July 20, 2024
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Israel Bonds and Congregation Etz Chaim Host Danny Danon

Livingston—The late afternoon light poured in on the beautiful social hall at Congregation Etz Chaim. The room buzzed with excitement at the imminent arrival of Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Danon is relatively new to his post in the UN, having served previously as a commander in the Israeli army, member of the Knesset, Minister of Science and Technology, and Deputy Minister of Defense—an abridged version of his lengthy resume. Flanked by a team of security personnel, Danon’s appearance elicited a round of applause, as he was first greeted by Dr. Andrew Hutter, Israel Bonds New Jersey general chairman, and David Halpern, former national vice chair and current member of the Israel Bonds National Campaign Advisory Council and International Board of Directors.

Following a light dinner for Signature Society members, the attendees moved into the main sanctuary, where Ambassador Danon addressed a standing-room-only crowd, preceded by the introductory remarks of Dr. Andrew Hutter. Hutter emphasized the importance and necessity of every level of Israel bond investment, highlighting the stunning statistics of the 2015 campaign, which secured over a billion American dollars in bond sales. He implored everyone to understand that investing in Israel bonds is a true investment in Israel’s present and future. Hutter reminded the audience that bonds can be purchased as baby gifts, or for b’nai mitzvah, graduations, weddings and other life-cycle or gift occasions, Rabbi Samuel Klibanoff, spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim, followed Dr. Hutter and spoke about how Israel Bonds helps develop every aspect of Israel’s economy.

Ambassador Danon then addressed the group with his poignant remarks about the reality of Israel being its own sole advocate in the UN. The bias demonstrated by the UN is stunningly exemplified by the 23 recent resolutions against the Israeli response to terrorist aggression, compared to the two resolutions regarding terrorist instigator countries. Danon commented sadly that, in private, he is approached by other ambassadors in solidarity with Israel, but that many are pressured to publicly vote with their political groups against Israel. While he can appreciate their private support, their public face greatly hurts Israel’s public image in the UN. Further, he described being gratified that just this past year, the UN finally gave its official acknowledgment to a single Jewish holiday—Yom Kippur.

Danon views one of his important missions as ambassador to persevere in the campaign to “fight for the truth, even in a place as hostile to Israel as the UN.” He poses the question of why the UN refuses to recognize the victims of terror in Israel, while recognizing victims of terror in other member countries of the UN.

The Jewish Link asked Ambassador Danon about how Israel can maintain a balance between security and the growth and development of the eastern border areas of the country. Danon stated that “the issue of security is crucial, the prime minister places security as the first priority, and Israel’s platform is that there is no justification for terrorism.” Israel is fully committed to an anti-terrorism agenda, and Israel “cannot be blamed” for this approach. Later, in his remarks to the audience, Danon described Israel as being a “lighthouse in the middle of a storm; a beam of light in the Middle East.”

He then shifted focus by discussing the economic state of Israel as an amazing technology and business “start-up” culture, noting 6,000 start-up companies, and quipping that this outruns even New Jersey for start-ups! A world leader in biotechnology innovation, Israel accounts for the largest investment per capita in fighting the ebola virus in Africa. Further, Israel is proud of consistently being the first responder with medical and other rescue aid when catastrophic natural disasters occur in other countries around the world.

One of the lighter moments of the question/answer session following Danon’s address drew the laughter of the crowd. Rabbi Bob Mark suggested that a possible strategy to undermine the national and world community’s boycott mentality would be for Israel to relocate all of the biotech companies to the West Bank region. This strategy would, perhaps, encourage people, companies and countries who want to enjoy the benefits of Israel’s cutting-edge and world-leading biotech industry to consider abandoning their boycott and thereby recognize the area as being a bona-fide part of the State of Israel. A rousing round of applause accompanied this comment.

In closing, Ambassador Danon echoed his agreement with the importance and urgency of viewing Israel bonds as an investment and not a charity. He stated that Israel’s continuing development and progress depends upon the investors in Israel bonds, and urged everyone to support Israel through Israel Bonds. Finally, he expressed the appreciation of the State of Israel to all of its past, current and future supporters.

By Ellie Wolf

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