Zionism: Our Connection to Israel@70 Featuring Gil Troy — Pictures

WZO-AZM 2018 Symposium AntiSemitism and Anti-Zionism Pictures

AZM Fact Sheet

The American Zionist Movement

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) is comprised of 29 national Jewish Zionist organizations and works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish people.

Known as AZM since 1993, it is the Zionist federation in the United States affiliated with the World Zionist Organization (WZO). The AZM and its constituent organizations represent American Zionists within the National Institutions of Israel, including the WZO, The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund. AZM is the successor to the American Zionist Federation (founded in 1970) and to the American Zionist Council which started in the 1940s.

AZM works to promote and defend Zionism in the United States; to deepen and expand the active relationship of the American Jewish Community to Zionism in a contemporary context; to facilitate dialogue and collaboration among Zionist organizations through and with the AZM; and to be central hub for Zionist resources in America.
At the AZM Biennial Assembly in March 2017, Richard D. Heideman of Washington DC was elected President of AZM and Herbert Block was appointed as Executive Director. A theme of “Zionism Forward” as the goal and vision of AZM was launched in an effort to reenergize Zionism in America.

Zionism Forward is the AZM’s campaign to:

    • Strengthen support for Israel, the Jewish people and Zionism.
    • Celebrate the ideology and cause of Zionism.
    • Help strengthen Israel’s position in the global family of nations.
    • Improve the dialogue on Zionism in America and participate in a new effort to guide the American Jewish people to speak in a unified and informed voice in support of Zionism’s core principles.
    • Provide the forum that fosters our diverse constituent Zionist organizations’ respectful coalescence around our commonality.

In 2018 the AZM National Board adopted the following Statement of Principles of Zionism

The American Zionist Movement (AZM), through action and deed, supports these principles:

    • The sovereign state of Israel’s unconditional right to exist as the Jewish democratic homeland;
    • The right of the people of Israel to live in peace and security;
    • Pride in the common history, culture, destiny and religious heritage of the Jewish people;
    • Pride in Israel’s rich contributions to the world and its aspirational role to be an exemplary society for all of humanity; and
    • Israel’s centrality to Jewish identity and life.

The AZM and its constituent organizations fully support and endorse The Jerusalem Program of the WZO, the global statement of the beliefs of the Zionist movement.Twice in each decade, AZM organizes and sponsors the United States election of delegates to the World Zionist Congress, a process in which tens of thousands of American Jews participate and vote.AZM sponsors the American Zionist Youth Council, which aims to bring young people from national youth movements and organizations across religious, cultural, denominational, political, and social circles.

AZM Constituent Organizations

Members: American Forum for Israel • Ameinu • AMIT • ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America) • Aytzim • Bnai Zion Foundation • Hadassah – The Women’s Zionist Organization of America • Herut NA • MERCAZ USA – Zionist Organization of Conservative Judaism • NA’AMAT USA • Partners for Progressive Israel • Religious Zionists of America – Mizrachi • World Sephardic Zionist Organization – Ohavei Zion • Zionist Organization of America Affiliated Organizations: Baltimore Zionist District • B’nai B’rith International •Emunah • Friends of Israel Scouts – Tzofim • Israel Forever Foundation • Jewish National Fund Zionist Youth Movements: • American Zionist Youth Council • B’nei Akiva • BBYO • Habonim Dror • Hashomer Hatzair • NCSY • NFTY • USY • Young Judae


View the AZM Fact Sheet as a pdf.

Meet the 2018 Fall Recipients

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the winners of the Fall 2018 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship. The recipients are accomplished young Americans Zionists dedicated to AZM’s mission, who are thrilled to be spending the next year living and immersing themselves in Israel.


Roy Buchler holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Roy is a member of the Coalition Against Anti-Semitism in Europe and was involved with Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee on campus. He has already spent significant time in Israel through various programs, including having volunteered on a Kibbutz, and is excited to participate in the Israel Government Fellowship. He is eager to create long-lasting connections to the State of Israel. He also hopes to find ways to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish Diaspora and Israel.

Read Roy’s essay on his personal connection to Zionism


Graeme Campbell holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies, History and Hebrew from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been involved with Camp Judaea Texas. He was also an intern on his campus Hillel as well as its co-president. Additionally, he has participated in various programs such as JNF’s Alternative Winter Break, Birthright, and Hamerkaz. During his freshman year, he was a member of a successful start-up organization, “Unify Texas”, which helps combat BDS on campus.

