Campus Organization for Israel hosted an “Israel Celebration” Monday, May 12. The event, held in Riverview Lounge at 9 p.m., celebrated the 60th anniversary of Israel’s recognition as a nation with Israeli food, music and a raffle. Though the group was founded last year by current president Steve Swedberg, this has been its first full year in existence. “Essentially, we are a group who advocates for Israel. What separates us from Hillel is that Hillel is supposed to be the organization that promotes advocates for Jewish life, i.e. Jewish religion, culture, traditions, etc., whereas COFI promotes intelligent discussion about the current events going on in the Middle East, while at the same time promotes all the positive contributions that Israel has made to the world,” stated Swedberg. Freshman Fred Breslow will be acting as president next year, continuing the group’s mission while also becoming even more active. Since its foundation, COFI has brought such speakers as Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-born American writer and public speaker, and Asaf Romirowsky, a fellow at the Middle East Forum and an Israeli Defense Forces veteran. COFI has also done fundraising, including planting a tree in Israel for Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees. This past Israeli Independence Day, COFI raised 100 dollars for those in Sderot, Israel. “Sderot is a city in northern Israel that is bombarded by qassam rockets on a daily basis. The citizens live in constant fear of being hit, and as such, we felt that it was imperative to bring them financial aid,” stated Swedberg. COFI also recently held a vigil with Amnesty International for Yom Ha’Shoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day. According to Swedberg, “In order to help those in places such as Darfur or China, we need to be able to remember the atrocities of the past.” There will be an “Israel at 60” Presentation Wednesday, May 21 in Science Hall 202 to highlight Israel’s contributions over the past 60 years. Next Thursday, COFI will be showing a film and have a bonfire for Lag B’Omer, times and film TBA.