The Street Naming Committee of the Netanya Municipality has decided to name a street after the late Isaiah Leo Kenen, who founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 1905 and was its first CEO.
This will be the first time that a street in Israel is named after Kenen.
AIPAC was founded with the purpose of promoting Israel's interests within the House and Senate of the US Congress, a release explained. Today, it's considered a powerful pro-Israel lobby in the US. Under Kenen's leadership the US voted to support Israel economically, and in his 23 years as CEO the American support continued to grow, reaching $2.2 billion.
The street naming was the result of an initiative by Shlomi Veroner, CEO of the Netanya Foundation, and Kobby Barda, former spokesman of the Netanya Municipality and scholar at Ruderman Program for American Studies. Barda wrote his thesis on AIPAC, while emphasizing Kenen’s unique strategies that made AIPAC what it is today, which may explain his endeavor to commemorate Kenen.
"I am proud, as this is the least that we can do to give a little back to American Jewry, for their contribution and their ongoing support in the Land of Israel," Barda said. "It is symbolic that the first city founded in Israel after it gained its independence chose to name a street to honour AIPAC's founder and first CEO."
Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar reiterated Bardas words, saying, “Street naming is our way to commemorate the people who contributed so much for the State of Israel and the Jewish people”.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions, no official ceremony was held to mark the occasion. A ceremony will take place when public gathering can resume.