Graeme has been described in his recommendation letters as a “natural leader.” He hopes to be working as a Jewish communal professional and will be participating in the Israel Government Fellows Program in Jerusalem this year.

Read Graeme’s essay on his personal connection to Zionism


Adah Forer graduated this year cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in History from UC Berkeley.  She has worked as a StandWithUs fellow, Israel21C Digital Ambassador, AJC intern, and president of the leading pro-Israel group in college, Tikvah. Adah was also an undergraduate fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies where she planned academic events for students about the Jewish experience and Israel studies.

She writes that “Educating leaders in both Jewish communities and other ethnic/religious communities will ensure that our narrative and story of Jewish revival in our national homeland, Israel, continues to protect our people’s future and inspire other persecuted minorities across the world to throw off their chains and achieve self-determination. Israel may be seventy years young, and the Zionist movement merely a century old, but our roots dig deep and will never be displaced again.”

Adah will be an Israel Government Fellow this upcoming year and hopes to work on policies that strengthen both Israelis and worldwide Jewry. She aims to promote Israel’s image in the world, and effectively challenge anti-Semitism around the globe.

Read Adah’s essay on her personal connection to Zionism


Sasha Goodman attended CUNY College of Technology as well as Hunter College. She served for two years as the social chair of the NYU Chapter of Meor, and engaged students on topics related to Judaism and Israel. She has also proudly staffed her first Birthright trip this year.

Sasha will be interning in Israel through the Israel by Design’ program and is excited to grow professionally while learning firsthand what living in Israel is like.

She is passionate about reconciling social justice and Zionism, as she mentions in her essay “nowadays, it can be incredibly difficult to find a voice for Israel in the midst of the social justice world I am so strongly part of. Many are quick to attack Israel over the plight of the Palestinians. While I, a progressive advocate for human rights and social justice, understand that the current political climate is hard, and oftentimes disappointing, I firmly defend Israel.”

Read Sasha’s essay on her personal connection to Zionism


Noam Kahn graduated from Skidmore College this past May with a degree in Management and Business. On campus, he was involved with Hillel as an active student leader. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and the start-up environment and has participated in the Birthright Excel Ventures Fellowship, a leadership program for American and Israeli students who want to create their own Israeli start-up companies.

Noam will be attending a 6 month internship program in Tel Aviv through WUJS, and his goal is to “not simply to immerse [himself] in the startup community of Israel but also deepen [his] understanding and connection to Zionism and the Jewish community more generally.”

Read Noam’s essay on his personal connection to Zionism


Sydney Solomon graduated with High Honors from Oberlin College with a degree in politics. She has traveled numerous times to Israel, participated in Young Judaea Year Course following her High School graduation, and has been involved with Hillel and Chabad on campus as well as the JCRC. She writes that  “Zionism seeks to preserve the unique character of the Jewish People in Israel. Being a Zionist today means that Jews, just as much as other groups, have a right to maintain their heritage without discrimination or persecution.”

She will be participating in the Israel Government Fellowship program and is excited to not only gain professional experience but also to build her own connection to Israel.

Read Sydney’s essay on her personal connection to Zionism


AZM’s Diplomatic Mission to Poland and Israel 2018

Members of the Diplomatic delegation, with the President and Prime Minister of Israel (more photos below)


The American Zionist Movement’s Diplomatic Mission to Israel and to the March of the Living in Poland including 40 ambassadors to the United Nations.


From April 10-20, 2018 a delegation of 40 Ambassadors to United Nations participated in the AZM Diplomatic Mission to Israel and to the March of the Living in Poland, on a trip arranged by AZM together with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representatives to the UN. The Ambassadors, from all the UN Regional Groups, and representing a quarter of the countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations, came from Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. The diplomats marked Yom HaShoah by participating in the March of the Living in Auschwitz-Birkenau and in Krakow. The delegation then toured Israel and met with officials before celebrating the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding on Yom HaAtzmaut in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


Read the AZM Press Releases on the Delegation: 

  • Photo Release: Visiting UN Ambassadors Meet Rivlin & Netanyahu on Independence Day April 19, 2018 | View Photo & Caption
  • Forty UN Ambassadors Visting Israel During 70th Anniversary April 17, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN Ambassadors Visit Auschwitz on Yom HaShoah with AZM Diplomatic Delegation April 12, 2018  | Read Full Text


