By COLlive reporter
Dozens of Chabad rabbis and their communities are among the 18,000 participants of the annual policy conference of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, DC.
The largest pro-Israel gathering in the USA is an opportunity for many to meet like-minded Jews and non-Jews and strengthen the bond between Israel and the US, despite recent friction between their administrations.
For Shluchim, it is also a chance to encourage Jews to develop a spiritual bond with Israel and its Jewish residents. Rabbi Berel Levertov, Director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Santa Fe, NM, was seen helping attendees with putting on Tefillin.
Vice President Joe Biden addressed the opening session of the conference held at the Verizon Center Washington Wizards, stressing the strong connection and shared interests of both countries.
Biden recalled that as a Senator, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir told him “We Israelis have a secret weapon.” Curious to hear the secret, she told him: “We have nowhere else to go.”
Biden, who has recently returned from a trip to Israel, said “This whisper has changed my life. I have made it my life’s mission to make sure that there will always be an Israel, that there will always be a place to go!”
Other planned speakers will be presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders, the only Jewish person in the race, has declined an invitation. He reportedly offered to speak via video but was declined.
Meanwhile, outside the conference, a group of 300 pro-Palestinian activists gathered brandishing flags and placards, protesting the conference and calling on the US to end aid to Israel, according to reports.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch and Shliach of Washington, DC, posted a video clip on social media showing the angry chants outside.
“I am in shock!” he wrote. “I was just told by law enforcement to stay indoors, for my safety!!! In Washington, DC. 2016. Not good….”
Posted by AIPAC – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday, March 20, 2016