A palpable electricity filled the air at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square on Sunday evening, December 4th, as over 1500 people gathered to celebrate and honor the outstanding community of Bet El in Israel at their 34th annual gala dinner.
Situated on the once barren hills guarding the northern approaches to Jerusalem, Bet El has grown into a model community based on Torah ideals and dedicated to a secure future. The idealistic men, women and children of Bet El are the vanguard of the settlement, the building and the defense of the Land of Israel. They are pioneers, not only in strengthening roots in Judea and Samaria, but also in creating a dynamic and influential educational center.
Bet El is also home to one of the most successful “mechina” programs in the country – preparing, with great success, underprivileged and educationally deprived future soldiers for exemplary careers in the IDF and beyond. Bet El is also a world class center for Jewish study, training rabbis and scholars to serve the Jewish community with intellectual dynamism and a love of Israel.
At its core, Bet El is a unique Jewish community whose residents bravely serve on the front lines of the Religious Zionist movement; raising families, studying Torah, serving in the Army and in all their endeavors, doing so as a “Kiddush Hashem.”
A special draw to this magnificent evening were featured speakers, former Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton and current Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.
Concerning growing speculation that President Obama may support a United Nations initiative to establish an independent Palestinian state in the waning days of his tenure, Ambassador Bolton said, “Any discussions about resolutions in the UN that would recognize a Palestinian entity will most definitely not bring about peace in the Middle East or the parties in the region. Can the problems of the region be solved in the UN? Whoever thinks so is delusional.”
If such a scenario would unfold, Ambassador Bolton declared that, “Obama will not lobby against an anti-Israel resolution.” He added that, “We oppose any such actions by this lame duck administration to betray Israel. President Obama should follow in the position of his predecessors and not change foreign policy.”
While expressing his optimism about the future of US/ Israel relations, Ambassador Bolton said that we are living in “a dangerous period; in a world that is dissolving into anarchy and complete chaos. Therefore, there can be no hint of daylight between Israel and the United States.”
As to the prospect of being considered for the monumental task of assuming the position of Secretary of State by the incoming Trump administration, Bolton did not comment but did say that he paid a visit to Trump this past Friday for lengthy talks on foreign policy matters.
“I was there when the Taiwanese leader called Trump, “Ambassador Bolton said. Taking a shot at the anti-Israel State Department, he said that the outcry in the media against Trump for acknowledging Taiwan was based on the fact that Trump did not march lock step with them in their “One China” policy. He intimated that this had no merit because the Taiwanese leader had been democratically elected.
“He (Trump) is not going to allow Beijing to dictate who he can talk to,” he said. He added that Trump is committed to the rapid destruction of ISIS, the move of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, eradicating the use of chemical and biological weapons and a formidable missile defense system for Israel and the entire free world.
Touching on the polemical Iran nuclear deal, Ambassador Bolton reiterated the fact that the current administration is “sending funds to Iran.”
Speaking of the existential dangers that the Iran deal poses to the region and the world, Bolton said the deal in essence has “launched a nuclear arms race between Saudi Arabia and her neighbors. “
Ambassador Bolton’s remarks received thunderous applause from the enthusiastic assemblage of fervently pro-Israel supporters gathered at the dinner.
Subsequently, Israel Ambassador the UN, Danny Danon alighted the podium gave voice to the onerous task of representing Israel at the UN. “The UN is not just biased against Israel, but has a REAL Obession with it,” Danon ruefully acknowledged.
“They (the UN) blame Israel for everything, including poisoning the water. To that end, this year alone they have adopted 22 resolutions condemning Israel. UNESCO denied the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and to the Kotel, but the truth and the facts will prevail, ” Danon stated to wild applause.
Cloaking Jew hatred in the respectable and trendy mantle of anti-Zionism has morphed into “the new anti-Semitism’ said Danon and it has reared its ugly head at the United Nations in manifold ways.
Offering a laundry list of egregious and patently false accusations that the UN has leveled against Israel, Danon said that they have crafted analogies between the actions of the Israel Defense Forces and the actions of the Nazis during the Warsaw ghetto in World War II as well as charging Israel with creating a ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians. Moreover, he asserted that the UN has cobbled together a black list comprised of companies in Judea and Samaria in which boycotts are urged.
All is not as dismal as it sounds however. According to Danon, several victories for Israel were seen over the past year. “I became the first Israeli ambassador to head the legal committee, there is now kosher food in the United Nations cafeteria and Yom KIppur was respected as an official UN holiday,” he said.
Concluding his remarks on an hopeful and vigilant note, Danon declared, “Israel will not be pressured to make concessions. We will not betray our birthright. We will stand together against the anti-Semites and we will all stand together in defense of Israel.”
Guest of honor at this year’s Bet El dinner were internationally renowned Jewish philanthropists and stalwart supporters of Israel and its panoply of institutions; Ken and Nira Abramowitz. Besides being generous sponsors of Bet El, Ken and Nira are contributors to various organizations that are fighting to preserve liberty and to protect Israel and America from Jihadism and the radical left. Ken serves on the boards of the Israel Independence Fund, American Friends of Likud, Americans for a Safe Israel, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) and the Bible Lands Museum. He is also active in 25 pro-Israel/America/Western civilization organizations.
The recipients of the Young Leadership Award was accorded to Pinny and Yael Farkas. They are the grandchildren of Eugen and Jean Gluck, the premier benefactors of Bet El and they are the niece and nephew of David Friedman, the president of the American Friends of the Bet El Yeshiva Center.
Pinny and Yael are proud of their involvement with Kfar Yeladim David in Israel; a home for underprivileged girls. They have “adopted” a young girl named Ayala and keep in contact with her and visit with her when they are in Israel. Their boundless devotion to Bet El emanated from their wonderful memories of visiting there, as each visit would bring them a new appreciation and love for the land, the community and for their Bubby and Zaidy who love this community so much.
The Builder of Bet El Award was bestowed upon Mr. Larry Gordon, (the prominent publisher and editor of the 5 Towns Jewish Times newspaper) in memory of his father, Rabbi Nison Gordon, z’l. His father, of blessed memory, spent his career as a Yiddish journalist in the Day-Morning Journal and the Algemeiner Journal. He had an extraordinary appreciation for the building and efforts to populate Judea and Samaria in the aftermath of the Six Day War and had a very close relationship with Bet El’s founder Rabbi Yaakov Katz and the inimitable Eugen Gluck.
This year’s Shomer Eretz Yisroel Awardees were Marc and Alan Berger. Marc and Alan are active in the American and Israeli political scene and care deeply for Jewish life both here and in Israel. They enjoy close personal relationships with US Senators, Congressmen and Governors, as well as, Israeli Knesset members. Their political action and support includes the American Conservative Union/ CPAC, Young Jewish Conservatives, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Ateret Cohanim, the Israel Day Concert in the Park, the Zionist Organization of America, the Orthodox Union and Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
By: Fern Sidman