Paul Packer, commissioner of the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, US Amb. David Friedman and Director General of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs at the signing ceremony in Tel Aviv on Monday. (Courtesy).
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (CPAHA) and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs signed an agreement on Monday to cooperate on joint ventures aimed at bringing thousands of Jewish volunteers from around the world to preserve Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in Europe.
The agreement was signed in the presence of US Ambassador David Friedman by CPAHA chairman Paul Packer and Dvir Kahana, director general of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.
Under the declaration of cooperation, the CPAHA and the ministry agree to work together to preserve the cultural heritage of Israeli and American citizens in Europe, including restoring cemeteries, monuments and archival material, which were decimated during the Holocaust and decades of communist rule.
The United States and Israel have committed to identifying damaged, deteriorated or obscured sites and related objects of cultural heritage in Eastern and Central Europe, and to work together to preserve those sites through joint projects.
“The relationship between the United States and Israel has never been closer, and we are cooperating at every level and in every sphere,” Friedman said.
“While diplomatic and security cooperation are often what makes the news headlines, I’m especially proud of this new joint declaration, which unifies our efforts on the preservation of cultural heritage – an issue of extreme importance for millions of American citizens and Israeli citizens.”
Paul Packer, chairman of the commission, said that “the new partnership with the ministry will allow the United States and Israel to strengthen their citizens’ heritages – to not only remember and commemorate the past but to make sure the values that our nations were built on will never be forgotten.”
Kahana said that the agreement was the first step in the implementation of a program by Mosaic – the government of Israel-Diaspora Jewry partnership – to create a Jewish peace corps.
“This will increase cooperation between Israel... the US and Jews around the world,” Kahana said.
“This is the first step in bringing tens of thousands of Jewish volunteers to help preserve our joint identity.”