Ambassador Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel in New York, spoke briefly before the Legislature of the Virgin Islands led by Senate President Myron D. Jackson on Thursday, as part of a three-day visit to the territory to build diplomatic relations.
Jackson introduced him on the floor during a Committee of Finance meeting at the Capitol Building on St. Thomas. Ambassador Dayan officially assumed the post in August 2016 and represents the State of Israel to communities from throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Delaware. His office recently became aware of being officially in charge of Israel’s diplomatic relations with the Virgin Islands of the United States.
“We appreciate the interest and look forward to your relations here,” President Jackson said.
Dayan’s visit to the Virgin Islands follows learning of the devastation of the territory resulting from last year’s hurricanes from Rabbi Michael Feshbach of the Synagogue in St. Thomas.
“Our desire was to assist and help the entire community of the Virgin Islands in its days of disaster,” Dayan said, adding that he planned to engage the Hebrew Congregation and make a small donation to My Brother’s Workshop during his stay.
President Jackson and other lawmakers touched on a range of topics with the Israeli diplomat to include agriculture, food security, health, tourism, education, renewable energy and the ongoing conflict in Gaza during informal conversation. Jackson spoke to the longstanding history of the Jewish population on St. Thomas, which developed in Savan along Jode Gade amidst the French and free Blacks. He encouraged Dayan to visit the island’s oldest Jewish cemetery in the neighborhood.
“The Jewish community of the Virgin Islands is an ancient one,” Dayan said. “We hope this is the starting of a relationship that will flourish.”
Senators Jean Forde, Kurt Vialet, Marvin Blyden, Brian Smith, Tregenza Roach, Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly and Dwayne DeGraff were among those greeting the ambassador.