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PNC Paul Warner presenting Representative Gus Bilirakis with a certificate of appreciation.

 

Rep. Gus Bilirakis’s Speech at the 123rd Annual Convention

It is a pleasure to be here with you today. Before I begin, I would like to welcome Secretary Wilkie to the Tampa Bay area and to his new position. I have enjoyed working with him in the past, and look forward to continuing to build upon that relationship in order to benefit our nation’s heroes.

That is my primary mission in the United States Congress—serving those who have served our nation.

It is wonderful to see so many of you come together — united in your faith– to promote Americanism, preserve the spirit of comradery, instill a love of country and service in others, advocate for your fellow Veterans, and honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.

First and foremost, I want to thank each of you for your service. I want you to know that I understand the price of freedom is not free, it is paid by men and women like you—those who have bravely defended our country and the sacred ideals we cherish.

Sadly, some of these heroes never return and others live with wounds, both visible and invisible, that they carry with them throughout their lives. Families of our Veterans also pay a high price so that all of us may enjoy the blanket of security our military provides.

So, it is not enough to recognize your service with a simple thank you – but rather we must continuously seek ways to honor your service and sacrifice.

As Vice-Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, I have made it a priority to ensure that our Veterans receive the best possible care and all of the benefits they have earned through their dutiful service to our nation.

We have made significant progress in recent years, but there is still more work to be done. I would like to take a moment to share some of the highlights of our work in this area.

A total of 26 bills that will improve the lives of Veterans have been signed into law since January of 2017.

Improving access to care and benefits within a timely manner continues to be a priority. Our work to finally rectify the injustice that kept Blue Water Navy Veterans from accessing care and benefits due to their Agent Orange exposure is something that will make a tangible difference in the lives of so many Veterans. The Senate must take immediate action, as these Veterans cannot afford to wait any longer.

Speaking of waiting, with half a million Veterans waiting on a VA decision about their disability claims as of 2017, modernizing the appeals process for disability claims was extremely important. It has been a year since this critical legislation was signed into law. I believe we still have more work to do in this area because, in my opinion, Veterans are still waiting way too long, however, this law is a huge step in the right direction.

The MISSION Act is another important victory for Veterans who were struggling to navigate the VA CHOICE and community care programs. This new law ensures Veterans receive timely and convenient access to care, whether through the VA or a community provider – a decision which will be made by the Veteran and his or her doctor.

Improving Educational Benefits for Veterans has been another important theme for our Committee. Through the Forever GI Bill, we expanded educational benefits and removed the time restriction for use.

House and is awaiting Senate action, will also ensure Veterans are not penalized when a bureaucracy delays processing of the GI payment.

Ensuring accountability and oversight of the VA is one of the primary functions of our committee. The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which was signed into law one year ago helps achieve this goal by streamlining the process of firing or disciplining senior VA employees while expanding protections for employees who report wrong doing.

One additional measure that is very near and dear to my heart is the Transition Improvement Act, which passed the House the end of July. As you know, we spend a minimum of six months preparing service personnel for their military assignments and a maximum of one week preparing them for successful reintegration into civilian society.

We owe these brave more than that, and local Veterans in my community who were able to provide direct input into this bill, tell me that this is one of the most serious challenges currently facing the men and women who are exiting the military. I am hopeful that the Senate will take action on this important issue.

Our committee will not rest until Veterans have access to high quality care and the benefits they have earned.

For me personally, I am focused on ensuring Veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their service in the middle east, and as a result are suffering illness and disease have access to medical care and disability benefits they need. This is the agent orange of our era –and we have to learn lessons from the mistakes that were made and the countless Veterans that suffered and died while the government took decades to do right by our heroes. We cannot let that happen again, which is why I have filed legislation to address this issue immediately.

I also want to provide you with a brief update about this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. It reflects a real win not only for active duty military personnel and Veterans, but for all Americans who can have great confidence that this legislation will make our nation safer. The bill supports necessary increases in topline funding to support our troops and readiness recovery.

As part of the rebuilding of the military, it increases the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Naval and Air Reserve, as well as Air Guard, in accordance with the full request by Secretary Mattis.

