Celebrating Israel

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Alan Dershowitz
(Robin Platzer/Twin Images/LFI/Photoshot/Newscom)

Hundreds of Israel’s biggest personalities and supporters will pack into the Waldorf Astoria in New York City this weekend to celebrate the Jewish state.

The Times of Israel First Annual Gala, which will honor Israel’s prominent politicians, advocates, innovators, actors and athletes, will center on the theme “Telling Israel’s Story.” And in the midst of a major election in Israel and controversy in the U.S. surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress, the timing couldn’t be better, some say.

“I think it’s a unity event. Because people with every perspective on Israel — there will be people there who are kind of left-center, there are going to be people there who are kind of right-center — it’s an attempt to show unity in support of Israel,” said Alan Dershowitz. “I think this is an important time to gather together and show unity.”

Dershowitz will be honored at the gala with the Advocate for Israel Award. A prominent lawyer and scholar, he has been a champion of pro-Israeli activism in the United States for decades. The award, he said, says just as much about State of Israeli advocacy among scholars as it does about his own work.

“I think the award that’s being given to me is as much a criticism of other professors for not speaking up as it is for me,” he said. “I hope that by praising those who do speak out, it helps counteract the movement and condemnation of those who do speak out.”

Dershowitz, who recently retired from his position as a law professor at Harvard University, said that speaking out on behalf of Israel has become increasingly challenging, as critics of the Jewish State grow more and more outspoken, making the timing of the event all the more impactful.

Other gala honorees include Uri Levine, inventor of Waze, Danny Gold, developer of the Iron Dome defense system, and former President Shimon Peres, among others.

In an interview with JTA, event organizers said the decision to host the event in New York reflects the Times of Israel’s large American audience. The paper draws more readers from North America than from any other region of the world, said founding editor David Horovitz.

Tickets for the gala range from $375 for students to $750 for general admission and $1,500 for VIP entry. Proceeds will be donated to IDF Widows & Orphans, the Jewish National Fund, American Friends of Magen David Adom, the OneFamily Fund, the American Friends of Rambam Medical Center, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

hnorris@midatlanticmedia.com

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