Maya Fidelman’s attraction to people instead of molecules made her forgo a position at Teva Pharmaceuticals to pursue a career in politics, a passion she is fulfilling as the Israeli Consulate’s new Israeli political adviser.
Fidelman’s political career began during a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while she was studying for her master’s in diplomacy. After she spoke with some staff members, Fidelman was told about a job opening as a research analyst and decided to enroll. After nine months of testing, similar to what diplomats undergo, Fidelman was accepted by the ministry.
In Jerusalem, Fidelman conducted research on Europe, Asia and the United States and managed political affairs. She also composed correspondence between embassies about strategic developments related to Israel. Fidelman also met with different diplomats, which inevitably led to her encounter with Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer, the consul general to the Southeast, and an invitation to work in Atlanta.
“I thought about the move for a very long time because it meant leaving Israel,” Fidelman said. “Although I have traveled to the States several times, it’s my first time living in Atlanta and abroad, but I think I made the right decision and am very happy about it so far.”
Before she accepted her role at the consulate, Fidelman composed strategic papers at the ministry and analyzed political affairs in favor of Israel, such as resolutions to help fight the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement at the United Nations.
“I really hope my previous experience will serve me well,” she said. “I am still learning about the political climate in Georgia, and it’s all extremely exciting, but I’m sure my academic background will help me.”
In addition to working with the current political adviser, Fidelman will help maintain bilateral relations between Israel and the Southeast, oversee the response to any state laws that could affect Israel, and report changes in the region’s political climate to the ministry.
As the Israeli political adviser and an Israeli herself, Fidelman hopes that bilateral relations between Israel and Europe will continue to strengthen and believes that common concerns such as security and counterterrorism will lead to greater collaboration. She also hopes that President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will lead to similar recognition by European countries.
One of Fidelman’s goals is to place Israel in a positive light. She said, “Israel has so many great universities and is very modern, and although we face terrorism, we are dealing with it and are strong, and I think this is something that is important to transfer to Americans.”
Fidelman also hopes to establish a connection to Israel among American Jews and minorities in the Southeast. “I want to reach out to the Hispanic community to promote Israel and share information that is in favor of the Jewish state,” she said. “I think any time we are dealing with anti-Semitism or harassment, we have a common thread we share with minorities and can use it as a platform to teach more about Israel and issues that are important to us all.”
Fidelman holds a degree in physical chemistry as well as a bachelor of arts in political science and American studies from Tel Aviv University. To help celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, the consulate is bringing the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra to the Southeast — if it can raise $300,000, including at least two-thirds of the total by the end of February.
“As an Israeli and someone coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I think being Jewish and Judaism matters all over the world,” Fidelman said, “and is something I would like to get involved in to help American Jews continue their support for Israel.”