By: Shimmy Blum
The event hall at the prestigious King David Hotel in Yerushalayim was upbeat on Wednesday evening, as approximately one hundred business leaders, elected officials and community leaders gathered for a VIP networking dinner hosted by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Israel Business Alliance mission. The mission’s leading participant, former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, sat at the head table flanked by Jewish Chamber Executive Public Policy Committee members Dr. Joseph Frager, Dr. Paul Brody, Odeleya Jacobs and Duvi Honig, and prominent Israeli elected officials.
Duvi Honig commenced the event, marveling at the many high level guests in attendance, including several who traveled from the U.S. for the dinner alone. “We think big,” he exclaimed. “We are uniting Jewish community businesses at a global level.”
The dinner epitomized the goal of the Jewish Chamber and this mission to Israel, which is focusing on networking Jewish communal and economic powerhouses to advance economic success within the U.S. and Israel, and between the two countries.
A prominent young businessman, Michael Eisenberg of Aleph Venture Capital, shared the story of his grandfather who received an untraceable wire transfer of $70,000 to his American bank account during the 1940s. He put the money aside for years, until it was claimed by a European Holocaust survivor after the war. “Business and relationships are based on trust,” Mr. Eisenberg summed up. “This is a unique opportunity for people of shared values and commitment to do business across oceans.”
Notes of Optimism
Knesset members Zeev Elkin, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs; Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Defense Minister; Oren Chazzan; Miki Zohar and Bezalel Smotrich; Consul General in New York Danny Dayan; and Efrat Mayor Oded Ravivi all addressed the gathering. They voiced their disgust at the recent passage of the anti-Israel UN resolution and the U.S. abstention, and thanked Governor Huckabee for his unflinching support at this trying time.
The Israeli officials voiced optimism that the incoming Trump administration will be far friendlier to Israel. A beautiful “Trump-Pence Make America Great Again” cake emblazoned with the U.S. Embassy seal, and American and Yerushalayimflags, adorned the head table. The fervor and optimism ahead of Mr. Trump’s upcoming inauguration was high. “When the world will see that there is no daylight between the U.S. and Israel,” Consul General Dayan predicted, “the world will get the message. It will be a new era.”
Dr. Frager noted that the dinner celebrated in addition the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of Yerushalayim, and heralded Governor Huckabee’s ability to cut through anti-Israel media bias to defend the Jewish State. “We have to develop more Mike Huckabees,” he quipped.
Odeleya Jacobs stressed the importance of the Jewish Chamber mission to help Jewish businesses thrive across the globe. “We need to teach people how to fish, rather than just give them fish,” she explained.
Duvi Honig cited the famous dictum of Dovid Hamelech of “Lechu v’hisparnersu zu m’zu – earn a living one from another” as a symbol of the power of networking, which the Jewish Chamber and this mission work towards. “Today the world is so big, but also so small. It is so much easier for people to network with each other,” he explained. He expounded upon the relationships that the Jewish Chamber forged throughout the business world, in Congress, the White House and within the Trump inner circle, and vowed to utilize this network to help Jewish businesses and defeat the BDS movement.
“There’s nothing we can’t accomplish if we have pride and fight together,” he exclaimed.
“The Partnership is Deep”
Governor Huckabee, the star of the mission and dinner, spoke last, yet all eyes and ears were firmly trained upon the podium. The governor spoke at various occasions during this mission, but this speech was undeniably his most potent one yet.
The former preacher’s oratory skills shone through as he recounted with emotion the time he first took his daughter Sarah, then age eleven, on a tour of Yad Vashem. After they walked through exhibits of the horrific events prior to and during the Holocaust, particularly what was done to Jewish children, Sarah simply wrote in the museum guestbook, “Why didn’t somebody do something?”
The governor was proud of his young daughter’s insight and how she internalized the Holocaust’s most important lesson for future generations. Sarah Huckabee is now a senior aide to President Elect Trump and will serve in his administration. Her father expressed confidence that she will be a forceful advocate against evil, particularly those that seek to harm Israel and the Jewish people.
Governor Huckabee derided the two-state solution as “diplomatic fantasy” and confirmed the sense in the room that the incoming president will be a strong ally for Israel. “The partnership between the United States and Israel are deeper than political and economic,” he summed up. “It is based on the values of what it means to be a human being.”
Dinner Video Clip: https://youtu.be/OZHIi9BLLVc
The Yeshiva World coverage: Click here