Read some of the Media Coverage on the

Diplomatic Mission: 


  • FORTY U.N. AMBASSADORS BRING IN ISRAEL’S 70TH ANNIVERSARY  Led by UN Ambassador Danny Danon, 40 ambassadors from Europe, Latin America and Africa participated in an event held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post > Israel’s 70th anniversary) April 20, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Forty UN Ambassadors Visiting Israel During 70th Anniversary (Jewish Press) April 20, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN Ambassadors visit Israel as part of largest delegation ever (Ynet News) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • 40 Ambassadors to the United Nations visit Israel (Times of Israel) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • 40 UN Ambassadors visit Israel as nation celebrates 70th anniversary (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Forty UN Ambassadors Tour Israel, Meet Pols During 70th Anniversary Celebrations (The Algemeiner) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Forty UN ambassadors tour Israel, meet pols during 70th-anniversary celebrations (Jewish News Service) April 17, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • 40 UN Ambassadors Tour Israel (Five Towns Jewish Times) April 17, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Diary from the 30th March of the Living (JPost) April 14, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN Ambassadors Join ‘March of the Living’ at Auschwitz (Breaking Israel News) April 14, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN ambassadors visit Auschwitz on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jewish News Service) April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text (JewishWebsite) Read Full Text
  • UN ambassadors visit Auschwitz- On Holocaust Remembrance Day, the American Zionist Movement brings UN ambassadors to Auschwitz (Arutz Sheva) April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Led by Israel’s President Rivlin, thousands attend March of Living in Poland (The Times of Israel) April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Thirty years of the March of the Living (The John Batchelor Show) Featuring Monica Crowley, Malcolm Hoenlein and AZM President Richard D. Heideman; April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text


Members of the Diplomatic delegation at Auschwitz

Members of the Diplomatic delegation at the Western Wall (Kotel)

Members of the Diplomatic delegation in Jerusalem



Letter from the Prime Minister of Israel


We are pleased to share with you the following message from Prime Minister Netanyahu:


AZM’s 2018 Purim connection brings Purim joy to Israel’s Border Police and children

An important aspect of Zionism is maintaining our global Jewish unity and our personal ties to the people and land of Israel. Therefore, for nearly 30 years the “Purim Connection” program of the American Zionist Movement has helped maintain that bond by providing Mishloach Manot packages to those living in and protecting Eretz Yisrael.

This year, for the 2018 Purim Connection, the American Zionist Movement collaborated with its member organizations, networks and volunteers in Israel on two exciting projects in celebration of Purim. This includes partnerships with our Purim Connection coordinating partner, the Israel Forever Foundation, along with  Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, Yashar L’Chayal, AMIT Children and Bnei Akiva.

Mishloach Manot – baskets of treats – were distributed to impoverished Israeli children and to Israel’s Border Police “Magav” (מִשְׁמַר הַגְּבוּל) to bring Purim joy to the guardians and citizens of Israel. The brave men and women of the Border Police guard and protect the State of Israel and are often the first line of defense against urban and cross-border terrorism.

Students from AMIT volunteering

The Purim baskets were distributed with the help of the Israeli organization Yad Ezra v’Shulamit whose main goal is to help end hunger among Israelis. Miri Schreiber, the volunteer coordinator of the organization, wrote to AZM the following heartfelt thank you note: “Thank you once again for helping increase the Purim joy. It was a true testament of the power of unity, bringing together different groups within the ‘Klal’ for such a beautiful case. May we continue to work together to change the face of poverty in Israel.”



 Members of the Border Police sent videos thanking AZM and our partner organizations for organizing the Purim initiative and for providing them with Mishloach Manot. Austin, a lone soldier from Colorado who drafted into the Border Police, spoke emotionally about how truly wonderful the initiative was, and how deeply appreciative their entire unit was of the caring gesture.

In addition, Amichai Bacharach from Yashar Lachayal – an organization aimed at providing support to IDF soldiers – thanked AZM by mentioning that “the soldiers were thrilled to receive them! They thought that it is amazing that so many people care about them from overseas, and they were also happy with the quality of the mishloach manot themselves.”

