Ambassador Erdan and Rabbi Grossman
Ambassador Erdan and Rabbi Grossman Zachary Margulies

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan said that despite efforts by the Palestinian Authority leadership and terror and anti-Israel organizations, Israel’s position in the world on its 74th birthday is growing stronger.

This weekend, Ambassador Erdan spoke at the Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), “Celebrating a Strong Israel,” event held by American Friends of Migdal Ohr at the Moise Safra Center in New York.

“The celebrations of all Israelis – and Jews around the world – for Israel’s 74th birthday were tragically cut short today,” Ambassador Erdan said. “Just as the most solemn Israeli day Yom Hazikaron is immediately followed by the most joyous day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, the horrific terror attack in Elad this evening became the sorrow that accompanied the joy. Yet despite this inhuman act of terror, we will not stop celebrating life and the achievements of the State of Israel. Not for one moment. The battle against terror is a long one, but we are the eternal people, and terror will never prevail.”

“Israel represents only one-tenth of one percent of the world population, yet when it comes to creativity and innovation, Israel punches far above its weight,” he added. “In our Startup Nation, innovative Israeli companies solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, every day. These solutions, in the fields of healthcare, food security, water management, and many more, are what I share with my UN colleagues, and once they see what Israel has to offer, their support for Israel only grows.”

“The Arab world is no longer willing to be held hostage by the Palestinians and their consistent refusal of every offer of peace. Tonight, a night in which the number of widows, orphans and broken families in Israel increased, we must remember that Israel’s prosperity and success is not reliant on the Palestinians and their constant rejectionism, incitement, and terror attacks. Israel’s prosperity is solely in our hands – and of course the hands of God."

This event not only celebrated Israel’s 74th Independence Day but also the 50th anniversary of the founding of Migdal Ohr in 1972 by Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman. What began as a small room with just 18 students has become a national institution with schools and programs that serve tens of thousands of at-risk children across Israel each year.

Israel Prize Laureate and Founder of Migdal Ohr, Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman, flew in from Israel specially to attend, and spoke about the importance of investing in youth to ensure a strong Israel.

“I see the potential of our youth and then the impact our students have on Israeli society,” Rabbi Grossman said. “They are motivated to give back, contribute to the country, and are eager to draft to the IDF creating a stronger Israel despite their backgrounds and due to the love, empowerment, and support they receive at Migdal Ohr.”

Other participants at the event included New American Friends of Migdal Ohr President Nachman Paul and his wife Batya; Executive Director Atara Solow; Director of Development Mickey Flaumenhaft; David Miller, Executive Director of the Moise Safra Center, and Rabbi Haim Shaul, Head Rabbi of Ohel Moshe Synagogue.

Event chairs were Vanessa and Raymond Chalme, Lisa and Richard Cohen, Gloria and Matthew Ingber, and Anat and Louis Menaged.

Migdal Ohr, meaning “Tower of Light,” is one of Israel’s leading NGOs and provides educational frameworks and social guidance serving over 12,000 Israeli children every year. It was founded in 1972 by Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman, recipient of the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement. Rabbi Grossman is known around the world for loving every Jew and caring for children who have lost their way and been abandoned by the communities they come from.

Today, Migdal Ohr’s network of services and programs provide everything from a child’s most basic needs, whether clothing, medical care, family structure, and emotional support, to education, vocational training, mentorship, and more.