Ido Aharoni, consul general of Israel in New York, accepted a proclamation attesting to the strong relationship between Israel and New Jersey in front of a full session of the NJ State Senate in Trenton on March 21.
In accepting the proclamation, Aharoni, who was just the second Israeli diplomat to be officially recognized by the Legislature, said the New Jersey-Israel relationship is “based upon real bridges built over many years” and recognized the important role the state’s Jewish community plays in creating those bridges. (Foreign Minister Abba Eban addressed a joint session of the NJ Legislature in 1978 as Israel celebrated 30 years of statehood.)
Members and staff of the Community Relations Committee of MetroWest represented United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ at the event.
“The people of New Jersey have been proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Israel for more than six decades,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney. “We share Israel’s deep-seated desire for peace, security, and understanding in a region of our world that has seen too much unrest.”
Sweeney added, “It is my distinct honor to welcome Consul General Aharoni to the NJ Senate, and I look forward to working together with my colleagues to strengthen even further the bonds between our people and our nations.”
In his remarks, Aharoni noted the oft-repeated, most obvious similarity between Israel and New Jersey, but, he said, “the New Jersey-Israel relationship is more than size. It is a relationship based upon real bridges built over many years.” He also recognized the important role the state’s Jewish community plays in creating those bridges.
He invited the senators to visit Israel and pointed out another notable connection between his country and New Jersey, particularly the state capital, by telling them that Tal Brody, former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball star and one of Israel’s most respected athletes, is a Trenton native.
Aharoni was warmly received by the attending senators, several of whom publicly praised him, stated their strong support for Israel, and acknowledged Jewish organizations and members of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations for their important work in helping those in need. Sen. Richard Codey (D-Dist. 27) said, “Israel stands up for America and we stand up for Israel.”
Among those who presented statements were Loretta Weinberg (D-Dist. 37), Tom Kean Jr. (R-Dist. 21), Robert Singer (R-Dist. 30), and Paul Sarlo (D-Dist. 36). After his presentation, Aharoni met briefly with other state senators representing areas encompassed by MetroWest, Teresa Ruiz (D-Dist. 29) and Nia Gill (D-Dist. 34).
Aharoni assumed the post of consul general in February after serving as acting consul general since last August. In this capacity, he represents the State of Israel to communities throughout the tri-state area.
The NJ State Association of Jewish Federations helped organize the program.
After the Senate presentation, Aharoni attended a meeting of the New Jersey-Israel Commission (see Related Article).
In response to the Senate session, State Association president Ruth Cole said she and her colleagues were delighted that Aharoni’s visit “coincided with the new term of the NJIC, and we thank Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for their efforts to revitalize that body, which fosters economic development, security cooperation, and cultural exchanges” between New Jersey and Israel.