The Border Patrol is a special unit that is under the auspices of – but separate from – the Police Dept. of Jerusalem. They are a joint force between the army and the police, and the Border Patrol also works with officers from both. When Israeli young adults are drafted into the IDF, some are offered a job in “Magav”, which is the Border Patrol. If they accept the assignment, they are trained as specialty police officers, and technically do not serve in the IDF. The Israeli Border Police is renowned for including a large number of soldiers from minority backgrounds, being a particularly popular choice with Druze recruits, but also includes many soldiers from Arab Christian and Bedouin background.

Some go on to choose this as a career, and some move from the police dept or army into Magav, and are professionals, as opposed to those fulfilling their 3 (or 2) year national service commitment. The “magavnikim”, or border patrolmen/women do get called back for “miluim”, reserve duty, but fulfill that reserve duty within the Border Patrol, not the IDF. The Border Police has recently become among the most popular and competitive combat units for new IDF recruits, presumably because of the increase in tensions and violence in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.

Through the 2018 Purim Connection, AZM sent over 400 packages to the Border Police women and men and just as many to Israeli children that enabled them to receive some Purim joy, and we are so thankful to our supporters who allow us to carry on such meaningful projects. 


Meet the HBR Scholarship Spring 2018 Recipients

The Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1995 in memory of Helyn B. Reich, wife of founding AZM President Seymour D. Reich. Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who have chosen to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or post-college long-term programs in Israel. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the recipients of the Spring 2018 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship. These three young people were chosen for their impressive commitment to Zionism and their high level of academic achievements. 


Jeremy Pesner holds a B.A. from Dickinson College and a graduate degree from Georgetown University. He has participated in previous Israel Programs and was selected as a participant the Israel Tech Challenge Experience working where he worked in software development and met with leaders in Israel’s tech sector while studying the Tel Aviv startup community. He is a participant in the Israel Government Fellows program and hopes to gain even greater experience and exposure to Israel’s IT and telecommunications fields.

Read Jeremy’s essay on his connection to Zionism


Michelle Schein hails from Massachusetts and graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations with Honors. She interned at various members of Congress and was very involved with Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus, including Brown Students for Israel where she served as President. She received the 2016 AIPAC Campus Activists Award for her work on campus. She will be interning at the Arava Institute Academic Program.

Read Michelle’s essay on her connection to Zionism


Rachel Goldberg graduated from the University of Rochester in 2015 and has been living in Boston since her graduation. In Boston, she has been involved with JNF, the JCRC, and CJP, while working as the Director of Community Relations at the Consulate General of Israel to New England. She will be studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Rachel states “As Israel nears its 7 th anniversary, we must not only remember the country’s roots, but also acknowledge its incredible strides in technology and innovation, humanitarianism, and equal rights, just to name a few. By promoting Israel’s relevant and heroic accomplishments, we can effectively combat critics, educate the greater population, and ensure Israel’s prosperity for generations to come.”

Read Rachel’s essay on her connection to Zionism

Meet the HBR Scholarship Fall 2017 Recipients

The Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1995 in memory of Helyn B. Reich, wife of founding AZM President Seymour D. Reich. Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who choose to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or attend post-college long-term programs. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.


The American Zionist Movement is excited to announce the recipients of the Fall 2017 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Award. The recipients are dedicated advocates for Israel who have demonstrated strong leadership skills on their respective campuses and Jewish communities. We truly believe that their tremendous work will greatly contribute to furthering the commitment of American Jews to Zionism upon their return to the United States, and we wish them the best of luck for their upcoming year in Israel.


Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 11.01.25 PMEden Elimelech is a student at Drexel University and a soon to be graduate. She will intern in Israel through the Destination Israel program. She was very involved with various Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus, including Hillel and Chabad, where she served as student president of the latter. Zionism runs deep within Eden. In her own words: “for when parts of the world are no longer safe or welcoming for Jews, Israel will be that one beacon in the darkness like a lighthouse that will steer us away from rocky shores and to the one place where a Jew can be a Jew. Israel is not just my home or a home to the thousands of other Jews alive today.”

Read Eden’s essay on her connection to Zionism


14364855_10207280073780474_5466611046828700863_nJessica Kasmer-Jacobs grew up in Massachusetts and graduated cum laude from New York University in 2014 where she was President of the Hillel Board. Following graduation, she served as editor and writer at the Wall Street Journal, and recently obtained a Master of Philosophy from Trinity College in Dublin. Her experiences facing anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in Dublin pushed her actively dedicate her time to standing up for Israel. Jessica hopes that the Israel Government Fellows program she will be participating in will provide her with the tools to even more effectively defend Israel upon her return to the United States.

