Trio from Jacksonville joins JFNA in New York to discuss world issues at the U.N.
BY MATT FRANZBLAU
Federation Communications Director
Photos by Jonathan Levine - JFNA
Federation executive director Alan Margolies, along with former Jewish Federations of North America board of trustees treasurer Stephen Silverman and his wife Judy, made a historic trip to Manhattan last month, along with leaders from other federations across the continent to discuss a variety of world issues affecting Israel, the Middle East and diaspora Jewry at United Nations headquarters. Members of this continental group of leaders discussed issues including the status of Israel in the United Nations, implementation of the Iran deal, the plight of displaced Ukrainians, in addition to the Middle East refugee crisis and European anti-Semitism.
"I think it was a great opportunity to not only meet with representatives from JFNA but to meet with delegates from the United Nations, to help build a positive relationship with the ambassadors so that they at least would support Israel when it comes up for vote next year of becoming a member of the security council," Stephen Silverman explained of his experience. "When you're meeting one-on-one or in a group it makes a significant difference because they said a lot of things that were surprisingly very open and honest in all of the sessions that we attended."
During their various sessions, the Silverman's, Margolies and their counterparts met with a number of high ranking officials including, Israel Ambassador Danny Danon, Canadian Ambassador Michael Grant, French Ambassador François Delattre, and Ukrainian Deputy Chief of Mission Yuriy Vitrenko.
"After Being in the United Nations, and speaking with the Israeli staff members who have to pass the pro-Palestinian displays in the lobby every day, it just shows these men and women's dedication to Israel and the Jewish people," Judy Silverman took remembered from her visit. "One of the things I was really amazed by was the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations, because I didn't quite have an understanding going in of the productive working relationship that Ukraine and Israel have."
The group's final meeting of the day was scheduled with Antonella Caruso, Director of the United Nations Middle East and West Asia Division. She was joined by Stephane Dujarric, a French national with prior experience as a journalist for ABC, in addition to the spokesman for the current Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, as well as Nicole Ganz Political Affairs Officer of the Middle East Team.