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Thank you Joe Biden

Thank you Joe Biden. Thank you for a life of service. Thank you for a Senate career of distinction. Thank you for a vice presidency that brought your honor and connections and wisdom to the world. Thank you for putting down the ploughshares and once again taking up the battle during a campaign that restored dignity to the Presidency. Thank you, now, for passing the torch in this ultimate act of courage and patriotism.  I look forward to your filling out your term with distinction, and campaigning for the next four months with your integrity and accomplishments intact.

I’m reminded of President Eisenhower’s words upon hearing of the retirement of Sir Winston Churchill (full remarks below): “But we shall never accept the thought that we are to be denied your counsel, your advice. Out of your great experience, your great wisdom, and your great courage, the free world yet has much to gain, and we know that you will never be backward in bringing those qualities forward when we appeal to you for help, as all of us are bound to do.”

President Joe Biden poses for his official portrait Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in the Library of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Union Square Alliance Statement on Saks Fifth Avenue

Union Square Alliance Statement on Saks Fifth Avenue

“With the recent news coverage of the purchase of Neiman Marcus Group by Saks Fifth Avenue parent company HBC, consolidation between brands is to be expected nationwide. We are seeing retailers with high end clientele offering appointment service. Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Napa and Palo Alto have already made the transition to appointment-only operations. We look forward to Saks continuing to be a part of Union Square’s luxury market as they find innovative ways to serve their customers and navigate through this transition.”
— David Perry, spokesman Union Square Alliance

After New Photos Released, Hostage Parents Demand Immediate Meeting with Netanyahu

media contacts
Omer Tuval
+ 972 52-222-0936

Or Moshe
+ 972 50-831-0665

After Revealing Photos of Female Observers in Hamas Captivity: Parents Demand Immediate Meeting with Prime Minister

*Ayelet Levy Shachar, mother of Naama Levy: “The Prime Minister asked me to join him on his flight to the U.S. for his speech to Congress, and I explained that I cannot and will not feel comfortable joining him until I see that the negotiations regarding my Naama’s release are completed”*

With the return of their daughters and other hostages closer than ever, the families of the female observers held a press conference this evening (Tuesday). They demanded an immediate meeting with the Prime Minister before his trip to Congress.

Ayelet Levy Shachar, mother of Naama Levy:
“The Prime Minister asked me to join him on his flight to the U.S. for his speech to Congress, and I explained that I cannot and will not feel comfortable joining him until I see that the negotiations regarding my Naama’s release are completed. Until then, I’m staying here in Israel and continuing to fight to save my Naama. As the deal progresses and Naama and all other hostages are saved, I could come and join even with her in his delegation.

Meanwhile, I’m staying here and asking you, look into her eyes, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister. Meet with us immediately so we can make her voice heard. This is not the time for trips; this is the time to close a deal and bring the hostages home. Netanyahu: First a deal, then you can travel. This is not the time for showy trips; this is the time to advance an agreement and bring the hostages home.”

Shira Albag, mother of Liri Albag:
“Our girls and all other hostages face daily life-threatening danger. As reported yesterday, we were informed of the importance of exhausting all efforts in the coming days – before the Prime Minister’s trip to Washington. Gallant told us, “When a deal wasn’t feasible, I told you. Now it is! So here I say: this is the closest we’ve ever been!” Now is the time to sign! It’s time to bring back my Liri, it’s time to bring everyone back.

Netanyahu, you promised us, and it’s time to deliver. We demand a meeting with you now, before your trip. You owe us at least this much”.

Albert Ariev, father of Karina Ariev:
“My little Karina, only 19 years old, is in Gaza. Today, you see footage of Karina and her friends in their first days of captivity. It’s so vivid – Karina sitting on a mattress on the floor, with an exhausted and desperate look. She has a shocking bandage on her head with dried blood. On her leg, you can see fresh blood stains seeping into her pajama pants. There are strong marks of handcuffs and binding on her wrists. Swelling in her hands indicates that Karina was bound for a long time. You see one frame, but in the video, you can see facial wounds likely caused by shrapnel when the terrorists invaded the shelter.

The agreement currently on the table is the closest we’ve ever been. Since the morning of October 7th, Karina’s words are etched in my memory: “Dad, I’m scared.” And I am helpless; I can do nothing. My little daughter, wounded, bleeding, has been in Gaza for over nine months! All we ask is for Karina back; we want our small family to be whole again”.

