationships had been established long ago: “…it must be acknowledged that Diaspora ties among American Jews and Greeks, including those of Cypriot descent, had solidified even before the most cautious attempts at diplomatic rapprochement between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. In a nation of immigrants, the close interaction of Jews and those of Hellenic origin has made good sense. In cities across our country, they were neighbors, parents and merchants who shared common goals for themselves and their children. The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) can look back on a significant act that touched American Jews during a time of great turmoil. As reported in B’nai B’rith’s national magazine, members who attended its 1938 national convention passed a resolution against Hitler ‘condemning the inhuman and cruel persecution of a race and faith which has given so much to the world. Members of AHEPA and American citizens of Greek descent are bound to their co-citizens of the Hebrew faith with manifold ties.’”
We thank the efforts of Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem, for his efforts to bring the conference to fruition.
For more information on the conference click here.
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