The Israeli diplomat who handles the country's business in the Midwest brought a message of gratitude to St. Louis Tuesday night for the support the local Jewish community has shown to Israel during its three-week military campaign in Gaza.
"I am a conduit between you and Jerusalem," Roey Gilad, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, told a standing-room-only crowd at the Jewish Community Center. "The message that I am going to take from here and deliver to Jerusalem is sound and clear. St. Louis stands with Israel, and the right of Israel to self-defense."
As the Consul General to the Midwest, Roey Gilad travels between 11 Midwest states representing Israeli interests. This week he visited St. Louis for the second time since becoming the consul general last February.
“I’m there to build bridges,” said Gilad. “The bridge is already there, I’m there to make it stronger and wider between the Midwest and the state of Israel, between Missouri and the state of Israel and between St. Louis and the state of Israel."
The animosity between the governments of Israel and Iran is significant.
Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei once compared Israel to a cancerous tumor which should be “cut-off.” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Israel would be “eliminated,” and that the country has no roots in the Middle East.
Israel has drawn a line in the sand and is threatening preemptive action to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability.
Two people from their respective countries, however, are engaging in peer-to-peer diplomacy, putting aside hostility.