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April 6, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 6, 2018 PAGE 3A Capehart Photography More than 500 evangelical Christians and Jews from across North America gathered at Mar-a-Lago on March 25 for the "Together in Fellowship" gala. By Shiryn Solny (JNS)--As many as 500 evangelical Christians and Jews from around the world gathered on March 25 at U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.--otherwise known as the "Winter White House"--for a one-of-a-kind event celebrating Israel's up- coming 70th anniversary, as well as the unity of Christians and Jews supporting the Jew- ish state. Hosted by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (also known as "The Fellowship"), the "Together In Fellowship" gala raised $1.67 million that will be put toward two causes: a new educational campaign for the next generation of Christians and Jews to help deepen their bonds with Israel and the Jew- ish people; and helping elderly Holocaust survivors living in poverty by providing them with food, medicine, heating fuel and personal visits they desperately need in their final years. The latter is already one of the more than 400 global initiatives undertaken by The Fellowship. "It's a great honor to have everybody at Mar-a-Lago, a special place for a special group of people," Trump told the gathering in a video mes- sage recorded shortly before the gala. The president left his weekend retreat several hours before the start of the event to head back to Washington, D.C. "I wanted to be there so badly. I had to leave--we have some pretty big things going on'with our country, but our country is doing really well. Your taxes are down, your regulations are down, a lot of good things are happen- ing, we're appointing a lot of fantastic federal judges, and I think you are all very happy with the results. So I'll see you next time. I hope you have a fantastic evening." Guestshailedfromthrough- out the United States, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Ja- maica and Brazil. Half were Christian, half were Jewish. The evening began with a VIP poolside reception, with hors d'oeuvres and drinks, followed by a general sit-down recep- tion and three-course meal inside Mar-a-Lago's exquisite ballroom. The Fellowship's founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, started off the evening speaking about the gala's distinctiveness. He told the crowd: "Tonight is the first time I believe in history where Christians together with Jews are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel. It's not Christians inviting Jews and Jews inviting Christians; it's Christians and Jews, and that is the theme for us tonight there were those who were dubious, there was those who said no it cannot be done, and here we are together." Eckstein also talked about the organization's new head- quarters, "The Fellowship House," which will be, as he said, a "home away from home" for the 1.5 million Christians who visit Israel each year. The rabbi said it will be located "right next door" to the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem--an announce- ment that drew loud applause from the crowd. He noted that Israeli American bil- lionaire Haim Saban is one of the Fellowship's"greatest sup- porters," who has contributed $1 million toward the new headquarters. The decision to hold the event at Trump's South Flor- ida property was likely a stra- tegic decision by Eckstein. His organization draws heavily from support by evangelical Christians, who also over- whelmingly support Trump and have applauded his poli- cies towards Israel, such as his recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. It also comes as last year many charities and other organized canceled event plans at Mar-a-Lago following Trump's contro- versial remarks after a white- supremacist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va. 'A new era where Israel wins' Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon received The Fellowship's "Defender of Israel Award" at the gala and told JNS that in representing Israel at the United Nations, "sometimes I feel that I am alone, but I know that I am not. I know thatwe have millions of Chris- tians and Jews who support Israel. And tonight is a sign of the great support that we have from different countries around the world." The ambassador also talked about Israel's upcoming sev- en-decade anniversary, saying he believes it's a"miracle" that Israel has come so far and ac- complished so much in such a short period of time. He told "we are very proud of what we have achieved in the short 70 years," adding that he will be celebrating the landmark by taking 70 ambassadors from the world body on a trip to Israel. On stage at the gala, Danon talked about U.S.