Mordechai Kahana

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Mordechai Kahana
Moti kahana.jpg
BornFebruary 28, 1968
Jerusalem, Israel
Occupation(s)Businessman, philanthropist, farmer[1][2]

Mordechai (Moti) Kahana (Hebrew: מוטי כהנא; born February 28, 1968, Jerusalem, Israel) is an Israeli-American businessman and philanthropist. He is most notable for his work for the civil war refugees in Syria.


Kahana was born in Jerusalem to a Romanian Jewish family originating in Iaşi.[3] He is a descendant of Aryeh Leib HaCohen Heller, a famous 18th-century rabbi. In 1986, he was drafted into the IDF, serving in the Air Force. After his release, Kahana moved to New York and began working as a taxi driver.

Business ventures and activities[edit]

Over the years, he was involved in the establishment of several companies in the automotive field.

In 1994, he established AAA Auto Rental, a company focusing on the purchase of vehicles in the East Coast of the United States and selling them in the West Coast. In May 1997, he sold the company to Spitzer Financial.[4]

In 1999, he founded 'Automoti'.[5] The company provided an online stage for purchasing used cars. In 2009, the company was sold to rental company Hertz,[6] which started the Hertz Rent2Buy program.

In 2005, he developed and patented the "Auto Eye", an automatic camera that photographs the vehicle from multiple angles, providing the user with an evaluation regarding the state of the vehicle. In 2013, he sold the patent to a US leasing company. The system is currently being implemented at airports and car rentals throughout the United States.[citation needed]

In 2011, he founded 'Fuel Recyclers LLC', which focused on extracting existing fuel from vehicles for rent, cars that are going up for auction and vehicles which have been involved in a car accident and were confiscated by the authorities. During its operations, the Company owned a fleet of several hundred fuel cycling tankers. The company has been sued by Yellow Dog Technologies for patent infringement.[7] In 2013, Kahana sold his holdings in the company.[citation needed]

In 2018, he returned to farming with a vision to grow vegetables and fruits through aquaponic farming and build a museum at his Rosenfarb farm.[8]

Humanitarian work[edit]

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Kahana donated large amounts of gasoline to hospitals located in the areas hit by the storm for operating ambulances, in Staten Island, Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens. He also organized additional aid, delivering donated blankets, food and water to victims in affected areas.[9] The majority of donations were delivered using 200 tankers from Kahana's own company, Fuel Recyclers LLC.[citation needed]

In 2011, Kahana founded the "Amaliah" organization, dedicated to aiding civil society and for the empowerment of women in the Middle East. Since its establishment, "Amaliah" has taken part in a number of humanitarian aid efforts in Syria and the Middle East.


Since 2011 he heads a group of Israeli businessmen and American Jews who travel to the Syrian refugee camps to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian Civil War refugees.[3][10] He paid for Senator John McCain's trip to war-torn Syria.[11]

In 2014, Kahana assisted in the rescue and extraction of one of the last remaining Jewish families in war-torn Syria. With his assistance, the family was brought to Israel.[12][13]

Kahana also worked for the sake of the Jobar Synagogue in Damascus, through agreements with opposition elements in the country.[14][15]

In 2015, Kahana aided the efforts to return Canadian-born Israeli citizen Gill Rosenberg, who had left for Syria in order to join the Kurdish rebels in their fight against ISIS.[16][17]

That same year, Kahana assisted in the extraction of the last Jewish family in Aleppo, Syria, via Turkey, to Israel.[18][19][20][21]

In 2016, Kahana directed the efforts to save the many ancient religious articles from the Central Synagogue of Aleppo. For this effort, Kahana raised donations and directed the operations on the field, collecting the many scrolls and books from the ancient synagogue.[22][23][24]

In 2016, Kahana, with the "Amaliah" organization, brought sick Syrian children from Quneitra to Israeli hospitals, and sent them back, after they were cured, with medical equipment and medicine.[25]


In October 2021, Kahana arranged a flight for Zablon Simintov to evacuate him from Afghanistan.[26] Simintov initially refused to leave because he didn't wanted to grant his wife a decree of divorce, but later accepted and was rescued by Kahana's security company along with 30 Afghan women and children.[27][28]


