Atlanta -- Lt. Col. (Res.) Ronnie Porat, who has served the Jewish National Fund’s Southeastern region as an Israeli Emissary since 2007, will be moving back to Israel at the end of September. Ronnie contributed significantly to forging meaningful and significant relationships with the community and expanding the message of JNF's voice in Israel throughout the Southeast. In his honor, friends are invited to contribute to JNF’s investment in the Negev town of Yerucham; a part of JNF’s vision for the area that is close to Ronnie’s heart.
"After six years devoted to JNF, it will be sad to say goodbye to Ronnie," said Beth Gluck, JNF SE Region Director. "Our region is honoring Ronnie with a plaque on the Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem as a tribute to his service to Israel and to JNF. The Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill recognizes the heroism and courage of Jewish soldiers who, throughout history, have fought to defend their countries. Ronnie served in the Israel Defense Forces and as an Israeli diplomat overseas, and a plaque on Ammunition Hill is a very fitting tribute."
Ronnie’s past military and diplomatic experience served JNF well. Between 1976 -1987, Ronnie served in the Israel Defense Forces’ Armored Troops and Military Intelligence divisions. In 1988, he joined the Israeli Foreign Service and served in the Israeli Embassies in Oslo, Norway and Helsinki, Finland, and as Israeli Consul in Cairo, Egypt. Ronnie was a member of the advanced team that opened the first Israeli embassy in Jordan and served as the first Israeli Consul in Amman.
“I cannot imagine JNF without Ronnie," said Lauren Mescon, a former JNF president currently serving as Chair of the Central Arava Committee and JNF Makor Member. "He is so committed and so passionate and so down to earth it is easy to forget all the great things he has done for the State of Israel, not to mention JNF. I had the good fortune to travel with Ronnie on a mission from the Southeast. It was a phenomenal trip and one highlight was when he brought his father to share his experiences from surviving the Holocaust with us. Ronnie comes from amazing stock and his perseverance and advocacy for Israel certainly shows everyone that we, the Jewish people, will prevail in the future.”
Ronnie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science and economics from Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. Following his military and diplomatic career from 1995-2001, Ronnie generated and ran business initiatives between Israel and Arab entities in Egypt, Jordan, and the newly established Palestinian Authority. Prior to being JNF’s Israeli Emissary, Ronnie was recruited back into the military service and as a civilian, he served (2001-2007) in the Southern Command Military Headquarters in Be’er Sheva.
Ronnie and his wife, Tuti, a business consultant to Israeli nonprofit cultural organizations, have three children. His eldest daughter Shira, worked (2005-2008) as the executive assistant to the Ambassador of Israel in Washington, D.C. and now interns in Teva Pharmaceutical’s Legal Department in Israel. His middle son, Omri, a former Golani Brigade LRRP fighter, studies at IDC. Noa, his youngest, is a Weber Jewish Community High School graduate and was recently inducted as an officer in the Israeli Air Force.
“I have had the honor of working with Ronnie on a daily basis since he arrived in Atlanta," said Todd Starr, former JNF Atlanta President and current board member. "We have traveled the Southeast region of the United States together meeting new donors and spreading the word about JNF's mission. In addition, we have traveled to Israel to see multiple JNF projects as a team. Ronnie has become a close friend of mine and part of my family. I will miss his passionate JNF voice in support of Israel, the stellar way he educates others about JNF work, and as a my dear friend.”
Friends interested in honoring Ronnie should contact Beth Gluck, SE Director at 404.236.8990 or BGluck@jnf.org.