/BY KAREN ISENBERG JONES/ //SPECIAL FOR THE AJT//

Last week, The Jewish National Fund (JNF), with sup- port of the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, marked Tu Bishvat and Martin Lu- ther King Day by holding a successful Community Conversation at Or Hadash Synagogue.

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The event featured special guest Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York. Over one hundred people attended the Sun- day morning event to hear Ambassador Aharoni speak about the top is- sues impacting Israel today.

Or Hadash’s two rabbis, Rabbi Mario Karpuj and Rabbi Analia Bortz welcomed guests marking the connection between Tu Bishvat and Jewish National Fund.

“Tu Bishvat is the JNF holiday; it’s the New Year for the trees. People 6 ask why do we celebrate the New Year for the trees in winter,” said Rabbi Karpuj. “Even though the trees look dead, something inside has started to change. JNF is defined by that notion. JNF took a place, a land everyone was discarding and made the desert bloom.”

Ambassador Ido Aharoni gave a sobering talk largely focused on the main reasons behind Israel’s disapproval with the interim nuclear agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran signed last November.

“The agreement allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium which stands against every law agreed upon by the international community,” said Amb. Aharoni. “People ask: Israel lives with a nuclear North Korea and Pakistan. Why not Iran? Iran is a unique country. The Iranian regime is the only regime constantly interested in instigating trouble and instability wherever they go. The regime’s goal is to disseminate principles of Islamic revolution. It believes in one thing and one thing only: Islamic Rule.”

Ambassador Aharoni promoted strong sanctions as the best diplomatic means to end Iran’s nuclear program.

Before fielding questions from the audience, Amb. Aharoni spoke fondly about recently deceased Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, lauding Sharon’s courage to implement unilateralism within the government. This policy decision permanently impacted the Palestinian peace process.

He also paid homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and noted how his ideas embody those of The Jewish National Fund.

“King chose to say ‘I have a dream.’ This is the power of positivity. Israel has great assets, such as the tremendous creative spirit of its people and innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Amb. Aharoni. “Zionism is about growth and promotion of goodness. JNF takes us back to the tenants of Zionism. JNF covers all the areas in which Israel excels.”

JNF ended the event with a raffle where several people won a tree to be planted in the JNF Coretta Scott King forest in Israel.

Editor’s note: Karen Isenberg Jones is the owner of Karen Jones PR, a full service Public Relations and Special Events firm. For more questions she can be reached at (404) 483-8226 or karenijones27@gmail.com.

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