(Courtesy of One Israel Fund) One Israel Fund, the premier humanitarian organization providing for the security, safety and humanitarian needs of the residents of Judea and Samaria, paid a visit to our nation’s capital last month. Amidst the backdrop of Yom Yerushalayim, Scott M. Feltman, the organization’s executive vice president came to Washington to brief numerous members of Congress about the incredible work that the organization is involved in on the ground, day-in and day-out. Among the members of Congress that Feltman met with were Don Bacon of Nebraska; Carlos Gimenez of Florida; Doug Lamborn of Colorado; Nick Langworthy of New York; Carol Miller of West Virginia; Max Miller of Ohio; Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa; Greg Murphy of North Carolina; and Rudy Yakym III of Indiana.
As chronicled in The Jerusalem Report, the organization was created after the signing of the Oslo Accords in order to provide for the various litany of needs of the residents of those living in Judea and Samaria. In addition to the critical preventive security equipment that One Israel Fund provides, the organization also fills gaps in the areas of medical, education, recreation and community development that exist in these communities. Among its recreational, educational and community projects are playgrounds, cultural centers, day care and senior care centers, programs for special needs and at-risk youth, and much more. One Israel Fund impacts, on average, 200 unique projects each year.
The organization is now undergoing a truly transformational project that will alter the general medical landscape in the State of Israel—the Binyamin Medical Center. With a shortage of medical centers in existence, the greater Jerusalem area is in urgent need of an additional state-of-the-art medical center, and the Binyamin Medical Center will provide this for the northern communities within Jerusalem as well as the suburban communities to its north. This area will service a quarter-million Jewish residents as well as an equal number in the local Arab population.
Feltman met with more than a dozen different lawmakers in Congress during his 36-hour trip. The reception to the work One Israel Fund impacts, was overwhelmingly positive, with many representatives not only committing to supporting the group’s lifesaving work, but also encouraging Feltman to come back, together with members of his lay leadership. The meetings were informative and provided an excellent platform from which Feltman was able to educate and enlighten members of Congress regarding the reality of the situation on the ground for those living in Israel’s biblical heartland.
Beyond raising tremendous awareness among influential lawmakers on Capitol Hill for One Israel Fund’s activities, the trip served another incredibly important purpose. In every single meeting Feltman had, he was able to inspire an interest on the part of the respective lawmaker to visit, with One Israel Fund, the actual residents within these communities instead of only meeting with the political and military officials they customarily engage with on their trips to Israel. Indeed, among Feltman’s meetings were several lawmakers who had just returned from their trip to Israel with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, including Max Miller, one of only two Jewish Republican members of Congress. Through all his meetings, Feltman explained the critical importance of lawmakers devoting time during their trips to Israel to meet with the actual mothers and children who are living there; along with the civilian first-response team members who devote their free time to protecting the communities in which they live. In this way, these lawmakers can develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues plaguing these communities on a daily basis.
Indeed, besides committing to working together with One Israel Fund on facilitating such trips when they visit Israel, the lawmakers expressed that they view it as morally and politically wrong to visit the leadership of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and not spend any time in the neighboring Jewish communities.
While Feltman’s meetings with every member of Congress were important in myriad ways, it was his meeting with Rep. Don Bacon, who serves on the influential House Armed Services Committee, that was especially meaningful. Bacon not only took a deep interest in One Israel Fund’s various programs while also exhibiting an impressive understanding of the everyday predicament on the ground for Israelis, but he also quoted from Scripture, specifically the book of Zechariah. When Feltman asked him the source of his love and passion for Israel, Bacon responded that his father taught him and his siblings, from a very young age that “those who bless the Jewish people will be blessed themselves,” an adage that he takes very seriously.
The trip was extremely productive and plans are already in the works for a follow-up visit by Feltman and his team of lay leaders with the ultimate goal of having a roundtable discussion with various representatives and members of One Israel Fund.