NYC Mayor Eric Adams presents Eden Golan with a proclamation declaring 'Eden Golan Day.'
NYC Mayor Eric Adams presents Eden Golan with a proclamation declaring 'Eden Golan Day.'Eli Weintraub

(New York Jewish Week) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams made a surprise appearance at a gala for an Israeli first responder group in Manhattan Tuesday night, where he declared “Eden Golan Day” in honor of the Israeli singer who won fifth place at Eurovision last month.

Golan also took the stage at the United Hatzalah event to deliver the first US performance of her song “Hurricane.” The 20-year-old singer — who drew pro-Palestinian protests at the European song contest as well as admiration from fans for her poise in the face of jeers — was in the city to march in Sunday’s pro-Israel parade on Fifth Avenue.

“We should all use our talents, and Eden has used hers in a real way,” Adams said. “And we know you should have won the total contest.”

Adams, who marched with Golan at the parade, added, “People told us not to do the Israeli Day Parade. And I said, ‘Not while I’m the mayor.’ And you came, you marched by us, you showed us.”

Golan also received United Hatzalah’s “Hero Award,” and performed two additional songs: “Rise Up” by Andra Day and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Her performance of both on the Israeli program “Rising Star” — where in one performance she wore a yellow ribbon and was surrounded by empty chairs representing the hostages held captive in Gaza — helped earn her the spot at Eurovision.

In the face of global condemnation of the war in Gaza, Golan has become a symbol of national resilience and pride for Israelis. Hatzalah has taken on a measure of symbolism as well for its volunteers’ first response work on and immediately after Oct. 7. In Israel’s national Independence Day torch lighting ceremony, one of the group’s volunteers was selected to light a torch.

“Wow you guys are so beautiful,” Golan said from the stage. “It’s such an honor and a pleasure to be here. And to see all of you and to get to sing to you guys. … Everything you do is just priceless. and so important to us. And it’s my pleasure to share a bit of my love and my voice with you all tonight.”

Support for Israel’s war effort, and for its hostages who remain held by Hamas in Gaza, was everywhere at the gala, which was held at the elite Cipriani Wall Street. Women wore dresses in blue for Israel, yellow for the hostages, and orange for United Hatzalah. Guests also wore yellow ribbons or United Hatzalah pins, and some men who are involved with United Hatzalah wore orange suit jackets.

The event raised $20 million for United Hatzalah, and its fundraising portion was punctuated by dozens of guests shouting out their donations ranging from $1,000 to millions of dollars for ambulances, e-bikes, medical bags, and other equipment and services.

A moment of silence was also dedicated to the lives lost on and since Oct. 7, and the event commemorated the life of Dolev Yehud — an EMT with United Hatzalah who had been presumed taken hostage and whose remains were identified in Israel just days ago. His parents were reportedly scheduled to attend the gala, but returned to Israel upon receiving the news, one of the presenters said.

Also in attendance was Rami Davidian, who orchestrated the rescue of hundreds of people on Oct. 7. At one point during the evening, Davidian was reunited onstage with one of the women he rescued.

Other guests included Jewish influencer and fashion blogger Lizzy Savetsky and husband, plastic surgeon Ira Savetsky; influencer Liv Schreiber; and owner of Morton Williams Supermarkets Avi Kaner.

Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport, who has become an outspoken advocate for Israel since Oct. 7, at times attracting controversy, emceed Tuesday’s event. In an interview, he said he isn’t concerned with the backlash he’s received.

“My whole thing with social media has always been whether I’m talking about something mundane, like sports or pop culture, or something more serious, I just go,” he said. “I don’t worry about who’s going to hear me, who’s not going to hear me. There’s no way to predict it, or manufacture it. If there was, you know, I’d be a rich man.”

He added, “I just bleh. And that’s why it comes off that way.”