Washington Jewish Week

February 15, 2012

"Indefatigable." That is how one past chairman of The Israel Project, described her.

"A force of nature," added a prominent local Jewish communal professional describing Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, who 10 years ago started The Israel Project (TIP), a nonprofit educational organization created to provide the facts and a new approach to hasbara (public relations) about Israel and the Middle East to the press, policy makers and the public.

Mizrahi started TIP virtually on her own, with a few good friends who supported her efforts. Something had to be done, she recalled in an interview with Washington Jewish Week, to make the facts available, because Israel was losing the public relations war.

Now, 10 years later with 75 employees working out of Washington, D.C., Israel, India and China, Mizrahi and TIP have become the "go to" source for news outlets and individual reporters on world news impacting the state of Israel.

It's no 9 to 5 job. Mizrahi recalls the missed family opportunities and other complications arising from her daily routine on her laptop or on her phone, explaining, interpreting and analyzing. In the process, she and TIP had to balance domestic and international concerns and arguments, including those coming from the U.S. government and the state of Israel itself. Her objective was simple: she sought to present a clear, balanced perspective on the goings on, in and around Israel. Her efforts relied heavily on getting ahead of stories with an abundance of energy, borne of a quest for truth, clarity and perspective.

Mizrahi has, unquestionably, been successful. By any measure, her work, and that of TIP has made a difference. Just ask those responsible for the more than 46 million hits TIP's website has registered over the past 10 years.

Mizrahi has now decided to wind down her "formal, professional" relationship with TIP and transition to a more limited, volunteer position in the organization. She plans to focus her attention on working to improve the access special needs children have to educational services. As a mother of a special needs child herself, Mizrahi has the same drive to help those children as she does for the state of Israel.

We will miss Mizrahi's commanding presence at TIP. It took only a decade for her to become a reliable source and frequent contributor to WJW and other world and national media.

It is now up to the professional management team she has in place to maintain and elevate the quality and quantity of TIP's work. We will know soon enough, as the volatile Middle East doesn't allow for transitions or probationary periods.

We are hopeful that TIP will continue its history of success, and will remain true to Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi's impressive legacy.

Published in Washington Jewish Week.

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