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The State of Louisiana formally recognized Israel's 70 years of independence on May 22, 2018.  This notable anniversary was celebrated throughout the day by both the Legislature and by Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards.

In the afternoon, the Louisiana Senate and Louisiana House of Representatives each unanimously passed resolutions - S.R. 3 and H.R. 2, respectively - in support of the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel.  Several members of the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Jewish communities were in attendance at the State Capitol and were recognized by the resolutions' lead authors.  Video recordings of the proceedings can be found hereand here.

In the evening, Governor Edwards and the First Lady hosted an Israel at 70 reception at their mansion, with approximately 100 community members in attendance.  Israel's Consul General to the Southwest, Gilad Katz, spoke to the audience about the similarities between Israel and Louisiana and his own appreciate for our state.  He was immediately followed by the Governor, who spoke about the remarkable achievement of Israel's existence, its numerous contributions to the worlds, and the unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States.

It was truly a historic day for Louisiana and for the Jewish communities of this state," remarked New Orleans Jewish Federation CEO, Arnie D. Fielkow.  "The Federation and the JCRC would like to thank the Governor, the Legislature and all of the leaders whose tireless efforts over the years.

The Governor also took the opportunity to announce Executive Order 2018-15, which prohibits the State of Louisiana from contracting with any company that supports a boycott of Israel.  Withe the Governor's signature, Louisiana became the 25th state in the country to enact such a law.  The Executive Order can be read here.

"We sincerely appreciate the Governor's action.  Our organization's support for a peaceful resolution of the persistent conflict in the Middle East.  We continue to hope for a solution that ultimately results in two states - Israel and Palestine - and other neighboring countries living side by side in harmony, prosperity and security," said Fielkow.

Ellen Sager