June 20, 2024
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Bet El Dinner Huge Success

New York—The ballroom of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square was packed last week as more than 1,000 people came out to support the town of Bet El, located in the shtachim. Roughly 1300 families strong, Bet El is home to the Israel Defense Forces Preparatory Academy, which grooms socio-economically-disadvantaged youth for success in the army and beyond. Other Bet El institutions include an internationally-renowned yeshiva and Arutz Sheva (Channel 7), Israel’s leading Religious Zionist news outlet. One of its founders, Sylvia Freyer of Englewood, received the group’s Aishet Chayil Award.

Among the guests were Jewish leaders in a variety of fields and author and foreign affairs expert Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (U.S. Army, ret.). Serving as the evening’s master of ceremonies was New York City Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Queens). Also making an appearance was Likud MK Danny Danon, deputy minister of defense.

Elchanan and Aliza Romanoff were recipients of the Young Leadership Award; Joshua and Rachel Goldsmith received the Shomer Bet El Award and Dr. David and Barbara Bortniker received the Shomer Yisrael Award.

Danon and Peters shared their foreign affairs expertise vis-à-vis the threats posed to Israel by Palestinian terrorist groups and the Iranian regime. In particular, MK Danon expressed his concern over U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, specifically Kerry’s assertion that he will have successfully brought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a “conclusion” by sometime next year. He also drew attention to the recent lifting of sanctions against Iran, which allow the rogue state to continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons with impunity. Despite all this, said Danon, “we are prepared.” Danon referenced recent joint military exercises with the U.S. as an example of Israel’s readiness and noted the various instruments of defense at the Jewish state’s disposal. The Israeli Air Force, the Iron Dome missile defense system and, “above all, we have Hakadosh Baruch Hu [lit. “The Holy One, Blessed be He”] protecting us.”

Bet El benefactor Eugene Gluck, a Holocaust survivor and leading wristwatch importer and manufacturer, hoped that the Israeli government would learn the lessons of Gaza and not compromise Israel’s security any further. Lt. Col Ralph Peters said that if he were ever elected president of the United States, his first act would be to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital—something no U.S. president has ever done.

Lt. Col. Peters spoke of Bet El in terms of the “moral high ground.” He characterized it, and other Israeli settlements, as outposts of “our civilization.” Responding to the perception by those on the political left that Peters and those sharing his views are bigoted, he stated “I come before you as a person filled with prejudice. I am prejudiced in favor of civilization, I am prejudiced in favor of the rule of law, in favor of justice, in favor of the equitable treatment of women, in favor of science and progress and education, and therefore I am prejudiced in favor of Israel.”

Dr. Joseph Frager, an American activist for Judea and Samaria, described the Annual Bet El Gala as the “premiere event” for American supporters of the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. He expressed profound admiration for those who have dedicated themselves to the cause. “Eugene Gluck is just phenomenal,” said Frager in an interview, “and of course Sylvia Freyer, who helped start Arutz Sheva. And what Arutz Sheva has done to change the world for the better- it’s all emanating from Bet El. We all have to do our share by supporting Bet El … and I think American Jews need to do more. Now is not the time to hide; it’s the time to come out of the woodwork and help.”

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