L.A.’s Young Iranian Jewish professionals hot for Israel Bonds
The Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles and New York has always had a very special and strong love of Israel, making the community’s activists one of the strongest allies the State of Israel has in diaspora. I’ve had the rare pleasure of witnessing the young generation of Iranian American Jews particularly supportive and encouraging their friends and family to invest in Israel Bonds. These bonds are not charity or giving money away to just any worthy cause, but rather an investment in the infrastructure and development of countless amazing projects in Israel. Those who invest in turn get their money back plus interest after five or more years.
Earlier this month I had the unique opportunity to hear Avi Balashnikov, a former Israeli government official speak about the tremendous successes of Israel Bonds in the growth of Israel over the last near seven decades. Balashnikov, who is currently the chairman of the board of the “Ronald Lauder Center for Employment in the Negev”, spoke to a gathering of 50 young Iranian Jewish professionals at the Bel Air home of a prominent Iranian Jewish family. For his part Balashnikov has spent quite a substantial amount of time in Israel’s public sector working as director general of the State Comptroller’s Office, director general of the Knesset, director general of the President’s House and director general of the Ministry of Communications. He also currently serves on the boards of numerous institutions and organizations within Israel. Despite the significant upheaval today in much of the Middle East, Israel unsurprisingly is the epicenter of growth, financial stability and a thriving democracy said Balashnikov. A large part of Israel’s sustained growth, incredible development and ability to integrate immigrants from around the world has come from outside investment into the country from funds derived from Israel Bonds.
Yet the trend of support for Israel Bonds is nothing new for L.A.’s Iranian Jewish community who have been strong supporters of the organization for many years. L.A.’s Iranian Jews have typically been giving gifts of $100 Israel Bonds for weddings, bar mitzvahs, child births and other happy occasions. One of the driving forces for why Iranian American Jews support Israel so strongly is because our community experienced firsthand the horrors of fleeing our former homeland and having nowhere to turn to for refugee except for Israel after the 1979 Iranian revolution. Therefore we understand the significant importance of Israel remaining a vibrant homeland for all Jews. In 2010 Israel Bonds honored other Iranian Jews in the city for their push on behalf of Israel Bonds and I had the unique opportunity to cover that event as well.