February 15th the
Times of Israel (TOI) held its First Annual Gala, with
an awards ceremony attended by a full house of over
1,200 guests at
the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
of the gala was “Telling Israel’s Story,” to celebrate
the best of the country. The ceremony honored families
of the fallen and outstanding Israelis in diverse fields
from politics to entertainment and innovation.
Recipients included Israeli former President and Nobel
Prize Laureate Shimon Peres for Lifetime Leadership, law
professor Alan Dershowitz as Advocate for Israel,
supermodel Bar Refaeli representing the Israel Image,
and star basketball player Derrick Sharp for Sporting
Achievement. Other awardees were Waze Founder Uri
Levine, Iron Dome father Brigidier General Danny Gold,
actress/model Gal Gadot star of Fast
and Furious and
upcoming Wonder Woman in the Batman
vs. Superman movie,
as well as computer scientist Dr. Kira Radinsky and
business leader Dr. Yehudit Richter.
on-stage interview of Israel’s former President Shimon
Peres interview by TOI Editor David Horovitz, Peres
projected world optimism, that, “I do believe we shall
make peace with the whole Arab world”; advised courage,
that “A man has a choice to be a coward or not to be
afraid. Don’t be afraid. Israel must be a land of hope,
not a land of fear”; encouraged hope, “”If you dream,
dream great”; eschewed terror, “Terror is the real
danger…not us.”; and praised youth as the future of
Patriots owner Robert Kraft honored California volunteer
IDF soldier Max Steinberg killed in an attack in Gaza,
who had been seen on television wearing a Patriots cap.
The audience cheers as Kraft announced, ‘We all are
gave a standing ovation to the American couple who named
their newborn son after a man killed in an Israeli
synagogue while attempting
to save others.
Awardee Alan Derschowitz gave an emotionally rousing
acceptance speech, lambasting academic colleagues
fearful of offending others by openly supporting Israel.
Humanitarian Awardee Meira Aboufalia, Chairperson of
IsraAid, noted her organizations missions helping
refugees in Jordan, Kenya and Kurdistan, and working
against gender-based violence in Haiti and South Sudan.
She described the efforts in the spirit of arvut
hadadit, a Hebrew term for solidarity
or mutual responsibility.
for Israel abounded, with basketball player Derrick
Sharp, point guard for 15 years for the Maccabi Israeli
team, who praised Israel as the best country in the
world and noted that his son misses the pizza.
Protector of Israel award went to Brigadier General
Danny Gold, project chief of Iron Dome Defense System
that diverts enemy missiles.
Computer Scientist/Technology Pioneer Award went to Dr.
Kira Radinsky, co-founder a company that forecasts
market trends, who was also the youngest person on the
2014 coveted Forbes list of the 50 Most Influential
Women in Israel. Dr.
Yehudit Richter, who earned a Ph.D. in organizational
psychology from Boston University, received
the Business Leader/ Economic Development Award for
co-founding companies producing innovative medical
device companies, including new technology in heart
sparkling the evening were performances of dance by the
Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble, music by violinist Tania
Vinokuur, a duet by Artist of the Year Miri Mesika and
Abraham McDonald, and even a comedy routine by Avi
present included Israel U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor,
Israel U.N. Consul General Ido Aharoni, Colombia U.N.
Ambassador Isaac Giliniski, President of the World
Jewish Congress Ron Lauder, President of the Jewish
National Fund Jeffrey E. Levine, El Al Airlines
President David Maimon, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Dr. Judy
Kuriansky, who had just returned from an Ebola mission
in Sierra Leone with Aboulafia’s IsraAid.
of Israel was founded three years ago, on February 14,
2012, to tell Israel’s story, so the world would better
understand the remarkable and thriving nation and its
outstanding Israelis. The online publication is in
English and three other languages (French, Arabic and
Chinese), with plans to launch local editions.
the Gala will be donated to Israeli charities, such as
IDF Widows & Orphans, Jewish National Fund, American
Friends of Magen David Adom, OneFamily Fund, and
American Friends of Rambam Medical Center.