Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, described the religious and historical roots of the complex and enduring Israeli-American relationship. Military cooperation, shared economic growth in high-tech innovation and a common interest in environmental protection have augmented that relationship and play an important role in exchanges between San Antonio and Israel. Mayor Castro,for instance, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011 with an Israeli company for cooperation on recycled water:
Oren also mentioned Lyndon B. Johnson's reference to Israel as "America's Alamo in the Middle East," a reference that Israelis appreciate as a high honor, but one that — given the fate of the defenders — they don't particularly care to emulate.
The dinner was sponsored by BCFS Health and Human Services and is a highlight of the trip.