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APRIL 15, 2018



Today's shows:

Hour 1  

"Meet the Consulate General of Israel"

  with Shlomi Kofman  

Hour 2  

"Vice President for Policy at the Invest in Education Foundation" WE THE PEOPLE RADIO
  with Peter Murphy  
1st Hour  

"Meet the Consulate General of Israel"

Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest San Francisco


Shlomi Kofman began his appointment as Israel’s Consul General to the Pacific Northwest in August 2017. He most recently served as a Policy Advisor to the Deputy Foreign Ministers based in Jerusalem, Israel.

Over the course of his 20-year diplomatic career, Kofman has served as Israel’s Deputy Consul General in New York City, Chief of Staff to Ambassadors in Washington D.C., Deputy Ambassador in Thailand and Deputy Consul General in Shanghai. His past domestic Foreign Ministry positions include Director of North American Economic Affairs, Policy Advisor to the Deputy Foreign Minister, Diplomatic Advisor & Director of the International Department in the Parliament and Ministry of National Infrastructure, and the Head of the Northeast Asia sector. Prior to joining the Foreign Ministry, Kofman worked in the High-Tech Industry representing the Israeli company Orbot in South Korea, as well as a consultant to a leading Israeli company, ECI.

Kofman holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations & East Asian studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Master’s from Webster University – Shanghai University of Finance & Economics. He also holds an Associate’s engineering degree.

Shlomi was born in Tbilisi, the capital of the Soviet Republic of Georgia and made Aliya (immigrated) to Israel at the age of nine, after being refused for three years by soviet authorities.

He has been married for 20 years to Sharon and they have two children, Emma and Jonathan.

Phone: (415) 844-7501

Welcome to the Consulate General of Israel in San Francisco.

The Consulate General of Israel is the official representative of the State of Israel that serves the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States: Alaska, Northern California (Districts 1-21), Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

The Consulate is responsible for coordinating relationships between the State of Israel and national, state & local organizations, businesses, offices of public officials, and citizens within the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Whether you require visa information for visiting Israel, are an Israeli citizen residing in the Pacific Northwest Region, or simply would like to learn more exciting facts about the State of Israel, the Consulate is here to assist you.

Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest

456 Montgomery Street #2100

San Francisco, CA 94104

show map

Phone: (415) 844-7500
Please see email list below for specific departments.
We encourage you to email us.


Consular Department public reception hours (in person)

Monday - Friday

10:00AM - 13:00PM

Consular Department phone
Phone: (415) 844-7510
 Please refrain from leaving messages and contact us by e-mail:


Israel in San Francisco
March 15 at 2:30 pm
Israel is turning 70! Check out this timeline of Israeli achievement since 1948: 

70 Years of Israeli Achievement
Join us on a journey through the last 70 years to discover how Israel has become one of the most creative and innovative countries in the world. Our fascinating timeline of accomplishment is the first part in a special multimedia package we've created to celebrate Israel's 70th anniversary.

2nd Hour


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 "Vice President for Policy at the Invest in Education Foundation"


Today's  guest: Peter Murphy

Peter Murphy is the Vice President of the Invest in Education Foundation and has held this position since its founding in 2012. Invest in Education Coalition promotes school choice and improving K-12 education. Today we'll be discussing their important campaign to promote school choice through a National K-12 Scholarship Tax Credit.

Peter previously served as Policy and Communications Director at the New York Charter Schools Association, the statewide membership organization of charter schools in New York, which advocates on behalf of the state’s more than 200 charter schools in operation or approved to open. He also wrote for the Association’s weblog, The Chalkboard and was a regular guest blogger on the NY Ed Reform blog.

Exutive Director, Thomas Carroll contends that school choice advocates should take advantage of Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress to promote an aggressive school choice agenda in 2018, including making the National K-12 Scholarship Tax Credit a reality after already securing a major school choice victory in the tax reform legislation that was passed at the end of the year.   #EdTaxCredit50 is an advocacy campaign for the adoption of a national tax credit to encourage charitable donations to non-profit K-12 scholarship funds in all 50 states.

H.R.5153 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) “USA Workforce Tax Credit Act”.


Trump’s School Choice Victory Is Just the Beginning
By Thomas W. Carroll

Parents and others will have a new tax-advantaged way to save money for their children to attend the public, private or religious school of their choice under the tax reform plan recently adopted by the U.S. Congress with President Trump’s support.

Under the new law, the popular 529 college savings accounts will be expanded to allow parents to use these accounts to save tax-free for K-12 public, private and religious tuition.  The measure affects 50 million students across the United States.  Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the idea’s champion, notes that the reform amounts to “the most significant school choice victory ever adopted.”  An earlier Cruz amendment to the Senate tax plan provided the language ultimately used in the final bill.

A grassroots coalition of more than 70 organizations across the nation assembled by the #EdTaxCredit50 Coalition supported this monumental reform. 

The 529 reform will be able to expand quickly because there already are 13 million 529 college accounts today, with about $300 billion in total savings.  More than 75 percent of these savings are held by families with $150,000 or less in income.  As of January 1st, withdrawals from these accounts and any new 529 accounts may be used to pay K-12 tuition.

While the 529 expansion is a great outcome in and of itself, it also helps lay the foundation for broader school choice victories in 2018.  The 529 reform has several important features that can serve as a precedent for future action:


·         Applies to parents and students in all 50 states;

·         Doesn’t require any further state approvals or “opt in”;

·         Includes working-class and middle-class families, not solely the economically disadvantaged (in fact, no income threshold is applied at all, making it akin to economist Milton Friedman’s vision of universal parental choice); and

·         Imposes no new regulations on private schools or any infringements on religious liberty.


Each of these is a significant feature that naysayers—including many in the school choice movement—claimed could not be attained in the current political environment.

Unfortunately, not a single Democrat voted for the tax bill in either house, no Democratic Senator voted for the Cruz Amendment, and no Democrat voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.  This isn’t a partisan observation, just a statement of fact.

This partisan reality suggests that school choice advocates should take advantage of Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress while it lasts.

What should still be done?

At the top of the list is a national tax credit to encourage charitable donations to nonprofit K-12 scholarship funds.  For every dollar donated to a nonprofit scholarship fund, a taxpayer would reduce his tax burden by a dollar.  The plan would inject charitable dollars into the hands of parents to make school choice and attaining a quality education a reality for millions of American children.  This idea has the broadest grassroots support of any school choice idea.  Presently, more than 240 organizations, including more than 40 labor unions, support a K-12 scholarship tax credit.

This idea could be improved by also encouraging charitable donations to apprenticeship and workforce preparation programs.  This additional change would help close the “skills gap” that leaves millions unemployed at the same time that millions of jobs go unfilled.

Second, there is broad support for ensuring that the families of members of the U.S. military are afforded the broadest choice of public, private and religious schools for their children.  Many military families are forced to send their children to inferior district schools near military bases without being given additional options.  This simply is not acceptable given the sacrifices made by men and women in uniform and their families.

Third, the recently adopted expansion of 529 savings accounts to include K-12 tuition should be expanded to encompass homeschooling expenses.  Homeschooling was included in the original Cruz Amendment, but was deleted as a result of a last-minute procedural maneuver by Senate Democrats, led by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont).  This partisan ploy rubbed a lot of Republican Members of Congress the wrong way and there is renewed interest in both chambers to allow homeschooling families to save their own money in a tax-advantaged way, especially since these families pay taxes for schools they do not use.

President Trump and the U.S. Congress can be proud of the recent school choice victory, but no time should be wasted building on this victory in 2018.


—Thomas W. Carroll is Executive Director of the #EdTaxCredit50 Coalition