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  • Writer's pictureAmerica for Israel

Interview with America for Israel Founders

Their mission began the moment their feet touched the Land of Israel over a decade ago, and the realization of AFI’s key initiatives taking root for the Land and people of Israel and of the US is humbling. Nathan and Shanda Hasse have sought ways to come alongside the Jewish State in a tangible way, and through their years of traveling to Israel paired with their passion for business and politics, America for Israel was launched.

America For Israel Founders, Nathan and Shanda Hasse with their children, Noah and Adele. Pictured in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter November 2022

Q: What inspired your love for Israel?

A: [Shanda] I can only say it's a supernatural passion planted deeply from the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. There are no explanations other than my heart for the Father. I remember as far back as First Grade when my church hosted a Passover Seder for our class, and never having heard about Passover, I was really excited to attend! I still remember the room where it was hosted, the way the lamb smelled and tasted, and the festive atmosphere that was so new to me. Never having heard of Israel growing up, other than passages read in the Bible, in retrospect, I can see how the seeds for this passion were planted from the earliest days of my childhood. Another time, I remember a field trip in middle school when we went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., and I was forever changed after walking in the shoes of a real girl my age through the ghetto, to the concentration camp, and everything she went through. I remember leaving there thinking I would do everything in my power to keep this from happening again. I was 12.

Fast forward to 2012 in my twenties. Nathan and I came across a Bible teaching that opened up the Biblical and modern significance of Israel to us, and we were immediately inspired to learn more about modern Israel. I remember walking outside and looking to the sky saying, "God, I know all about you, but I don't KNOW you. Whatever you're doing, I want in on it!" It's been history ever since. We had an opportunity to travel to Israel for our first tour with friends from Missouri in 2015, so we packed up ours and our two children's bags and set out to Israel with beaming excitement. We came home changed forever. Realizing our inheritance and Biblical connection to His Land was overwhelming, and we set out to be ambassadors for Ha'Aretz from that trip forward.

Q: Why America for Israel?

A: [Shanda and Nathan] We are passionate about the Marketplace, and through delegations we have attended in Israel and other countries, we realized that bringing trade and business to other nations is valuable not only for the country being visited, but for those on the delegation. We observed this unrealized beauty of merging business and relationships with our passion and dedication to God. This Kingdom view of the Marketplace is seldom examined, and we have made it our mission in our personal tech business to bring to the forefront God's truth and calling into everyday transactions, both internally and externally. This melding of worlds has been highly successful in our company, and witnessing it firsthand has implored us to consider the impact we can make as a NGO on mission to garner US support for Israel and vice-versa.With our growing political and business network in both the US and Israel, we are at a place that bringing this vision to life is timely. With the growing instances of anti-semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric globally, we decided we would not stand idly by allowing these misconstrued views take root. As America for Israel, we will educate US business leaders and
political leaders on the truth behind the variety of conflicts facing the Jewish State. AFI hosts official delegations to Israel in vertical-specific trips, aiming to create an impactful collective of new ambassadors for Israel in the US.

Q: What's different about America for Israel in comparison to other Pro-Israel non-government organizations?

A: [Nathan] America for Israel is unique. We have structured the non-governmental organization as a for-profit coalition partnering with businesses and individuals in the US and Israel. More than just advocating for the Jewish State, we assist in transactional business for our US and Israeli counterparts. AFI brings a collective group of experts to our membership to ensure success of bilateral transactions on both the US side and the Israel side. In our experience, delegations are intended to spark relationships between two nations, and we want to take it a step further in producing fruitful and meaningful relationships and business from each delegation with the goal of supporting Israel.

Another key difference is what we mentioned earlier: bringing God and His Kingdom into the Marketplace. We will have had a successful delegation if members in attendance leave Israel changed for the better in their relationship with the Father. More than connecting official business, (and we definitely do that!) we seek to connect the hearts of our members to the Biblical significance and beauty of the Land of Israel. Get business done, yes. Host official Knesset meetings, yes. But, let's take that a step further and showcase the expanse beauty and Biblical history of Israel.

Q: What's your long term goal for America for Israel?

A: [Shanda] The goal is simple: make Israel known and create lasting Ambassadors that will rally in support of the Jewish State no matter the trial. We view this as a long-term mission to bring delegations year over year, and in return, building a rolodex of true friends of Israel in the coming years. Impressing the truth of the Land to those we bring, changing hearts and minds for His Biblical truths, and cultivating a legacy of unwavering support in the coming generations for His set apart Land are keys to our goal set.

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