In an interview at the beginning of his term, Dayan told me that his motto as Israel’s top diplomat in the Big Apple would be “Anashim achim anachnu” (We are all brothers). “I came here to maintain dialogue,” he said. “The first precondition, of course, is to talk to all people.”

Last week at the start of his second year as consul general, Dayan made good on that promise, meeting with a delegation of senior Agudath Israel of America leaders at his office in Manhattan.

This was the first official visit of Agudath Israel of America to the consulate.

According to a summary of the meeting provided to Mishpacha, the attendees discussed the importance of the preservation of the chareidi school system in Israel , and the budgets involved in this endeavor. They also discussed the significant investments of American chareidim in Israel as well as the ongoing political work of Agudah activists on behalf of the Jewish state.

In what seems to point to a distinction between Agudath Israel of America and Agudath Israel in Israel, the consulate noted that the invitees emphasized their apolitical status, acting as an umbrella organization for chareidi Jews in the United States. “Consul Dayan expressed his appreciation for the organization and the fact that it brings together Hasidim and Lithuanians under one roof,” the consulate said.

Chaskel Bennett, who attended the meeting, and is a member of the Agudah’s board of trustees, told Mishpacha that participants were struck by Dayan’s warmth and his familiarity with the issues. “He obviously did his homework and recognizes the vibrancy and commitment of the American chareidi community to Israel and the broader Jewish community,” Bennett said.

According to a comprehensive study released by UJA Federation–New York in 2012, 32 percent of the over 1.5 million Jews residing in New York City identify as Orthodox and more than six out of ten Jewish children in New York are Orthodox. The rapid growth of the chareidi community has given Jewish organizations like Agudah and the Orthodox Union (OU) some political clout and a seat at the table on budgetary issues, as well as some clear successes on a national level, particularly on religious freedom.

“This was an opportunity for him to meet with and hear how engaged and connected Agudath Israel leaders are on the American political scene,” Bennett noted. “I believe he was surprised at the depth and width of our involvement and the role we play both in local politics and national policy, especially on education and religious freedom issues. As a leading representative of the State of Israel in the US, Ambassador Dayan is highly respected, with influence that carries in Israel. As opportunities and issues arise, this relationship will be a benefit for the Jewish community here at home and abroad.”

Dayan is unique in his outreach efforts, always finding a way to impress his audience while maintaining his beliefs and status as a representative of the Israeli government. At a recent event at Chabad, Dayan pronounced “medinah” (the State of Israel) in a chassidic accent.

“Since my arrival in New York, I have devoted a great deal of my efforts to the unity of Israel and to bringing every Jew closer to the State of Israel,” Dayan said in a statement after the meeting. “I recognize and appreciate the role of Agudath Israel and Orthodox Judaism in America in strengthening both the State of Israel and the Jewish People — which are, in my opinion, the two most important tasks of our generation.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 687)