The new AACI Advocacy Initiative – putting your hours where your mouth is

I recently spoke to Asa Cohen, the president of the AACI since April, 2010. This article is based on what he told me in that conversation.

The AACI has a 60-year history of watching English speaking olim move to Israel, deal with all the changes and, in many instances, take action to try to make Israel a more friendly place to live (aka, a little less aggravating).

It was AACI members who first brought assisted living facilities to Israel. The AACI also later worked with the members of the Knesset Finance Committee on a tax commission that modified the tax laws in Israel in order to encourage North Americas to make aliya. In the past, if you made aliya after the age of 60, you didn’t qualify for health insurance. AACI members helped facilitate changing that law which affects not only North American olim but olim from anywhere in the world.

Now, Asa Cohen, in his new presidency, has started a new initiative. He explained that the pattern was always that the action started with a few individual AACI members. But now Cohen wants to start initiatives that begin at the level of the whole organization.

And we thought the lines for Bituach Leumi were long!

The way it will work is that there will be three groups working together. The steering committee will be made up of some AACI board members and AACI members. They’ll decide which non-political issues that come up in Israeli life should be tackled. The corps of advisors will consist of volunteer professionals with expertise in a wide range of fields like economics, taxes, law, medicine and social work. They will decide what the best way is to approach the issues at hand. The project committees will be the foot soldiers getting the work done on the ground.

Probably every one of us who has moved here from an English speaking country has had experiences where we say, “This is not how it should be!” Now we have a chance to not just talk about it but actually make a difference as part of a group, all working towards common goals to make Israel an even more wonderful place to live than it is already.

What issues would you want to be involved with? Please don’t hesitate to write your ideas here on the blog and/or you can email Asa Cohen at to get involved.

Photo by tiarescott on flickr. It is taken at Tian’anmen Square – China in 1988. It is a line-up to see Mao’s tomb.


One thought on “The new AACI Advocacy Initiative – putting your hours where your mouth is

  1. AACI has also successfully advocated for the passage and enforcement of legislation prohibiting smoking in public spaces.

    AACI organized an English tutoring program with over 1,000 of its members to assist the thousands of Russian and Ethiopian olim who arrived in Israel during the 1990’s and needed knowledge of English for professional or educational purposes.

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