Chicken, beef... or Zionism?

El Al employees will take part in talks, host meetings about Israel at JCCs, federations and university campuses throughout North America.

September 20, 2011 05:55
1 minute read.
El Al CEO Eliezer Shkedy (center)

El Al CEO Eliezer Shkedy 311. (photo credit: Sasson Tiram)


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El Al pilots and flight personnel will soon offer more than just the choice of either chicken or beef.

The Israeli airliner’s employees will take part in talks and host meetings about Israel at Jewish Community Centers, federations and university campuses throughout North America as part of a new initiative launched last Wednesday.

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“We’re going to be presenting the Israel we know and love – a diverse and open society with a thriving democracy, an exceptional culture of warmth and innovation and one of the world’s most robust economies,” said Alon Futterman, the Jewish Agency’s shlichut (emissary) development director and director of the El Al Ambassadors program.

“This project is so unique because of the people-to-people aspect. We believe we need to use our most engaging, interesting and worldly people to share the incredible story of modern Israel and, once again, connect with Jews around the world. We need to empower Diaspora Jews as our advocates at the grassroots level, and who better to inspire them than Israel’s top pilots and El Al?”

Participants in the project, which is the brainchild of El Al CEO Eliezer Shkedy, will undergo a three-month course training them in public speaking and current affairs. The program is a joint venture with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Foreign Ministry and StandWithUs, an Israel advocacy group.

Israel’s flag carrier was founded in 1948 shortly after the country gained independence. For decades it had been owned by the government, which still has a minority share in the publicly-traded company.

The pilot program will be held in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York during the airline staff’s downtime. Organizers said participation in the program is voluntary and will be “apolitical.”

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