Shlomi Berger, father of Agam Berger:
“Mr. Prime Minister, this is a personal appeal to you, first, close the deal! Then you can travel safely and return safely. This is not the time for trips when your presence here, at the most critical time for our country, is essential. 

To the world in general and Qatar in particular, I say – the picture of Haniyeh that was deliberately and intentionally placed behind our daughters shows that there is no separation between the military wing and the political bureau of the Hamas terrorist organization. Those who give them shelter will have to provide explanations when the time comes. They are all jointly responsible for the terrible massacre and for holding all the hostages for more than nine months, 284 days”.

Orly Gilboa, mother of Daniella Gilboa:
“I address the Prime Minister – Today you met with representatives of the parents of sixteen observers who were murdered on October 7th. They were all friends of Daniella, close friends in heart and soul. They all did everything for the country and stood bravely until they were murdered and burned by Hamas terrorists on that cursed Saturday. We are all one family, and as such, I know that the families approached you and shared their genuine and heavy concern that our daughters might join the list of the murdered.

The families told us they expressed to you that their healing depends on the safe return of our daughters. Our struggle is shared – it’s the struggle of the hostages’ families, the bereaved families, and all of Israel.

I repeat my request, Prime Minister, to meet with us before your departure to Congress. I reiterate that if you choose to travel for a speech – let it be a speech declaring an immediate hostage deal. A deal that will restore the strength, the joy, the power of the State of Israel, and most importantly, bring back my Daniella.

This struggle is not just ours; it belongs to the families of the hostages, the bereaved families, and all of Israel. I implore you again, Prime Minister, to meet with us before you leave for Congress. If you must go to give a speech, let it be one that announces an immediate deal for the hostages – a deal that will restore Israel’s strength, joy, and power, and most importantly, bring my Daniella home.”

Attached photos credited to: Paulina Patimer

Sonders & Beach Launches World’s First AI-Powered LGBTQ+ Travel Index

media contact:
David Perry & Associates, Inc / (415) 676-7007 /

Sonders & Beach Launches World’s First AI-Powered LGBTQ+ Travel Index To Analyze and Rate LGBTQ+ Friendly Destinations, Hotels and Operators

Index Enhances Company’s ‘QueerVadis’ LGBTQ+ Certification Program for the Travel and Hospitality Industry

9 July 2024 – San Francisco, CA: International travel and hospitality provider Sonders & Beach has introduced the travel industry’s first AI-powered LGBTQ+ Index. Designed in collaboration with technology provider The Data Appeal, the index analyzes online contents, comments, and user reviews for destinations, hotels, and operators to provide real-time ratings based on gender and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. The Index is the latest enhancement to Sonders & Beach’s QueerVadis LGBTQ+ Accreditation and Certification program. It serves as a critical tool for members to compare their services against competitors, strengthen their offerings to the LGBTQ+ community, and better address customer needs to improve their travel experience.

A $200 Billion Industry
LGBTQ+ travel is a powerful and influential part of the global tourism industry. World-wide, it is a $200 billion industry and comprises more than 10 per cent of all travelers. In Europe, there were 67 million LGBTQ+ tourist arrivals in 2023. This represents an economic value of 55 billion euros and a 27.9 % growth over the previous year, according to the European LGBTQ+ Travel Alliance (ELTA). 

ELTA, which offers an annual platform for industry leaders and institutions to discuss inclusive travel in Europe, held its recent meeting in Brussels, Belgium under the high patronage of the European Parliament. Focusing on the general state of LGBTQ+ tourism, participants included major players such as AccorHotels, BestWestern, EasyJet, European Travel Commission, Sojern, ENIT, Visit Malta, Visit Brussels,  and ECTAA (European Travel Agency & Tour Operator Association).

Minimizing ‘Pink Washing’
Alessio Virgili, CEO & Founder of the Sonders & Beach Group, is also president of ELTA. At the meeting, he observed the importance of encouraging companies to adopt more inclusive policies that better align with Europe’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity goals. He called for an end to the practice of “pink washing,” in which companies describe themselves inclusive without actually adopting DEI policies that are verifiable by a third party.

“The growing power of the LGBTQ+ consumer in travel offers a valuable opportunity for companies to adopt inclusive policies through more dedicated training and internationally recognized certifications,” said Virgili. “Destinations must take concrete actions that guarantee a safe and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community beyond merely referencing them for marketing purposes.”

