More than 100 Jewish community leaders with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a humanitarian group working in more than 70 countries, met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem to mark the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel and to recognize the organization’s contribution to the Jewish state.

“We are honored to join President Rivlin and celebrate seven decades of Israeli independence and the hundred-plus-year commitment of JDC, and diaspora Jews, to empower Israel’s most vulnerable and provide opportunity for those on the margins of Israeli society,” said JDC President Stanley Rabin, a prominent Jewish leader and philanthropist from Dallas, and JDC CEO David Schizer.

“Through these efforts—empowering Jews and Arabs, seniors and youth, the poor and new immigrants—we are proud to strengthen Israel and ensure a bright future for all its citizens.”

At the meeting, the JDC presented Rivlin with a recently discovered JDC archival document, a 1920 letter from a cousin of the president’s father, Rabbi Moshe Rivlin, requesting JDC assistance for matzah and food for needy Jerusalem Jews at Passover.

“This year Israel is marking 70 years of independence, but the [JDC] has been standing behind Israel for even longer,” said Rivlin. “For more than 100 years, since World War I, you have been a safety net for our people.”

He added that “your dedication and commitment show that the connection between the state of Israel and the Jewish communities around the world is deep, important and cannot be broken.”

In Israel, the JDC develops social services in conjunction with the Israeli government, the local authorities and nonprofits, and other partners for the benefit of Israel’s most vulnerable populations: children at risk, the elderly population, the unemployed and people with disabilities.