Over 1,000 people attended the 33rd annual gala dinner event for Beit El Institutions Sunday night, at the prestigious Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan. 

The dinner was chaired by Arutz Sheva and Eugen Gluck, chairman of the Board of Directors of Beit El Institutions. Former National Union MK Yaakov Katz ('Katzele') was in attendance. 

Main speakers included Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. 

The event began with emotional renditions of "Hatikva" ('The Hope'), Israel's national anthem; the "Star Spangled Banner," the US national anthem; and a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony. 

Donors 'send a much-needed message'

Gluck then opened the event, thanking the many donors for their generous support. 

"It is with profound pleasure and deep gratitude that I welcome you all - the first-timers as well as the core Beit El supporters," he said. "Your impressive turnout here tonight is sending a much-needed message to the noble and dedicated pioneers, telling them loud and clear to continue their boundless commitment and selfless sacrifices on behalf of the people and the State of Israel."

Gluck finished by introducing Governor Mike Huckabee, the dinner's keynote speaker, noting the latter's support for Israel - and for Judea-Samaria in particular - have "fortified all of us" and made him "unequivocally, the best friend the State of Israel has had." 

"Three of our former keynote speakers of the Beit El dinner have gone on to become Prime Minister," he added. "Perhaps we will be lucky enough to get the ball rolling for Huckabee in 2016, to become the President of the US." 

'There is something remarkable about this land, and I believe it more than ever before'

Huckabee began by wishing the audience a Happy Hanukkah. Hanukkah is "a reminder that when God lights His flame, no power on Earth will ever be able to extinguish it," Huckabee began. "I celebrate with you that great truth from God." 

"This is not a campaign appearance," he stated. "I am not here because Beit El is endorsing me. I'm here because I'm endorsing Beit El." 

"There's been so many times when I've been asked to explain my intense love for the nation of Israel," Huckabee continued. "It started when I was 17 years old and made my first trip to Israel back in 1973, just a few months before the Yom Kippur War." 

"Even though I had never been there before, it was as if I had come home," he recounted. "I knew that there was something remarkable about this land, and I believe it more today than ever before." 

"This land is special because G-d chose this land for His own," Huckabee added, calling Israel G-d's "personal real-estate investment." 

The presidential candidate noted that G-d, not an international body, chose Israel's borders, to general applause. 

"He chose the Jews to be His people," he continued. "We have made many promises to G-d, but G-d never breaks His promises to us - and He promised that nations who bless Israel will be blessed and nations who curse Israel will be cursed." 

"It is a promise which lives today, and G-d will keep that promise to His people, the Jews, and I believe that with all my heart." 

Huckabee noted as well that every time Israel has given up 'land for peace,' in response to international pressure, they "end up neither with land nor peace." 

Instead, he expressed hope that the next President will encourage Israel to fill its neighborhoods in Judea-Samaria to be a place "where Jews can live in safety and security, and there would be no threat that the United States would tolerate against the people of Israel," as well as to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

"Let us not cower, let us not retreat, let us be bold in believing that if G-d gave that land then we should respect the ancient capital of Jerusalem, and boldly declare that it will be what people recognize." 


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