In 2006 the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles organized a pro-Israel rally but the response was rather lackluster. Not many showed up. That despite the fact that more than 200,000 Jews live in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Adam Milstein, A local businessman and successful real estate developer, took notice and decided that something should be done. People of Israeli and Jewish heritage needed an organization that could provide focus and engender a more proactive call to action.
In 2007 Adam Milstein co-founded the Israeli-American Council. Now, more than a decade later, the IAC is 250,000 active members strong. It is easily the largest organization of its kind in America, and probably the world.
Adam Milstein was born in Haifa, Israel. He grew to manhood there. At age 19 he entered service with the Israeli Defense Forces. He saw active duty in the the Yom Kippur War participating with General Ariel Sharon in the Egypt campaign. After the war, Milstein completed his college education at the Technion.
In 1982, Milstein and his wife, Gila, made the gut-wrenching decision to immigrate to the United States. Leaving his beloved homeland was among the most difficult decisions of his life. But Milstein also viewed the United States as Israel’s greatest ally and home to millions of Jews. Carving out a successful career here would serve a greater purpose.
Establishing the IAC was a natural decision. Adam Milstein realized that rallying Israeli-American Jews to augment and bolster the relationship between his native country and his adopted home would be good for everyone. It filled a fundamental need among American Jews feeling cut-off from their homeland and heritage.
Adam Milstein likes to talk about something he calls “Israeliness.” He believes that Jews living in America can best develop their full potential if they embrace their Israeliness as they build new lives in other nations all over the globe.
Adam Milstein is also the founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that has been serving Jewish people for some 20 years. Many of its functions naturally dovetail with the work of the IAC.