Ehud Olmert to Address J Street Gala

March 7th, 2012

WASHINGTON – Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert will address J Street’s Gala Dinner, at which Davidi Gilo, chairman of the J Street Board of Directors, will be honored. The dinner, which will be held on March 26 at 7:30 PM, will feature remarks by Prime Minister Olmert and by keynote speaker Anat Hoffman, a leading activist for religious pluralism in Israel. Legendary entertainer Theodore Bikel will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Olmert served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, during which time he worked to reinvigorate negotiations with the Palestinian Authority within the framework of the Annapolis Conference. In September 2008, he put forward the parameters of a peace deal that would have established a Palestinian state on territory equivalent to the pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza Strip with mutually agreed-upon land swaps. Of this proposal, the Prime Minister wrote in a New York Times op-ed last year: “A two-state solution is the only way to ensure a more stable Middle East and to grant Israel the security and well-being it desires. As tensions grow, I cannot but feel that we in the region are on the verge of missing an opportunity—one we cannot afford to miss.” Before assuming the position of Prime Minister, Olmert served as a Member of Knesset for more than three decades and as Mayor of Jerusalem. “Throughout Prime Minister Olmert’s tenure in the Israeli government and since that time, he has demonstrated, through both words and actions, support for achieving a two-state solution and comprehensive regional peace,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president. “J Street looks forward to engaging him in the conversation on how the United States can help bring true peace and security to Israel and the entire region.” Keynote speaker Anat Hoffman is a major leader for social justice in Israel. She is the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, (IRAC), the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, and a founding member of Women of the Wall. Davidi Gilo, founder and chairman of J Street, will receive J Street’s annual Tzedek v’Shalom (Justice and Peace) award. Gilo is a successful serial entrepreneur whose generous philanthropy has focused on fostering democratic values in Israeli and Palestinian societies. He is the founder of the Gilo Center for Democracy at the Jerusalem University and has served on the boards of the Jewish Federation in San Francisco, Jewish Agency, JTA and Israel Policy Forum. The dinner caps off J Street’s third national conference, which is expected to draw over 2000 politicians, policymakers, opinion leaders and activists from across the United States, Israel and Europe. Other conference highlights include plenary addresses by distinguished Israeli author Amos Oz, former Mayor of Haifa and Head of the IDF Planning Branch General Amram Mitzna, renowned scholar Rabbi Donniel Hartman and several Members of Knesset. All conference programming will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, located at 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20001.