According to Virgili, initiatives like Sonders & Beach’s QueerVadis LGBTQ+ Certification program, now powered by AI, are essential to helping entities meet the rigorous regulatory standards and protocols necessary to ensure LGBTQ+ clients experience a respectful and fully welcoming environment. 

“These certifications assure travelers that the hotels, services or destinations they are patronizing truly offers them the freedom to be themselves without fear of harassment or judgement,” he said.  

AI Powered Engine
QueerVadis’ LGBTQ+ Index employs complex algorithm that, through its powerful AI engine, analyzes online content from a gender inclusivity perspective. It compares the results against competitors and suggests the best courses of action to make an organization or destination more welcoming and inclusive. Members can utilize the vast wealth of insight it generates to make more informed decisions in investments and services, and to better focus their marketing campaigns to align with LGBTQ+ clients’ expectations and the organizations’ sustainability goals. It can easily be integrated into members’ websites, platforms, software or apps. It is updated once a month to provide more up-to-the-minute readings of reputation and trends, to help members track in real-time the effectiveness of their actions. 

Competitive Advantage
The unique, third-party verified QueerVadis certification is becoming increasingly important for the tourism industry. 

“It demonstrates compliance with ESG criteria for a wide range of organizations that include B Corps, publicly traded companies, companies seeking investment, or those pursuing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Virgili.

He added: “It should not be underestimated that OTAs, such as, are finally starting to consider only third-party certifications as ‘valid’ for identifying a truly sustainable businesses.”

Growing Membership
Current QueerVadis-accredited/certified members include the UNA Hotels Group, Leonardo Hotels, Italian Tourism Agency (ENIT), Best Western, the Municipality of Milan, and the Municipality of Crema, among others. Leonardo Hotels Central Europe, headquartered in Berlin, is responsible for a hotel portfolio in countries that include Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain and Italy. The portfolio encompasses 84 hotels in 37 regions with more than 14,500 rooms.

About Sonders & Beach
Sonders & Beach, a Benefit Corporation that places social and environmental values on an equal footing with profits, was founded in 2002. It is the first integrated tourism group in Italy, based also in US, that operates throughout the supply chain according to criteria of sustainability and social inclusion. It is committed to creating unique travel experiences, characterized by the freedom of travelers to be themselves within a safe, secure and inclusive environment that respects and values their identify. The group, which includes Sonders & Beach hotel Management, recently opened a new LGBTQ+ Welcoming property in an art nouveau building on the sea, in the city of Santa Marinella, close to Rome (Italy), named Palazzo Moresco; Quiiky Tours, creator of the Untold History Tours (Vatican Museum in a Gay Light; On the Movie Sets of The White Lotus TV Serie); QuiikyMagazine, a print and digital travel and lifestyle magazine with an LGBTQ + theme; Sonders & Beach Academy & Advising, which operates training courses on diversity, revenue and marketing management; and the QueerVadis Certification Program, which is dedicated to the enhancement of diversity and social inclusion. Sonders & Beach is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association (IGLTA), Italian LGBTQ+ Tourism Board, ELTA European LGBTQ+ Travel Alliance. and support Free & Equal program of the United Nations and ECPAT. For more information, visit

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9 Months and the Children Are Not Here

media contacts
Omer Tuval
+ 972 52-222-0936

Or Moshe
+ 972 50-831-0665

Media Advisory from the Hostages Families Forum Headquarters

Invitation to Cover: Mothers’ March

9 Months and the Children Are Not Here

Friday, July 5, 1pm

HaBima Square

Tel Aviv, Israel

For 9 months, they carried them in their wombs, anticipating their arrival into the world. For 9 months, they’ve been in Gaza, with mothers longing for their return home.

This coming Friday, dozens of mothers of hostages will lead a march from HaBima Square to the Hostages Square, where a ceremony of mothers’ outcry will take place.

Mothers and families of the hostages invite the public to join them in marching and calling for the return of 120 hostages who have been held captive by Hamas in Gaza for 9 months – the living for rehabilitation and the murdered for proper burial.


1:00 PM – Gathering at HaBima Square and statements by mothers of hostages

1:30 PM – March begins

2:00 PM – Short ceremony led by actress Yael Abecassis, featuring musician Corinne Allal


The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters