In a special display of community strength and unity, the Israeli-American Council (IAC) welcomed more than 800 guests to its 11th annual IAC gala in Los Angeles, this year held on March 17 at the Beverly Hilton.

The theme of the event, titled “My Story, Our Story,” celebrated the individual anecdotes that are interwoven in the collective story of the IAC’s coast-to-coast community.

Special guest Elan Carr, the recently appointed Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism within the U.S. State Department, was recognized for his work to develop and implement American foreign policies on combating discrimination against Jews around the world. Carr called on the IAC and other Jewish community groups to stand with him in fighting anti-Semitism and expressed the importance of Jewish unity in combating such hate.

He declared that the “IAC more than any other organization exudes Jewish unity.”

The evening also featured a keynote presentation on the story of Nir Caspi, a former member of the elite Israeli Naval Commando. Caspi, the co-founder and CEO of Cafe Landwer who now lives in Boston, serves as a local IAC council member.

The presentation included the screening of a clip from “One Night in Anzeria,” a documentary on Caspi’s survival in one of the most fatal operations in the history of Israel’s Navy and his subsequent journey of overcoming the odds to become a successful entrepreneur.

Following the screening, Israeli Channel 13’s senior defense correspondent Alon Ben-David interviewed Caspi about his journey and how it led him to become a leader within the IAC. “The IAC and I personally have a mission to show other aspects of Israel,” responded Caspi. “We always talk about Israel in terms of politics. We need to present other aspects, like food, music and culture.”

The event also featured entertainment from popular Israeli singer Ehud Banai. Distinguished guests included Congressman Brad Sherman, California State Assemblymen Jesse Gabriel and Richard Bloom, and Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin.

“Israeli-Americans share a unique and powerful story, which is reflected in the perspective and work of the IAC,” said the group’s Los Angeles regional director, Nadav Banai. “The gala celebrated the stories that inspire our commitment to ensuring a strong Jewish and Israeli identity today, and for future generations to come.”