AMIT’s Southeast Region Director Roni Raab, will be speaking at two leading South Florida synagogues to share how his harrowing childhood experience of being hijacked and held hostage by terrorists has fueled his lifelong support for Israel.

The events will take place on Monday, May 9, at 5:30 pm at the Boca Raton Synagogue, and Tuesday, May 10 at 12 pm at the Young Israel of Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale.

Raab was only six years old in 1970 when terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked his Israel to New Jersey bound flight, rerouting its destination to a remote desert airstrip in Jordan. Raab’s airline was among one of four in a series of hijackings by the PFLP that largely targeted Jewish foreign nationals that year, culminating in a Jordanian civil war to later become known as Black September. The terrorists sequestered the individuals who were Jewish, holding Raab, his siblings, his mother and other passengers hostage, bartering their lives in exchange for the release of the hijackers’ imprisoned comrades throughout the world, including those in Israel. Bolstering their threat, the terrorists encased the plane with explosives, providing their victims with the bare minimum of food and water, and maintaining an atmosphere of terror during their imprisonment.

“My family agonized for days during our detainment, wondering and waiting if and when we would be killed,” said Raab. “Growing up in the aftermath of this traumatic experience, I channeled my family’s collective emotion into the only viable solution that exists for the world’s inevitable pervasive antisemitism problem: maintaining a strong and robust State of Israel. I apply this ideology to every aspect of my life and career and am now very fortunate to be working with AMIT on their crucial advances in Israel’s educational infrastructure and towards strengthening Israel’s future one child at a time.”

Joining Raab on these speaking engagements will be AMIT alumnus Leah Genie who serves as a social counselor in Kiryat Malachi. Genie was born in Ethiopia and emigrated with her family as a child, settling in Israel’s periphery. She credits AMIT’s educators and AMIT Kiryat Malachi for providing her with a world-class education and with the inspiration and drive to help other immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union like herself.

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