July 2, 2014
The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust’s Executive Director, Sally N. Levine, returned on June 27 from a 5-day mission to Israel with Governor Nathan Deal and a delegation of state of Georgia officials and business leaders. The delegation visited Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Herzliya and Atlanta’s sister city of Ra’anana.
The delegation’s itinerary included visits to various holy sites, the Israel museum, Israel Aircraft Industries, Hadassah Medical Center and Yad Vashem. Governor Deal participated in a wreath laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and Mrs. Deal read the poem “Birdsong” at the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem.
Levine extended her trip an extra day to return to Yad Vashem and to learn about what resources are available to support the Holocaust Commission’s work throughout the state of Georgia. She met with the curator of the museum and the Director of the International Seminars for Educators Department at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies.
“It was an opportunity to meet with potential partners at Yad Vahsem… Aside from the regular on-site exhibition, Yad Vashem has a series of traveling exhibitions…[Yad Vashem] also conducts Holocaust research and is the source of some new scholarship in the field, particularly today, in regard to recently available materials from the former Soviet Union,” said Levine.
Since 1994, Israel and Georgia have had a long-established partnership through government, friendship, business, international trade, tourism and a variety of other avenues. While in Israel, the Georgia Department of Economics hosted a seminar for Israeli entrepreneurs about doing business in Georgia which Levine also attended.
Levine commented, “Although I knew that the Holocaust is an important part of the narrative of the establishment of the modern state of Israel, I did not anticipate the interest of so many who are part of the Israeli business community. In seeking out locations in which to do business in America, the existence of a Holocaust Commission in Georgia is another criterion by which to judge whether our state provides a hospitable environment for Israelis. It was a source of interest that our state is one of about only a dozen [in the United States] which has a Holocaust Commission.”
The delegation included First Lady Sandra Deal; Chris Carr – Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic development; Paul Bowers – President and CEO of Georgia Power; Chris Carpenter – Partner with the Garrett McNatt Hennessey & Carpenter 360 law firm; Seth Cohen – Director of Network Services with the Schusterman Philanthropic Network; Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald – Georgia Department of Public Health; Robert Hendricks – Senior Vice President, CIO and CTO at McKesson Technology Solutions; Chancellor Hank Huckaby – University System of Georgia; Marty Kogon – President of Pull-a-Part; Hala Moddelmog – President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; Jay Neely – Vice President of Law & Public Affairs at Gulfstream Aerospace; Joel Neuman – Vice President and Senior Managing Counsel with The Coca-Cola Co.; Sam Olens – Georgia Attorney General; Shai Robkin – President and CEO of Conexx.