It allocates funding to provide the largest pay raise for our troops in nine years, begins to rehabilitate and replace worn out equipment, starts overcoming the crisis in military aviation by putting more aircraft in the air, restores America’s strength at sea, makes critical investment in missile defense and nuclear deterrents, allows key investments in other critical military capabilities to confront aggression, and address threats around the world, including those from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

It also protects the United States from malicious technology from Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei by banning those companies from doing business with the United States Government or any entity that does business with the United States Government.

Additionally, it advances innovative technologies that will reform the way our nation will fight and win wars.

Finally, it includes language I authored which extends the travel benefit of riding on military aircraft, whenever there is space available- to those Veterans who are 100% disabled. This is something that is currently only enjoyed by active duty and military retirees.

President Truman once said that “America was not built on fear.  America was built on courage, imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

I would qualify that statement…it is the courage and unwavering determination of men and women, like you, who answered the call to serve who made and continue to make our country great.

We all owe you and your families a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid; however, I renew my pledge that I will continue to serve as your voice in Washington and to always ensure that my actions and record of service reflect my heartfelt gratitude for your service.

Thank you. May God Bless you and continue to Bless the United States of America.

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018

By CDT Jacob Widman

The Great War was a war that was supposed to be the end of all wars. In the minds of people around the world, the deaths of so many soldiers and civilians had guaranteed that no one would ever wage war again. To this effect, after November 11, 1918 or Armistice Day, many memorials to the fallen and monuments to the survivors were erected across the nation and the world. Today, a century and countless wars later, too many of these monuments and memorials have been neglected, destroyed, removed or abandoned.

In 2013, an Act of Congress created the World War 1 Centennial Commission (hereafter referred to as the Commission). The Commission’s mission is to commemorate the centennial of the occurrence of WWI, to include but not limited to preserving WWI monuments and memorials, and educate others on WWI. This mission is not unique to the Commission, but is it’s main focus.

In order to involve the nation in preserving, refurbishing, and even rebuilding monuments and memorials dedicated to those that fought in WWI, the Commission created the “100 memorials, 100 cities” program and the Volunteer Monument Hunter program. With the creation and continued activity of these programs, many monuments and memorials that would otherwise be obscured to history forever are uncovered, documented, and registered for all to enjoy. Some are found simply hiding in plain sight, like six small brass plates at the base of the trees at the entrance of courthouse in Orofino, ID commemorating six men who had died in WWI from the area[1] (shown bottom left) or an unfinished memorial in the Old Agudas Achim cemetery in Columbus Ohio that has not been used since 19521 (shown bottom right). Others are more noticeable, like the large plaque in The First Presbyterian Church in Seattle Washington.

The Volunteer Monument/Memorial Hunter program, as described above, is one of the latest and largest program created by the Commission to encourage and spread the interest in finding and documenting WWI memorials and monuments. These entries are uploaded to a national database with the specific location, names of those honored, pictures of the memorial, and the names of those that rediscovered the memorial. So far, hundreds of monuments have been documented with this initiative. The memorials have been found across the country, in abandoned cemeteries, active cemeteries, courtyards and memorial walls in churches, synagogues, colleges, universities and other religious and educational institutions as well as parks and county court house lawns. Featured at the bottom left is one such a memorial found slowly sinking in a park and restored by Robert Shay1. The people who look for these monuments are as varied as the memorials they are trying to preserve. What they all have in common is the drive to preserve, protect, and in a sense, defend those who did the same for us a hundred years ago. All the volunteers had to do was spend a few hours walking around town looking for these historical markers.

The other principal program supported by the Commission is the “100 memorials, 100 cities” program. As mentioned previously, almost every city and town has a memorial to those that made the ultimate sacrifice during WWI. Because of this, the Commission is awarding up to $2,000 to 100 municipal governments, individuals, or organizations who are refurbishing their WWI monuments. So far 50 cities have applied for and won a grant, and the second batch of 50 will be announced from the second round of applications. The money is provided by many generous sponsors.

Now that you are aware of our hunt for WWI memorials, I issue a challenge. Find all WWI memorials within your cities, big and small. All represent one or more lives that have been lost to keep us free. While this may seem difficult, it is the least we can do as a nation to honor those that fought and especially those that gave the last full measure of devotion on this, the centenary of their sacrifice.

