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CEO Dan Mariaschin led a solidarity mission to Israel this week organized by B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider to show the unwavering strength of Jewish support for Israel around the world. 

Participants in the mission included International Vice President for Latin America David Djemal (Panama), International Vice President for Europe Paolo Foa, President of the B’nai B’rith Warsaw Lodge Professor Andrzej Friedman (Poland), International Board of Governors members Jorge Stainfeld (Uruguay), Ilan Shcori (Israel) and B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Haim Katz (Israel).

“This was a solidarity mission like no other in which I have participated,” Mariaschin said. “The unprecedented assault on Israelis on October 7th was also an assault on the entirety of the Jewish people. Going forward, we must dedicate ourselves to cooperation between diaspora communities and Israel in a way never before experienced. B’nai B’rith International pledges to be in the frontline of that cooperation.”

The mission’s intensive itinerary included a visit to the “Nova 6:29” exhibition at the Tel Aviv Expo, created in memory of those murdered at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7, where the group was accompanied by survivor Omri Sasi, a producer of the festival, and B’nai B’rith member Ofer Lior, father of victim Matan Lior who was the festival’s sound engineer.

The mission also visited a chilling IDF exhibition of captured Hamas vehicles and weapons used in its murderous attack against Israel. In the northern city of Kiryat Shmona that is targeted three to four times daily by Hezbollah, the group was briefed by mayor Avichai Stern and viewed rocket damage caused earlier in the week.

In the South, the group visited Sderot, a city that suffered over 50 civilians and 20 security forces casualties. They were briefed at the city’s command and control center and visited the police station that dozens of terrorists had captured and subsequently destroyed.

Facilitated by the Army Spokesman’s Office, the group was briefed by IDF officers at kibbutz Kfar Aza, a community that suffered 63 casualties, 18 kidnapped and one unaccounted for. They also visited kibbutz Be’eri, where member Avner Gat described the harrowing events surrounding the murder and kidnapping of family members among the 93 murdered and eight kidnapped on his kibbutz. Here, the group interacted with IDF soldiers who had just exited Gaza for a brief break at a volunteer-run canteen.

At the Hostages and Missing Families Forum in Tel Aviv, the mission was briefed by Ambassador (ret.) Baruch Bina and other members of the Forum’s diplomatic team and heard an appeal from a relative of hostage Evyatar David, who remains in Hamas captivity. They also visited “Hostages Square,” a focal point for activism on behalf of the more than 100 remaining hostages. 

Over the course of the mission, the group was briefed on current developments concerning the Oct. 7 attack and the ensuing war by:

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former director of Intelligence Analysis in the IDF Intelligence Branch, former National Security advisor and head of the National Security Council

Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization

Ofir Akunis, minister of Innovation, Science and Technology

Amir Ohana, Knesset speaker

Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy, Department of International Relations, Hebrew University, Founding head of the Deborah Institute for Gender and Sustainability Studies, and founder of Israel’s Civil Commission on October 7 Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children

Lt. Col. (res.) Peter Lerner, IDF spokesman for Foreign Media

Ron Dermer, minister of Strategic Affairs and member of the war cabinet

Amb. Emmanuel Nahshon, deputy director general for Media and Public Affairs, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

Amb. Shuli Davidovich, head, World Jewish Affairs and World Religions Division, MFA

Hamutal Rogel Fuchs, director, Jewish Communities Department, MFA

Amb. Amir Weissbrod, deputy director general, U.N. and International Organizations Division, MFA

Amb. Jonathan Peled, deputy director general, Latin America Division, MFA

Dani Dayan, chairman, Yad Vashem Directorate

Stephanie Hallett, deputy chief of Mission, U.S. embassy, Jerusalem

The B’nai B’rith mission participants brought military-grade backpacks and packed gear—purchased with an allocation from B’nai B’rith’s Israel Emergency Fund—and presented it to IDF soldiers at a volunteer logistical center established by attorney Yifat Amit and supported by B’nai B’rith Israel. They also held a meeting with B’nai B’rith Israel President Mano (Emanuel) Cohen and Ilan Shcori, both of whom are responsible for international relations at B’nai B’rith Israel.

The mission ended in the Bedouin city of Hura, where a condolence visit was made to the family of Samer al-Talalka—one of three Israeli hostages accidentally killed by IDF soldiers. Samer’s father, Fuad, was hosted by B’nai B’rith at a conference in Paris on Dec. 13 that highlighted the ongoing humanitarian consequences of Hamas’ atrocities in Israel.