Thursday, September 19, 2019

(Courtesy of JNF) In a southern Israeli city with asteroid-like craters and spectacular ridges, a former elite IDF commando, security emissary and now mayor is looking to attract tens of thousands of residents to his city.

On Wednesday, September 11, Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) will host Mayor Nisan Ben Hamo, mayor of Arad, to address members of the West Orange and wider community at B’nai Shalom of West Orange.

Mayor Ben Hamo will speak about the impactful projects he has initiated in the city of Arad and why he believes he and JNF-USA will attract half-a-million Israelis to the country’s mostly arid south.

JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation building activities in Israel’s north and south through its “Billion Dollar Roadmap” initiative, which channels JNF’s values for ground-breaking new ventures and will focus on connecting the next generation to Israel, building communities in Israel’s peripheral regions of the Negev and Galilee, and creating infrastructure for ecology, special needs and heritage preservation.

JNF-USA is “greening” the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks across Israel, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid agriculture techniques and ensuring that no citizen is left behind by making parks and public spaces inclusive for people with disabilities and special needs.

Nisan Ben Hamo was born and raised in the city of Arad, Israel, in a family that was one of the city’s founders. From 1992 to 1998, he served in the Israel Defense Forces in the elite Duvdevan combat unit and held the rank of major, and now serves as a commander in the military reserve unit. From 1999 to 2001, Mayor Ben Hamo served as a security emissary in South America, and upon his return to Israel, he completed a degree in law and business administration at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Institute. After his studies, he became an attorney and was employed as general counsel, and then as a member of the Ceragon Networks Company board of directors. In June 2015, he was elected mayor of Arad, winning with 72% of the votes.

This complimentary event, co-chaired by Phyllis Bernstein, Randi Brokman, Jeri Kimowitz, Michael Landau and Rabbi Robert Tobin, will feature several opportunities to engage with Mayor Ben Hamo. At 7:00 p.m., a Teen Reception will be held where middle and high school students are invited to meet and hear from the mayor. The official public program will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a VIP reception at 8:30 p.m. for major donors and JNFuture Root Society members.

B’nai Shalom is located at 300 Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange.