Danon: We can't take Israeli achievement for granted

'Jewish tradition is important so we organized a Passover Seder with the participation of dozens of ambassadors from various countries.'

Nitzan Keidar ,

Ambassador Danon holds Passover with UN ambassadors
Ambassador Danon holds Passover with UN ambassadors
Israeli UN delegation

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, was already supposed to be deep in Israel's political echelon these days, according to the original plan.

But a plan is one thing and reality is another. Danon chose to relinquish the recent elections and remain in his position for the time being to continue promoting Israeli objectives at the United Nations.

This week, ahead of the Passover holiday, he held a Seder night for ambassadors of dozens of countries in order to teach them about the depth of Judaism. "We believe that Jewish tradition is important - it contributes to the understanding of our history - so we organized a Passover Seder with the participation of dozens of ambassadors from various countries. It was the first time that some of them were exposed to these concepts. We think everyone knows the story of the Exodus from Egypt, but it clearly isn't true. We explained the tradition and the customs to them and it was beautiful to see how ambassadors from all over the world connected to our story."

This is not the first event that Danon organized to broaden the understanding of the "Jewish essence" among the ambassadors of the world. "I believe that our successes in the UN arena is in the merit of Judaism and pride in our tradition. This is reflected in a variety of events - the Tashlich event with the participation of the UN Secretary-General, the Seder night, Hanukkah - we even made sure that there would be kosher food is in the UN corridors. All these things add to the feeling and understanding that we are a country which is equal among equals in the UN. And just like we respect the Christian holidays, we also fought for and achieved that Yom Kippur would be recognized by the UN. I believe that this is an important part of my work here."

An issue that has been appearing in the headlines recently throughout the world is anti-Semitism - and Danon himself led a resolution that led the General Assembly to condemn anti-Semitism.

"This issue is very significant and we wonder from time to time why the UN is not working to reduce anti-Semitism. However, we were able to condemn anti-Semitism recently in an unexpected way. The Turks initiated a resolution to condemn the massacre at the New Zealand mosques and a warning against Islamophobia but didn't agree to include a condemnation of anti-Semitism. We succeeded in forming a majority in the UN to support my proposal and thus reach a situation in which the General Assembly voted in favor of condemning anti-Semitism."

We asked Danon whether he felt - even momentarily - during the very intense recent elections as if he wanted to leave everything and return to Israel. "I'm following everything that happens, it's a subject that is close to my heart. I made a decision not to leave my position. There is a matter of responsibility here and my view is that my decision to stay was correct. The next elections will be an opportunity for me to return and participate in working for the public."

"Of course, I wish success to all my friends in the Likud. Eventually, I would like to return to working for the public in Israel, bringing the experience I've accumulated in the world for the benefit of the Israeli public. When I arrive in Israel, I'll meet with the prime minister and discuss it with him. You have to recall that I'll be finishing four years of service by the summer. I'm proud of the achievements we've reached and the achievements that are in store for us in the near future," he added.

Danon will be in New York for the Seder night but will continue his mission immediately afterward. "I hope to come with another delegation of ambassadors and march together in the March of Life in Poland. Afterward, we'll also come to Israel for a joint visit."

In light of the approaching holiday of Passover, we asked the Israeli ambassador whether the person who has been sitting in New York for the past four years has a different perspective now on the concept of "free man."

"I think that when you're outside of Israel you appreciate more what Israel has achieved and what we have," Danon responded. " We can't take it for granted. In Israel, sometimes we take everything for granted and we don't appreciate it enough. We're experiencing a wonderful period now and we need to be thankful for it," Danon concluded.