For help and questions with the Volunteer Monument Hunter program, the “100 memorials, 100 cities” program or the Commission in general, please refer to the Commission’s website

http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/.   For questions not answered by the website, feel free to contact the Jewish War Veterans at jwv@jwv.org.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

by Rear Admiral (ret) Paul Becker, Post 100

I recently retired from the Navy after 33 years of service in peace, crisis and combat, serving afloat and ashore around the world.  Before sharing my reflections as a Jewish Naval Officer at Tampa’s Temple Schaarai Zedek last month it was important to set the context by informing others of the proud history of Jews who honorably served in uniform and were decorated for valor from our colonial era through conflicts of today.  Of particular note were several four-stars, including an Air Force Chief of Staff, a Chief of Naval Operations and the Father of the Nuclear Navy.  As a Board Member at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Jewish Chapel, I also placed special attention on its namesake, Commodore Uriah Levy, our nation’s first Jewish Flag Officer.

Commodore’s Levy most famous citation is, “I am an American, a Sailor, a Jew.”   I read of his exploits as a teenager growing up in New York and I drew inspiration from his example that someone could be all three.  So why do Jews join the military in the first place?  There’s a myriad of answers for the approximate 1% of the military that is Jewish, but I joined because I felt I had ‘skin in the game.’  As Jews we expect our nation to contribute generously to those less fortunate.   However, when it’s time for our own family to contribute to national security and go into harm’s way, my observations growing up in the Bronx and a middle class suburb of Long Island was that many Jewish families discouraged military participation.  In my mind this created a perception to some that Jewish citizens were not the generous givers to society upon which we rightfully pride ourselves.  My sensitivity to this played a large part in my decision to join the Navy in 1979, frankly, against some of my family’s wishes.  But when it comes to the defense of America and of American-ensured freedom around the world, I believe we Jews, especially descendants like me of  East European immigrants who found shelter in this land and had family murdered in the Holocaust, that we owe this country something.

My Jewish education came in handy as an officer.  I often reflected upon Maimonedes’ eight degrees of tzedakah or charity and equated them to good officership.  We most often read of Maimonides at Passover, but the lesson is eternal.  The levels of charity from lowest to highest are 8) giving unwillingly, to 1) giving something that strengthens someone’s hand so they don’t have to receive again.  I thought about that in everyday situations from helping a subordinate unwillingly and #1, helping them gladly so that they may help themselves in the long run.  The best officers and leaders I served with applied Maimonedes’ first degree of charity, and I strove to do so as well.  Also prominent in my officership’s outlook was the guidance of Hillel: “What is hateful to yourself, do not do unto your neighbor … That is the whole of the Torah, the rest is commentary.”  I thought about that every day: treating shipmates as you would want yourself treated.  Often serving as Jewish Lay Leader, I frequently used a Talmud citation as a star to steer by, “A Jew, no matter how far he strays from the path, is still a Jew.”   It was never for me to tell more junior Jewish personnel what should be their Jewish path or how far they should stray … their Jewish path was their choice.  But I made it a point to never stray during the big holidays when junior Jewish personnel turn to a senior Jewish officer for ritual leadership.  It was in this way that I sought to educate the next generation of American military personnel who are Jewish to remember where the path is if they need it

Finally, in matters more practical I found in the military it’s important to get along, to be one of the guys.  Many of the guys I met in the Navy had never met a Jew.  Some weren’t inclined to like me.   On those occasions I tried twice as hard to be a regular guy in an attempt to disavow any erroneous stereotypes others had about Jews … joining sports teams, taking on collateral duties, missing a little sleep if it means some extra social events.   As a lone Jew in some commands I chose to play a broader role than I might have chosen otherwise, becoming a representative of a religion to which I’m a part, representing Jews even when I thought I wasn’t worthy of representing an entire people.  But thanks to lessons learned from Rabbi Chaplains along the way it dawned on me I was worthy, and that realization, allowed me to be better as an American, a Sailor, a Jew.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

 

By Jerry Alperstein

Purim was celebrated at the Manhattan VA Medical Center [VAMC] on Purim morning, March 1, with the reading of the Purim Megillah, live Purim music by the MazelTones and hamentashen.  The event was organized by VAMC Jewish Chaplain Rabbi Andrew Scheer and was sponsored by Jewish War Veterans [JWV] Manhattan-Cooper-Lieutenant Colonel Larry Epstein-Florence Greenwald Post 1, the oldest veterans echelon in the United States.

