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VIPAC - The Virtual Israel Political Action Committee

By Esther Finkle, The Jewish Press

American Jews have long searched for a means to express their support for Israel and convey their dissatisfaction to the U.S. government over its policy toward the Jewish State.

VIPAC, the Virtual Israel Political Action Committee, is an e-mail list which provides an outlet for Jews worldwide to petition the American government for a policy that is more supportive of Israel's security, historical and Biblical claims in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

VIPAC was founded in 1997 by two staunch supporters of Israel, New York residents Dr. Martin Elsant and Moish Berkowitz. Their list of participants which started with congregants from Berkowitz' synagogue, now totals over 400 members from locations worldwide.

Berkowitz, in a recent interview with The Jewish Press, explained that VIPAC was born out of the concern that "we go on with our lives day in and day out but what do we do to show our concern about what is happening to our fellow Jews in Israel and around the world?" He said that Elsant came up with the idea of sending a weekly letter to politicians, and enlisted his help; now the two co-chair VIPAC.

Each week, members receive a sample letter regarding U.S. policy toward Israel - typically the e-mail encourages American support for Israel's right to secure borders in its historical and Biblical homeland. The letter may be modified then sent to the VIPAC mailing list which includes the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Senator Daniel Moynihan D-NY, Senator Charles Schumer D-NY, Senator Trent Lott R-MS, and other politicians which VIPAC members may chose to add. Berkowitz said he is eager to obtain e-mail addresses of other politicians at the request of VIPAC members. He and Elsant take turns writing the letters but Berkowitz encourages other letter-writers to come forward.

Berkowitz stressed that although VIPAC members may have divergent political views, the "primary focus is to tell President Clinton and Vice President Gore that whatever you do, you must support Israel."

VIPAC has responded to numerous issues such as such as the plight of Israeli MIA Ron Arad and more recently, the incarceration of 13 Iranian Jews.

Berkowitz said he has received responses from some politicians who have been the target of VIPAC e-mails. He maintains that e-mail is an effective way to petition the government because it is expedient and practically effortless to send in large quantities, which will have a positive impact on the government. He emphasized that the only commitment involved in joining VIPAC is to send a weekly e-mail to the White House, and he encourages Jews everywhere to join.

To join VIPAC visit or to send a message, e-mail

Reprinted with permision