A Look Back - Israel in 2013

Published on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 by Marina Rozhansky

A Look Back - Israel in 2013
As we reflect on 2013 it will be remembered as a year of significant achievements and new challenges for Israel.

The vibrancy of Israel’s democracy was on full display as Israelis made their voices heard at the polls and elected the 19th Knesset.

Iran’s nuclear program continues to be a source of concern. Israel stands firm in its view that diplomacy and economic pressure coupled with a credible military option is the only way to prevent a nuclear-capable Iran. And, any agreement between Iran and the international community must include the dismantling of Iran’s enrichment capacity.

This year, Israel entered into negotiations with the Palestinians with the clear goal of achieving a permanent peace agreement based on the principle of two states for two peoples, with Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

At this time of great uncertainty and upheaval in the Middle East, Israel continues to be the one vibrant and strong democracy in the region, on which the United States can always depend.

When Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, Israel wasted no time in sending aid, setting up a field hospital, and repairing damaged infrastructure. In two weeks, the Israeli team treated nearly 2700 patients, performed 60 surgeries and assisted in 36 births. The team from Israeli NGO IsraAID has been training local professionals on dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and helping people get their lives back on track.

We celebrated Israel’s 65th independence day by bringing a taste of Israel to Hollywood. Top Israeli chefs created a culinary fusion at Nobu Malibu and Jar Restaurant and showcased Israel with its own mixture of cultures, flavors and aromas. At Nobu we honored Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, for his unwavering support for the State of Israel.

This year Israel once again positioned itself as a powerhouse of medical, environmental and technological innovation, providing solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. Notable achievements include the $1.4 billion acquisition of the Waze navigation app by Google; and Israeli professors Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

In late-November, we were joined by Edward James Olmos, Eva Longoria, Haim Saban, Moctesuma Esparza, Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, and Grace Yoo at Fiesta Shalom at Sea, a historic event bringing together leaders from across the Southland to celebrate community diversity. Celebrities, elected officials, community leaders, faith leaders, and members of the diplomatic corps gathered to commemorate the special relationship between the United States and Israel, the importance of inter­-community dialogue, and solutions for common challenges.

This is just a glimpse of the tremendous work that has been done in Israel and by our office in Los Angeles. We look forward to continuing our work in 2014 within the diverse communities of the Southwest United States and sharing Israel with all of you.

I want to take a moment to thank and recognize the amazing Consulate team here in Los Angeles for all of their hard work and effort throughout the year. Without these tireless people, none of this would be possible.

I wish you a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2014!

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