In March 2022, Kahana assisted in rescuing 200 Jewish orphaned children who needed help following the Russian invasion to Ukraine.[29]


  1. ^ CEVA, CLAUDIA. "Something 'fishy' here: Farmer's plans for historic Randolph property includes hydroponics, museum". New Jersey Hills.
  2. ^ "Kahana Farm". Kahana Farm.
  3. ^ a b Sandy Rashty (November 5, 2015). "Businessman who rescued the last Jews of Aleppo was inspired by Yad Vashem". The Jewish Community Online. The Jewish Chronicle Ltd. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  4. ^ "Speakers". The Israel Conference. 2012. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Sarah Perez (February 27, 2012). "Following Thefts, Luxury Car-Sharing Service HiGear Acquired By Rent2Buy". AOL Inc. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  6. ^ " To Launch Interactive Rent-To-Buy Marketplace". TheStreet, Inc. March 29, 2010. p. 1. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  7. ^[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ Ceva, Claudia. "Something 'fishy' here: Farmer's plans for historic Randolph property includes hydroponics, museum". New Jersey Hills.
  9. ^ Brittni Rubin (November 13, 2012). "Mobile Fuel Extractors Supplying Hurricane Victims with Gasoline". Auto Rental News. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  10. ^ Yitzhak Benhorin (October 5, 2013). "Israeli raising funds to help Syrians 'dying near us'". YNET. Yedioth Internet. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  11. ^ "Brigitte Gabriel, Greg Krentzman, Moti Kahana, Leo Melamed Special Temple Of The Arts Yom Kippur Guests". The Beverly Hills Courier. October 7, 2016. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2016. Kahana financed the opposition group, which took Senator John McCain to visit war-torn Syria.
  12. ^ Yossi Melman (July 3, 2014). "Jewish family escapes from Syria, arrives safely in Israel". The Jerusalem Post. Jpost Inc. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  13. ^ "Jewish Family Flees War-torn Syria and Settles in Israel". Haaretz. Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. July 3, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  14. ^ Adam Blitz (June 2, 2014). "Who Will Save the Remains of Syria's Ancient Synagogue?". Haaretz. Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  15. ^ Avi Issacharoff (December 12, 2013). "Syria's 'destroyed' ancient synagogue is still intact". THE TIMES OF ISRAEL. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  16. ^ Ben Hartman (August 14, 2015). "The curious case of Gill Rosenberg". The Jerusalem Post. Jpost Inc.
  17. ^ Elhanan Miller (July 17, 2015). "IS rape and torture of Yazidi women pushed me to fight with Kurds, says Gill Rosenberg". THE TIMES OF ISRAEL. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  18. ^ Sandy Rashty (November 5, 2015). "Revealed: How the last Jews of Aleppo escaped". The Jewish Community Online. The Jewish Chronicle Ltd. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  19. ^ "From Aleppo To Israel: The Struggle To Save A Jewish Family". NPR. November 21, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  20. ^ Michael Kaplan (November 8, 2015). "Last Jews Of Aleppo Escape Syria And Head For Israel With Help From American Businessman". International Business Times. IBT Media Inc. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  21. ^ Khushbu Shah (November 28, 2015). "Rescuing the last Jews of Aleppo". CNN. Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  22. ^ Jonathan Benedek (February 3, 2016). "Israeli businessman aims to save Central Synagogue of Aleppo". Ynetnews. YNET News. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  23. ^ "Aleppo synagogue damaged in fighting between Syrian militants". Jerusalem Post. February 10, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  24. ^ "9th-century synagogue in Aleppo sustains minor damage in Syria fighting". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. February 10, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  25. ^ Roey Kase (September 21, 2016). "Syrian children to Israeli hospitals". Ynet. YNET News. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  26. ^ "Afghanistan's last Jew departs for Israel after granting wife divorce". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  27. ^ staff, T. O. I.; JTA. "Footage shows Afghanistan's last Jew's perilous escape from Kabul". Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  28. ^ Isaac, David (2021-09-23). "Rescuing Afghanistan's Last Jew". Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  29. ^ JENNI FRAZER (March 2, 2022). "Philanthropist helping rescue 200 Jewish orphans from Ukraine". JEWISH NEWS. Retrieved March 2, 2022.

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