The Megillah reading has been an annual occurrence at the VAMC for many decades.  JWV has been sponsoring the event for approximately the last 15 years by providing the Megillah books, the groggers and the hamentashen.  Approximately 25 people attended the Megillah reading, which included Post 1 members and patrons as well as VAMC staff and patients.  Among JWV members and patrons attending were National Executive Committee member Jerry Alperstein, Sara Alperstein, Seymour Beder, Jonah Berman, Michael Henken, Robert Iskowitz, Mitchell Mernick, Harold Schaeffer, Simon Spiegelman and JWV Department of New York Hospital Committee Chair Mort Weinstein.  The Megillah reader was David Waxman, a member of our community.

Following the Megillah reading, five flavors of hamentashen [apricot, chocolate, mango, pomegranate and raspberry] were served while two members of the MazelTones of New York Band, including Jerry Alperstein on trumpet, performed Purim music.   Among the VAMC staff attending from the Chaplaincy Department in addition to Rabbi Scheer were Chaplain Elizabeth Putnam and Chaplain Intern Harold Ng.  After the hamentashen eating and Purim music were completed, a Post 1 meeting was held at the VA including the election and installation of officers for the 2018-2019 year.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

By Steve Krant, Post Commander 256

The Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 Color Guard was invited to perform opening ceremonies at the Third Annual Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship on a sunny late October 29th morning in the parking lot of presenting sponsor Sunnyland Furniture in far North Dallas. The rapidly growing event merged the national cuisine of Texas with strict Jewish dietary laws under the watchful supervision of Dallas Kosher and the world-renowned Kansas City Barbecue Society. Teams from around Texas and beyond fired-up their grills in the pre-dawn hours to compete in the only KCBS-sanctioned Kosher cook-off in Texas. The event featured local celebrity judges, a live band, and numerous sponsors, Post 256 included, staffing booths at the family-friendly and free event.  Tickets to sample delicious barbecue beef, turkey and sausage that were prepared with varying degrees of heat were available for purchase, with proceeds going to support several area charities. Judges announced the winners and awarded team plaques before the sun set on a perfect autumn afternoon.

The Post 256 Color Guard, under the direction of Color Sergeant David Foland, consisted of Allan Cantor (National Officer-of-the Day and past Post Commander), Steve Solka (Jr. Vice Commander), Art Kaplan (Dept. of TALO Commander), Bob Epstein, and Harry Kabler. Their Trooping of the Colors, both American and Israeli flags, marked the event’s official opening to the public as the crowd came to attention to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah.”

We staffed an information table near the bandstand and were able to recruit a new member, U.S. Navy veteran David Meier, to JWV and our Post.  The event was a great opportunity to showcase JWV to our community, and we are excited to include David in our ranks.  We will definitely be back next year for some of that delicious Texas barbeque.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

By Howard Kuker, Post 125

Late one night I read an article about a female Air Force Captain who had committed suicide. She had also been a combat veteran.  Everyone who knew her had thought she was fine. But the sad fact was she suffered from PTSD–a disorder that far too often proves to be fatal.

I soon learned the shocking statistic: approximately 20 combat veterans commit suicide EVERY DAY in the U.S.!  Up until 2017, the number of veteran suicides was 22 a day, but a new VA study was released with a change in the right direction.  However, this statistic does not include military spouses and contractors, who also are at high risk for suicide.

To illustrate the enormity of this number: if you take the number of all the casualties of U.S. wars fought since 2001, that number does NOT equal one year of U.S. veteran suicides.

This is a shameful national tragedy!  As far as I’m concerned, stopping veteran suicide is our most pressing issue.

After I read about the Air Force Captain and the 22 doomed veterans, I decided to do something about it — immediately!  I reasoned that the best way to get the word out was with a YouTube video. That night I started composing a script.

The next day, I telephoned many people to help with this project.  I’d need someone to film the video, someone to edit it and also a place where to film, which, believe it or not, turned out to be a major challenge. A number of colleges turned me down. Plus I had to locate 21 combat veterans. For the purpose of this video, I was number 22.

