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 lawmakers that One Israel Fund’s Feltman met with were Congressman Don Bacon of Nebraska; Congressman Carlos Gimenez of Florida; Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado; Congressman Nick Langworthy of New York; Congresswoman Carol Miller of West Virginia; Congressman Max Miller of Ohio; Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa; Congressman Greg Murphy of North Carolina; and Congressman 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 which 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 thirty-six-hour trip. The reception to the work One Israel Fund impacts, on the part of the lawmakers he met with, was overwhelmingly positive, with many not only committing to supporting the group’s life-saving 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 Congressman 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 on the ground.
Indeed, besides for 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 was truly memorable and impactful in myriad ways, it was his meeting with Congressman Don Bacon, who serves of the influential House Armed Services Committee, that was especially meaningful. During their meeting, Congressman Bacon did not merely take a deep interest in One Israel Fund’s various programs while also exhibiting his 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, Congressman 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.
In all, the trip was extremely productive and the 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.