-Israel rela- tions, especially at the United Nations. He said U.S. Ambas- sador to the United Nations Nikki Haley once told him that as long as she is around, America "will always have Israel's back." "[It's] thestrongestalleywe have," said Danon. "Seventy years later, the U.S. remains the first country to stand by Israel through thick and thin, and there is nowhere I feel that more than what I feel at the UN Me and Ambassador Haley, we play defense and offense." He also addressed the five resolutions against Israel passed at the United Nations on Friday, saying, "I'm telling you now, [the] U.S. will take action and Israel will take action [against them]." Capehart Photography Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (1) and The Fellowship Founder and President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstei,~ at the "Together in Fellowship" gala. Danon's late father taught him about speaking up and "standing strong" in support of Israel, he told the audience. He said, "Nowhere have I felt the importance of my father's words more than at the UN It's why I came to the UN I heard stories about this place. I didn't realize how bad it was until I arrived, but let me tell you, today we are shaking things up at the UNWe are bringing a new future for Israel at the UN A new era where Israel wins." The Fellowship also hon- ored Museum of the Bible Chairman and Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, and VitaQuest Founder Edward Frankel with a Bridge Builder Award. The event's keynote speaker was former Cana- dian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 'Where religious free- dom and religious toler- ance flourishes' During his speech, Harper said Trump "deserves enor- mous credit and congratula- tions" for recognizing Jeru- salem as the capital of Israel. "Thatwas one of the rare times I actually wish I was back in office, and I could've stood and done that with President Trump," he said. The former premier addi- tionally spoke of his "clear" and "very consistent" defense of Israel, and his "special ad- miration" for the Jewish state. He said his ancestors have always been pro-Jewish, and told the audience that his fa- ther was a"life-longer admirer of the Jewish people," and a "strong and vocal opponent" of anti-Semitism in Canada. Harper discussed radical Islam and the Iranian re- gime, particularly the Iranian nuclear program that threat- ens both Israel and Western nations. He then talked about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and urged pro-Israel supporters that "whenever we encounter [BDS], we should denounce it vocally, loudly and with every fiber of our being." He concluded his speech by insisting that Israel is not at fault for the lack of peace in the Middle East. "It is not because of anything Israel had done or not done," he said in his final remarks. "It is not because of Israel's failures or imperfections, Israel's exis- tence or policies In too many countries, it is still easier to scapegoat Israel then copy its success, and it's only in Israel where religious freedom and religious toleration flourishes in the Middle East. "I tell my friends in politics around the world, never be afraid to take the right posi- tion on Israel. And I also tell organizations like this, never be reluctant to be proud of Is- rael lit is] an oasis of wealth, freedom, culture, technology and security in the most dan- gerous and troubled part of the world. I think Israel may be the most remarkable country that has ever been created." United Hatzalah Alan Dershowitz speaking at a ceremony highlighting his donation of a ambucycle to Israel's volunteer medic organization, United Hatzalah. By Eliana Rudee (JNS)--Ahead of Israel's 70th birthday in May, longtime~Harvard University law professor, attorney and author Alan Dershowitz announced that he is donating an ambucycle to Israel's volunteer medic organization, United Hatzalah, in honor of his 80th birthday. JNS interviewed Mr. Dershowitz about this gift and to hear his thoughts on Israel at 70--and what the next seven decades might look like. Q: What prompted you and your friends to donate an ambucycle to United Hatzalah for Israel's 70th? A: There is a group of guys I've known since kindergarten. We've known each other for 75 years, more or less. And we try to spend several weekends a year together and try to get together on New Year's Eve. We all went to yeshivah in Borough Park in Brooklyn together. We all went different ways, but we are still very close. We are turning 80 this year, and we thought it would be nice commemoration of our birthdays to do something that saves lives, and I can't imagine a charity more worthy than Hatzalah. It has led the way in quick availability on the scenes of acts of terrorism. And so we all agreed to make contributions and to dedicate this ambucycle on Yom Ha'atzmaut [Israel Independence Day]. Q: What else are you doing to celebrate Israel's big year? A: I've been to Israel for every one of its major birthdays from the 30th on. I'm hoping to be there to celebrate Israel's 70th, and my real goal in life is to be there to celebrate its 80th. Q: What do you think of when you reflect on Israel at 70? A: No country in the history of the world ever contributed more to the welfare of humankind in such a short period of time than Israel. Hatzalah is a perfect representative of that. In Hatzalah, you have Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, atheists, religious and secular, people living in the territories all working together to save lives. It represents the best of Israel. People call Israel the startup nation, and I call it the life- saving nation. Israel has saved lives through its medical technological breakthroughs, through its agricultural breakthroughs and through its pharmaceutical breakthroughs. Israel saves more lives in teaching the world how to prevent terrorism, in teaching the world how to absorb immigrants Israel has really been a light unto the world for 70 years, and I think it's important to commemorate and look forward. Q: How do you define the U S. -Israel relationship at this point in time? A: It couldn't be stronger. It's very, very positive, but there are trends that are quite dangerous--trends among young Democrats [turning] away from Israel pose risks to the bipartisan consensus in support of Israel. And that's why I remain within the Dershowitz on page 15A