Read Jessica’s essay on her connection to Zionism


Picture Jessica ZimmermanJessica Zimmerman graduated last year from the New College of Florida and will be a Teaching Assistant this year in Haifa through the MASA Israel Teaching Fellows program. She had been involved in Jewish and Zionist communal organizations since her youth, such as working in partnership with Jewish summer camps, local Jewish Federations, along with the AJC and the World Zionist Organization. Her commitment to Zionism is impressive, and she beautifully writes “Today Israel signals a new age, an age where Jews have a safe haven, a world where Jews do not have to fear forced conversion, torment, eviction, and genocide. I will fight for Israel until my last breathe on this earth because without Israel, who am I?”.

Read Jessica’s essay on her connection to Zionism


Picture Liat KastnerLiat Kastner is from Oregon and graduated from Reed College last year. She will be spending her year in Israel at the Yahel social justice program, and hopes to work in the Jewish sector upon her return to the United States. Liat has had a relationship with Israel since childhood and says that Israel is “the most important place in the world to [her] where [she is] not an “other” or an “outsider,” and can be proud of [her] Judaism and [her] family’s history.”



Read Liat’s essay on her connection to Zionism


Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 8.00.53 AMNikki Golomb just graduated from the University of Delaware and previously spent a semester abroad studying at Tel Aviv University in 2015. She will be returning to Israel this fall to take part in the Way More Israel program. Nikki was involved with various Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus as a student at Delaware, including participation as a Hasbara Fellow. She greatly hopes to work in the Jewish non-profit sector when she will return to the United States. Nikki is extremely excited to be returning to Israel to learn more, explore, and deepen her connection to Zionism. She writes “more than anything, Zionism is loving and advocating for Israel. It is anything but easy. It is grueling, confusing, and an endless journey.”

Read Nikki’s essay on her connection to Zionism


passport photoPeter Young studied at San Diego State University where he earned a Bachelors in Modern Jewish Studies. He will be spending the upcoming year at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, which he hopes will help him learn more about new perspectives while expanding his knowledge of Judaism and Israeli culture. He is greatly looking to utilize this amazing experience to advance towards his goal of becoming a Rabbi in the United States. Peter is deeply committed to his Judaism, to promoting Jewish life, and to being an unceasing advocate for Israel.

Read Peter’s essay on his connection to Zionism


Andrew Seligson hails from Kansas and is a recent graduate from Oberlin College. He most recently interned at the Permanent Mission of Israel at the United Nation and will be an Israel Government Fellow this coming year in Jerusalem. He is excited by this opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in Israel by directly making a difference for the Jewish People across the globe. As a staunch Zionist,  Andrew believes that “as long as we remain strong and committed to our mission, we can make a state of the Jewish people as strong, flourishing, and peaceful as it 

August 17: AZM Denounces Richard Spencer Calling Himself a “White Zionist”

Press Release

August 17, 2017 –Today “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer said he is a “White Zionist” during a television interview broadcast in Israel.

In a statement by the American Zionist Movement (AZM), Richard D. Heideman, President, and Herbert Block, Executive Director, said:

“For Mr. Spencer to claim to be a Zionist is a gross perversion of what Zionism is. Zionism is a movement of unity and love which brought together the Jewish people worldwide to push for the creation of a democratic State of Israel in our ancestral homeland. The 1948 Declaration of Independence of Israel stated that the new nation, formed after decades of Zionist efforts, “will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions”. These are the positive values which AZM and Zionists today continue to espouse and strive for, especially as this month we mark the 120th anniversary of the founding of modern Zionism when Theodor Herzl convened the Zionist Congress in August 1897 in Basel.

‘In the midst of what we have seen in Charlottesville, where the alt-right marched together with white supremacists and neo-Nazis, carrying the swastika which symbolizes the evil genocide of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, it is a disgrace for anyone to claim a link between those hateful and racist protests and Zionism. As President Rivlin of Israel said yesterday: ‘The very idea that in our time we would see a Nazi flag – perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism – paraded in the streets of the world’s greatest democracy, and Israel’s most cherished and greatest ally is almost beyond belief’.”


Contact: Herbert Block
212-318-6100 x6946