Israeli official to visit Anniston for Haifa Symphony concert
by Daniel Gaddy
Jan 24, 2014 | 3057 views |  0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Opher Aviran
Opher Aviran
Local officials today will play host to an Israeli diplomat after he attends a performance of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Anniston.

Based in Atlanta, Consul General Opher Aviran represents the government of Israel in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The orchestra’s performance, to be held at the Anniston Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m., is part of the Knox Concert Series.

Phil Webb, chairman of the board for the concert series, said the visit is an honor for Calhoun County.

“To have him and this entire group — this wonderful orchestra — here ... it’s going to be a very fun evening,” he said.

Patricia Smith, chairman emeritus for Knox, said that in addition to the performance, Aviran will speak to a group of local students and tour Anniston’s Temple Beth El, a Jewish synagogue dedicated in 1893.

“I am honored to visit the town of Anniston for the first time, a town which has hosted a small, yet integral Jewish presence for over 120 years,” Aviran was quoted as saying in a statement emailed to The Star. “The continued use of Temple Beth El, which I look forward to visiting, speaks to the continuity of the Anniston Jewish community.”

Allen Bodner, who’s treasurer of the board of directors of Temple Beth El, where he’s been a member for 65 years, will lead the tour for the consul and his family.

“I think it's quite an honor really,” Bodner said. “I'm looking forward to meeting him, and I think it's nice he's taking an interest. Anniston is not a big city, but we do have a lot of history in our synagogue.”

Aviran, a native of Haifa, said watching the orchestra perform will be an added treat for him.

Webb said organizers of the series plan a reception for Aviran, orchestra members and Knox patrons.

According to a biography sent by representatives of the consulate in Atlanta, Aviran was appointed consul general in 2010. He joined Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983, serving in Burma, Australia and the Netherlands.

Aviran in 1999 was appointed director of the Jordanian, Syrian and Lebanese Affairs Department in Jerusalem.

He also served as senior foreign policy advisor to the Israel Defense Forces Planning Branch in Tel Aviv, and he oversaw the Bureau of Personnel Training and Development for Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

According to the group’s website, Knox Concert Series is a nonprofit organization that for 68 years has brought nationally and internationally known performing artists to Calhoun County.

For more information about the Haifa Symphony Orchestra’s performance, visit

Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3560. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.

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