After countless calls for donated help, I found Phil Falcone, producer of “Joe’s War” (please go see). Finally, after three stressful months, we were ready to film at the Deal, N.J. JCC, home of Post 125.  I was honored to have five WWII vets, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan vets to be in the video. It was a fantastic day.

Since then I have been on TV twice, met with N.J. Congressman Frank Pallone, and made the Garden State Film Festival. I hand out cards daily for the video and average about 600 a month–if you’re within hands reach of me, you’re getting a card.

The video is a call to action, not awareness.  Please call, write and/or e-mail your Congressman and President and tell them to stop this (please also send them my video).

To watch my video go to www.youtube.com or any search engine, for example Google, and type in “22 a day no way.”

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

By Herb Rosenbleeth, National Executive Director

JWV will be the host organization at the Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in 2021. It seems far off, however, the time will go quickly!

Each year one of the organizations which serves on the Veterans Day National Committee becomes the host organization on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1996, the year of JWV’s 100th anniversary, JWV was the host organization. It was a day we will always remember!

On the morning of the Arlington Cemetery program, Past National Commander Bob Zweiman was seated on the dais with President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown, and the leaders of the other Veterans Service Organizations. PNC Zweiman gave an eloquent, rousing speech to a standing room only packed house at the Arlington Cemetery amphitheater. He said it is a tragedy that no one really cares about our veterans, noting that “our government has a moral and a real obligation to provide for our veterans.” The crowd cheered and applauded throughout PNC Zweiman’s speech and several times during the speech, President Clinton nodded approvingly. PNC Zweiman closed with the words “For your tomorrow, we gave our today.” The entire crowd in the amphitheater rose to their feet, applauded, and cheered. What a great day for JWV!

Next came the Veterans Day Reception hosted by JWV at the Ft. Myers Officers Club. It was a perfect setting and was extremely well attended, including the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Jesse Brown. The spirited program went off smoothly.

Fast forward to Thursday, November 11, 2021: JWV will again be the host organization. Our National Commander will be on the dais and will address the crowd. Our reception will follow.  JWV is in the process of raising the money necessary to fund the reception. Tax deductible donations may be sent to JWV, Attention: 2021 Reception.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

By Liat Lisha, Shlicha of Northern Virginia

In July 2017, I began my training in Jerusalem in preparation for my role as the Shlicha (Hebrew meaning “Emissary”) at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia. As part of my training, I was told that my goal was to engage the Northern Virginia community in learning about Israel and to share my personal story.  It was equally as important that upon returning to Israel, that I take the knowledge gained about American Jewry and share it with my community back home.

For the past few months, I have been producing a documentary that connects bereaved military families from Israel and bereaved military families from the United States (Virginia, Maryland, and Florida). These families lost sons and daughters in the IDF and in the U.S. Military. Filming took place in both countries so I could use the project as a way of bridging the two countries through their shared experiences. While this has been a powerful experience for the families, it has had a tremendous  impact on me. I was fortunate  to meet these amazing people who showed me the true meaning of bravery.

What led me to make this documentary? At the beginning of my shlichut, I developed a list of programs, celebrations, and remembrance days that I wanted to share with my new community. One that I was very interested in sharing was the Israeli Memorial Day that takes place this year on April 17th called Yom Hazikaron (Hebrew meaning “Memorial Day”). A National Remembrance Day observed in Israel for all Israeli military personnel who lost their lives in the struggle that led to the establishment of the State of Israel, and for those who have been killed subsequently while on active duty in Israel’s armed forces. As of Yom Hazikaron in 2017, that number was 23,544 and it includes the fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism.

Yom Hazikaron is a national day of mourning with flags flying at half-mast, restaurants and stores closed for the day, and most Israelis spending the evening at home listening to somber music played on the radio or watching TV broadcasts. A blaring siren can be heard all over Israel at 8pm and again at 11am the next morning. Every Israeli knows this sound all too well, having learned about and heard it since they were a child in school – a siren that all of us wished we didn’t need.

To provide a better understanding of Yom Hazikaron and relay the importance of this remembrance day in Israel, I wanted to create personal connections between the families by sharing their stories with our community.  Since bringing the families together for filming was challenging and the idea of doing a live chat not being a viable option due to time differences, I decided to make a movie. Having no experience in filmmaking, I reached out to a group of young people in Israel who agreed to volunteer and help me make the movie. Elad Gitelmakher, Shay Nechamia, and Hodaya Shtofblat are three young Israelis who chose to give their time while going to high-school or serving in the IDF.

