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Israel

WHO WE ARE

U.S. Israel Education Association (USIEA) educates and serves senior government leaders to advance important dialogue and cooperation between the United States and Israel. USIEA fosters communication between American and Israeli leaders and experts to fill existing information gaps and to enhance understanding of issues critical to a mutually beneficial partnership. 

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TODAY'S CHALLENGE

Many U.S. government leaders have limited information on what is occurring in Israel, specifically regarding the peace process. There is a lack of balanced public information available to help leaders make fully informed decisions in the context of current geopolitical dynamics and demographic realities. This is in part due to the fact that the West Bank is considered by the international community as disputed territories with perceived security concerns. Therefore, U.S. government sponsored delegations have traditionally not been allowed to visit this area. As a result, most Congressional leaders have limited knowledge on the complex realities of the region. Since government leaders historically could not enter the West Bank on government sponsored delegations, Congressional tours into this area required private funding. 

A UNIQUE ROLE
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USIEA was the first organization to pioneer these privately funded tours. As members of Congress are tasked with a wide range of legislative topics and senior Administration officials seek to navigate American-Israeli diplomacy, the focus of USIEA is to educate on the areas of greatest impact.

 

These areas include:

  • Building an integrated economy between Israelis and Palestinians

  • Developing binational initiatives for research and development

  • Strengthening missile defense collaboration

  • Addressing regional security challenges

OUR STORY

In 2011, USIEA initiated the very first privately sponsored Congressional delegation into the West Bank. USIEA Founder and CEO Heather Johnston worked with the House Majority Leader at the time, Congressman Eric Cantor, to build advanced, secondary education tours for senior members of Congress. The first tour demonstrated instant success as doors opened for members to have one-on-one meetings with Israeli government officials and military leaders, as well as Palestinians and Israelis working together in joint business representing a grassroots peace movement. 


Most notably, the first USIEA tour led to a remarkable breakthrough in missile defense collaboration. The delegation consisted of the Chairmen of House Armed Services subcommittees. Heather Johnston, on behalf of the Armed Services leaders, famously asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to declassify Iron Dome for the members. The next day, USIEA took the first members of Congress to see the Iron Dome. The members returned to Capitol Hill where they briefed the entire Armed Services Committee and tripled the U.S. budget to fund Iron Dome. Since then, USIEA has continued leading Congressional delegations to Israel and expanded education to Capitol Hill and the U.S. Administration.

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