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Legislators return from ELNET Israel mission with renewed focus on diplomacy

They spoke to Israeli leaders; toured with the Israel Defense Forces; and met with Oct. 7 survivors and former hostages who were held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

ELNET trip participants visit the site of the Nova music festival in southern Israel, where on Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists infiltrated the Gaza border and killed hundreds of young people, February 2024. Credit: Courtesy.
ELNET trip participants visit the site of the Nova music festival in southern Israel, where on Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists infiltrated the Gaza border and killed hundreds of young people, February 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

The European Leadership Network (ELNET) just wrapped up its latest mission to Israel, integrating U.S. supporters with legislators from France, Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They spoke to Israeli leaders; toured sites in southern Israel devastated on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists who infiltrated the border; met with survivors of the attacks and former hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza; and explored ways to strategically align with Israel to address regional concerns.

David Siegel, ELNET-US president, and Jay Haberman, ELNET-US chief development officer, accompanied the delegation on the tour, which took place from Feb. 25 to Feb. 29.

“Before Oct. 7, ELNET had organized about 10 European missions to Israel in 2023, all of which helped expand Israel’s relations with dozens of Europe’s 44 nations,” said Siegel. “In the months following Oct. 7, ELNET organized another dozen delegations to provide Members of Parliament, policymakers and key decision-makers the opportunity to see the horrors for themselves and explore ways to bolster strategic ties between their countries and Israel.”

On Oct. 7, or Black Shabbat, Hamas terrorists and their supporters infiltrated communities along Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip, killing 1,200 people, wounding thousands, and taking some 240 men, women and children hostages. It counts as the deadliest terrorist attack against Israel since 1948.

According to Jay Haberman, “the ELNET participants on this mission are American leaders who represent ELNET’s future in the United States. These are accomplished individuals who are investing their human, intellectual and financial capital in the future of Israeli-European relationships, and they are doing so through ELNET because they believe in the organization’s ability to help shape a Western alliance that brings America., Europe and Israel into alignment.”

ELNET is a leading NGO dedicated to strengthening Europe-Israel relations based on shared democratic values and strategic interests.

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The European Leadership Network (ELNET) is a non-governmental, nonpartisan network with offices in France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium (European Union and NATO); Central and Eastern Europe (CEE); and Israel. Its programs provide platforms for senior European and Israeli policymakers to gain deeper insights into the mutual benefits of close relations; discuss geopolitical challenges; better understand the security threats faced by Israel; explore Israeli solutions to European needs; and pursue new opportunities for partnerships in defense, trade, energy, food security and tech innovation.
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