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Mayor of Jerusalem Calls for an Undivided Jerusalem at JNF National Conference

Two-Day Conference in Atlanta a Huge Success

Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 •

October 15, 2010Atlanta, GA -- Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, delivered a significant address on his “New Vision for Jerusalem,” on Monday, October 11, before more than 500 people at Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) annual conference at the Intercontinental Buckhead in Atlanta.

Barkat, a rising political star, called for an undivided Jerusalem at the closing session of the conference, which boasted the largest attendance in JNF history. It also marked the first time the conference was held in Atlanta and the first time Barkat was in Atlanta.

The excitement at the conference began at the opening plenary on Sunday morning, when a group of anti-Israel, anti-JNF protesters barged in shouting, uninvited, and interrupting Dr. Kenneth W. Stein’s session on the origins of modern Israel.

Their distortion of the facts underscored the conference’s objective of promoting the positive impact JNF makes in Israel and Israel makes in the world. It reinforced the reality that tens of thousands of American college kids are faced with these distortions and lies everyday, and that JNF must stand up for our children and arm them with the facts.

“If Israel and JNF wasn’t on top of its game, you wouldn’t have seen any of these protesters,” said JNF President Stanley Chesley. “This little demonstration should be an inspiration to us. An inspiration for us to continue our good work that benefits all of Israel’s residents.”

The 2-day conference was a huge success, with inspiring speeches by Dr. Stein; Gilad Erdan, Minister of Environmental Protection; and Dr. Uzi Landau, Minister of National Infrastructure; and others. The gala at the National Aquarium on Sunday night featured moving, heartfelt remarks by special guests Martin Luther King III and Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta.

Israeli singer Shuly Natan, best known for her heartfelt rendition of Jerusalem of Gold, sung originally just weeks before the start of the Six-Day War, told her story and sang to a teary audience to close the conference on Monday.

But it was Barkat’s words for that drew a standing ovation.

“Jerusalem must stay the undivided capital of the Jewish people,” Barkat said at the conference’s closing session. “It cannot fulfill its role as the religious center for over 3 ½ billion people providing freedom of religion for all faiths if it is divided.  We must invest in it for the benefit of the world. We must get it off the negotiating table so we can focus on what needs to be done-- for all its residents.”

To watch Mayor Barkat’s full speech, click here. To watch highlights of his speech, click here.                

For more information, please contact Jodi Bodner at 212-879-9305 ext. 221 or

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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