State of Tennessee to celebrate Israel at March 7 ceremony

Above: On Feb. 14, Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel from Chabad of Nashville met with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, presenting him with a personalized tzedakah box for his desk and sharing a moment of prayer in his office.

The state of Tennessee will officially show that it stands with Israel, at a ceremony at the Old Supreme Court Chambers on March 7 at 11 a.m.

Governor Bill Lee will sign a declaration that was introduced into the State Senate by Sen. Mark Pody of Lebanon. Business leaders, legislative leaders, representatives from the Israeli Consulate and from the state’s Jewish community have been invited to the event. According to Pody, there will also be special performances from Irlene Mandrell and Ricky Skaggs.

Pody said passing the resolution is important for “Biblical, economic and political reasons.”

Pody filed the Senate bill on Jan. 10, and on Feb. 12 the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee referred it to the floor, 9-0. On Feb. 21, it passed the Senate, 28-0, and was sent to the House.

Sens. Dolores Gresham of Somerville, Brian Kelsey of Collierville and Dawn White of Murfreesboro were listed as co-sponsors.

The resolution “to express support for the Nation of Israel” says that Israel is America’s “most reliable partner in the Middle East, with both nations bound closely by historic and cultural ties as well as by mutual interests” including joint military exercises and cooperation in fighting terrorism.

“At this time of continued uncertainty in the world, Tennessee again desires to reaffirm its friendship with the Nation of Israel by expressing its unequivocal support for the Nation of Israel,” the resolution continues. “We hereby honor and commend the Nation of Israel and extend Tennessee’s friendship and esteem as we remain steadfast in our support.”

In April 2015, Tennessee became the first state to pass legislation condemning the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement that targets Israel. Many other states have followed suit, and in February similar legislation was moving forward to make Mississippi the 27th anti-BDS state.