By Livia-Link Raviv
Shanah Tovah and Happy New Year from me, my family and the entire Israeli Consulate. As we look forward to a sweet 5783 for the whole community, it is a great time to take a breath and reflect on the past year, as we prepare for the next.
It was an exciting past 12 months, filled with community events and diplomatic outreach across our entire region. We were honored to host elected officials and community leaders for a wide array of events cultivating our relationships with the diverse communities that make up the rich tapestry of our region; to name just a few: Black History Month, a 30-foot space mural unveiled marking Israeli space exploration, celebrating Hispanic heritage by highlighting the role of Latinas in leadership, a month of volunteering in honor of Israeli Independence Day — and the list goes on.
On the national level, Israel too had a busy year. In keeping with the momentum of the Abraham Accords, Israel hosted the historic Negev Summit, which laid out a new architecture for regional cooperation, attended by leaders from the UAE to Morocco to Jordan. We also witnessed Saudi Arabia greenlight Israeli flights across its airspace, which dramatically improved flight times and costs, as well as established the framework for Israeli Muslims to make pilgrimages to Mecca.
And after years of diplomatic efforts from my colleagues, Israel and Turkey have upgraded their diplomatic relations and are looking forward to the exchange of ambassadors. Yet another important step in strengthening Israel’s relations with the Muslim world.
All of these exciting breakthroughs were capped off with President Biden’s successful first visit as president to Israel, where we reaffirmed the unbreakable bond between our peoples and our continued profound bilateral collaboration on every level, from economy to security and beyond.
As in years past Israel successfully confronted security threats on our borders and as far as across the Persian Gulf, and thanks to the bravery and tireless efforts of our armed forces Israel is and will continue to be the safe, prosperous homeland for the Jewish people.
As we look back, it has certainly been an eventful year on the global stage, as the world grappled with lingering COVID-19 challenges, natural disasters and a devastating war in Ukraine. Yet I am grateful to say that Israel continues to welcome thousands of new olim from those affected by the conflict, as well as supporting the Jewish diaspora who remain in the region. I am proud to say that our government was the first to step in and establish a field hospital in Ukraine and provided humanitarian assistance to hundreds of victims.
This Rosh Hashanah marks my second year here, our new home, and I could not be more thankful to be surrounded by so many friends and colleagues; I do not take such a warm welcome for granted. It truly is a blessing for me and my family to be a part of this wonderful community. I have had the joy of exploring this great city as well as states across the region, and in turn brought leaders and stakeholders to come and discover Israel in person.
In the coming months I look forward to collaborating closely with the network of Jewish organizations and building on the years of friendship and partnership with the Consulate, to support their extraordinary work. I will also continue the exciting project of visiting the vibrant synagogues across the DFW region, and getting to meet the congregations which make this community so special.
I am delighted that this year we will celebrate 75 years of independence, a huge milestone for Israel and world Jewry. It is also a time that we get to mark 75 years of bilateral relations with our closest friend and ally, the United States. I cannot wait to share the details of the events commemorating this tremendous anniversary in the coming months.
I wish you all a sweet New Year filled with health, joy and prosperity. May this be a year that the Jewish people go from strength to strength, bringing the Jewish family ever closer.
Livia-Link Raviv is consul general of Israel to the Southwest