Amb. Ron Dermer
Amb. Ron DermerPal Photography

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer told the Israeli American Council (IAC) last night that Israel will never allow a nuclear Iran and will take any necessary measures to defend itself.

Iran “is the single most important issue facing Israel,” Dermer said. “We need to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapons capability – not just nuclear weapons – and I can assure you that the Prime Minister of Israel is not going to allow Iran’s regime to develop nuclear weapons. I can assure you that Prime Minister Netanyahu will do whatever he must do to defend the Jewish State.”

Dermer was the keynote speaker at the IAC’s sixth annual gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Approximately 1,000 IAC supporters from around the country, most of them Israeli-Americans, packed the ballroom for an inspirational evening that also featured Noam Bardin, Chief Wazer at Google, who made history last year when Google’s acquisition of the map app Waze became the second most lucrative high-tech deal in Israeli history.

Dermer’s comments on Iran at the IAC Gala came in the days after Israel intercepted a ship from Iran, carrying 40 short-range missiles and a major weapons cache. Israel says the capture is a “game changer” in the effort to show the world Iran’s real intentions.

In his IAC address, Dermer, a longtime advisor to Netanyahu and a rising diplomatic figure, also discussed ongoing peace talks and underscored Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State. “The people of Israel don’t want a piece of paper, they want a real peace, and genuine peace, a peace that’s based on mutual recognition,” he said. “Palestinians ask the Israeli government, the Israeli People, to recognize a Palestinian state. Well, the Palestinians are going to have to recognize the Jewish State of Israel.”

Among the distinguished guests were numerous Israeli and American dignitaries, heads of Jewish and Christian organizations, and high-profile IAC supporters such as Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson and Beverly Hilton owner Beny Alagem. The honorees of this year’s IAC Gala were Miri and Isaac Shepher, founders of Life Alert and longtime activists and philanthropists in the Israeli-American community. The Chair of the Gala was philanthropist Gila Milstein, who together with her husband Adam Milstein presented the award to the Shepher, to a standing ovation.

IAC, the largest umbrella organization for over half a million Israeli expats and their children living in the United States, works to build an active and giving Israeli-American community in order to strengthen the State of Israel, the Jewish identity of the next generation, and to provide a bridge to the Jewish-American community. The theme of the gala, “Come Dream with Us,” sought to inspire participants to help build new initiatives, bringing the Israeli-American community nationwide together around programs based on shared Jewish values.

Legendary Israeli rock group Ethnix provided the headline act to conclude the Gala. The over $2.5 million raised at the dinner will benefit many IAC programs and events in Los Angeles, and in cities where the IAC has recently set up branches as part of their much-heralded national growth.

Shawn Evenhaim, chairman of the IAC said since its inception in 2007, said IAC “was able to create a strong Israeli-American community in L.A., and now we are in the middle of expanding throughout the country. In the last four months we have opened three branches, in Miami, Boston & Las Vegas, and we are in the process of opening a branch in New York. Our goals are strengthening the State of Israel, connecting our second generation American-born kids to Jewish life and building the bridges between the Israel-American community and the Jewish-American community.”