The Israeli American Council announced this week that it will open chapters across the US, offering support to local organizations and initiatives that represent Israeli-Americans who reside in the US.

The council, which aims to “build an active and giving Israeli-American community in order to strengthen the State of Israel,” so far has been mainly basing its activities in California.

As part of the initiative, supported programs would include cultural, educational, advocacy and social activities for all age groups.

According to the IAC, the number of Israeli-Americans and their children residing in the US may range between 500,000-1,000,000 people who live in three main areas: Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey and Florida.

The organization reported that additional communities are spread across major cities, including Chicago, San Francisco and the Bay area, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Baltimore.

The IAC, founded in 2007 by a group of Israeli-American businessmen and women in Los Angeles, works to create an active, influential and bipartisan political voice for Israeli- American and pro-Israel communities in order to strengthen the relationship between the State of Israel and the US and to preserve the Jewish way of life and Israeli culture of second and third generation Israeli-Americans.

Some of the current programs operated by the council include: Recruiting thousands for pro-Israel rallies; financing the Israeli emissaries at all major university campuses in Southern California; organizing and funding mass events for the community in California; as well as Hebrew programs for children and Israel advocacy and leadership activities for young Jewish-American adults.

IAC chairman Shawn Evenhaim explained in a statement that in the first five years of the expansion plan, eight local IAC chapters will be founded in the eight largest communities of Israeli- Americans.

“All chapters will follow the same vision and mission statement, will be steered by local boards and will be supported by the national headquarters,” Evenhaim said. “We plan to create a variety of programs and activities for all age groups as well as the community at large, so each chapter will be able to select which programs and activities will best fit its community.”

“We are starting to identify leadership in Israeli-American communities across the country to assist us in the establishment of the national and local IAC boards of directors,” he continued.

“A primary reason for the IAC’s expansion effort is the critical need to embark on a major campaign within Israeli- American communities to ensure that Israeli-Americans and their children: continue their best efforts to strengthen the relationship between the State of Israel and the US; remain connected to the Israeli people and their culture; and maintain their Jewish identity and stay committed to their Jewish values and their heritage,” chairman of the IAC’s expansion committee, Adam Milstein added.

The IAC has grown rapidly in recent years. According to CEO Sagi Balasha, the organization reached over 50,000 people this year through its events and programs. The council supports 21 organizations affiliated with its goals and objectives.

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