LOS ANGELES (JTA) — The Israeli-American Council has established an office in Las Vegas as part of a drive to expand from its Los Angeles base to U.S. cities with major concentrations of Israeli expatriates.
Miriam Adelson, born in Haifa and wife of billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, is chair of the new IAC Las Vegas regional council established this week.
Inauguration of the Las Vegas office follows on the heels of similar openings in Miami and Boston.
“The Israeli-American Council is changing the landscape of the Jewish community in America…through the full spectrum of educational, cultural, traditional and social programming,” Miriam Adelson said of the inauguration. “We are always thinking of strengthening the Jewish and Israeli identity of future generations and their endless support for the State of Israel.”
IAC’s three-fold mission is to support Israel, strengthen Jewish identity among young Israeli-Americans and enhance communication between the Israeli-American and the more established Jewish-American communities.
An estimated 10,000 Israeli expatriates live in Nevada, primarily in the Las Vegas area, and one of the new office’s first projects is to promote the community celebration of Israel Independence Day.
The IAC was founded in Los Angeles in 2007 by a group of Israeli-American businessmen as the Israeli Leadership Club. Last year it changed its name to Israeli-American Council. It had a presence at this year’s annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington.
Among its major programs are the Israel Independence Festival; Sifriyat Pijama B’America, which distributes Hebrew children’s books throughout the United States; Mishelanu, setting up leadership groups on college campuses; and Tzav 8, which organizes activists to participate in demonstrations and pro-Israel activities.
Estimates of the number of Israelis and their children in the United States vary widely, from a likely 500,000 to IAC’s figure of 800,000.
Amir Eden, a veteran educator and community activist, has been named regional director of the new IAC office for Nevada.