When I was looking for Jewish military families to be a part of the movie, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew there were Jews who served in the military but I didn’t know how to get to them. When I was introduced to the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, I was surprised to learn that not only is there an organization focused on Jewish Americans who served in the armed forces, but they are also in touch with bereaved families, creating a sense of community, reminding me of similar types of communities in Israel. After meeting these families and listening to their stories, l was left speechless and even more convinced that these connections between Israeli and American military families needed to be made.

I invite you to join us for Yom Hazikaron on Tuesday, April 17th at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia for the screening of this documentary. The movie will also be screened in Israel, showing that while 5,000 miles separate these families, their stories, shared experiences of grief and bravery are not that far apart. Someone once said – “life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.” These courageous families showed me that life is 100% how you react and the way you deal with adversity is everything.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

By PNC David Magidson, Post 243

In 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) was founded to refute the lie that Jews did not serve in the military during our Civil War.  We did in significant numbers – for both sides.

Now, 120 years later, the “Big Lie” came from the lips of an unusual source – The Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Tzipi Hotovely.  In an interview with 124 News in Israel, the Deputy Foreign Minister said that American Jews “never send their children to fight for their country.

Once JWV and its leadership got over the initial disbelief, shock, and hurt of this statement, we surged into action.  Our National Commander put out a press release denouncing the comment.  He met with personnel of the Israeli Embassy.  Moreover, Embassy staff were invited and did attend a tour of our museum – The National Museum of American Jewish Military History in Washington, D.C.  There they saw proof of the honorable and sometimes heroic service of American Jews to this country.

But all American Jews and especially those who have served and their families deserve more.  On their behalf, we fought for a retraction and apology, and we received it!  On January 28, 2018, Minister Hotovely sent a letter to JWV where she apologized to Jewish American service members and veterans of all wars. “My words were shortsighted and not reflective of my beliefs, and I deeply apologize,” she said.

Silence and shirking duty are not characteristics of JWV.  In March 1933, two months after Hitler came to power, the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. organized and carried out a protest march in New York City – despite the admonitions of various Jewish groups not to anger the new German Chancellor (a video of the march is on display at our National Museum).

Today, as we have done for over a century, JWV has responded to “The Big Lie.”  Over that period, we have earned respect and prestige in our Capitol and others.  The resultant apology is being communicated to all of you in memory of the 57 Jewish-American brothers and sisters killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Yes, American Jews do send their children to fight for their country, and sometimes their children pay the ultimate price.

If you wish to assist the Jewish War Veterans in carrying out its mission: (a) please consider joining our Posts as a member (if qualified) or a Patron; (b) generously provide an annual donation in support thereof; and/or (c) leave a legacy gift to JWV in your will, trust or life insurance policy.  Please remember that while we care for all Veterans, only JWV specifically speaks to the service and memory of the Jewish-American Veteran, his/her family and friends.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018

The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) is proud to announce that after months of fighting to correct the slanderous statements about Jewish American military service by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Ms. Hotovely has finally apologized to all Jewish American service members and veterans as well to JWV as the premier Jewish American Veteran organization.  On January 28, 2018, Minister Hotovely sent a letter where she apologized to Jewish American service members and veterans of all wars.  “My words were shortsighted and not reflective of my beliefs, and I deeply apologize,” she said.

Minister Hotovely previously apologized on Israeli television about her comments, but she only apologized to lone soldiers in Israel and to American soldiers that served in World War II.  She conveniently left out the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – the same wars she said American Jews did not serve in.  On January 18, 2017, the Past National Commanders of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. penned a letter to Ambassador Ron Dermer to demand that Minister Hotovely apologize directly to the Jewish veterans of all conflicts and to apologize to those families who have lost someone fighting for our shared democratic values.

Ms. Hotovely has finally corrected this injustice, and we hope to see her at the Museum of American Jewish Military History on her next visit to Washington, DC.  Until then, JWV will continue to work on educating the American and Israeli public about the proud and rich history of Jewish American military service.Tzipi Hotovely Letter