The Israel Bonds Organization surpassed its annual goal, raising $1.2 billion in 2006 after investments accelerated when US support for Israel rallied during the war in Lebanon. "We weren't able to stop at a billion because of the outpouring of support because of the war," Rafi Rothstein, spokesman for the group told The Jerusalem Post. "But it's not that we raised so much more, rather that the pace was accelerated by the war, that at the end we were getting people to commit for next year, there was a surge of support." "When the 2007 campaign starts in January, we will already have a few hundred million dollars in commitments," he added. An Israel Bonds leadership task force was in the country last week for a three-day visit during which they met with politicians including Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson, Education Minister Yuli Tamir and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu. The government has given the organization a goal of raising $1b. per year and Israel Bonds CEO and President Joshua Matza informed Hirchson of the success of this year's campaign during last week's meeting. "We are the major providers of foreign capital for Israel's infrastructure and among the least expensive in terms of interest rates in international markets," Matza said. Hirchson told the group the economy is growing even after the war and thanked them for their support during and after the conflict and added that Israel bonds would be an important partner in his plan to narrow social gaps in Israel. The delegation traveled to the North during the visit, which was the organization's first since the summer's conflict, bringing a "human element" to the war that had spurred their campaign. The task force included members of the organization's leadership and board members and newer investors who have recently started promoting bond investments in their communities. The organization embarked on a nationwide campaign in August, in the midst of the war, to boost bond purchases, which traditionally are used by US investors as an expression of support for Israel. "Bonds are not a substitute for direct investment, but a lot of people who would buy companies in Israel or invest in groups here also buy bonds," Rothstein said. "It's kind of a measure of connection and support for Israel to be a bond holder. If you look at a Jewish American activist, it's almost inevitable they own bonds, it's just part of their credentials."