By Stephen E. Lipken
Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York, was Guest Speaker along with Westchester County Executive George Latimer at the Second Annual Westchester Jewish Council (WJC) Annual Westchester Jewish Leadership Reception at the JCC of Mid-Westchester, Scarsdale on Wednesday, September 5th.
Approximately 150 citizens attended with a long list of dignitaries, including Board of Legislators Chairman Ben Boykin; Legislators Nancy Barr, Catherine Borgia, Damon Maher; Assembly members David Buchwald, Steven Otis; Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins plus New York State Senators Shelley Mayer, Terrence Murphy and Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Stressing that Westchester County stands with the Jewish community, Latimer recalled that Stewart-Cousins advocated forming a Human Rights Commission to adjudicate prejudicial behavior. “If it were not for the rock-solid support of the Jewish Clergy, Black and Christian ministers, that legislation would not have passed,” Latimer noted.
“Israel has never been stronger, more prosperous and with better relations with the world than today,” Dayan began. “Israel was built from the ashes of the Holocaust and Jews expelled from Arab lands. U.S. News and World Report ranked Israel as the eighth most powerful country in the world.
“I came to Israel in 1971 from Buenos Aires. I arrived in Tel Aviv. There was one black-and-white television channel, owned by the government. Broadcasting ceased at 10:00 p.m.
“I remember the Oil Embargo. Israel had a two-month’s reserve of imports…Today the Bank of Israel has $100 billion dollars in reserve. We export more than we import. The shekel is one of the strongest currencies in the world.”
Ambassador Dayan pointed to million/billion-dollar acquisitions of Israeli companies Mirabilis ICQ by America on Line and Mobileye by Intel, pioneers in “cars without drivers.”
Dayan cited the “Sussita,” an Israeli car of the 1960’s and ‘70’s, “a fiberglass disaster. If you put your elbow on the hood it sank into the fiberglass. Today, we don’t manufacture cars, but Israeli automotive software and navigation tools are used in vehicles around the world.”
“Tonight was particularly interesting for me to listen to Ambassador Dayan speak as a native of Buenos Aires and man who has lived in Israel for many years, serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and now in a diplomatic capacity…,”
“I think it tells us that leadership in the Jewish community of Westchester is the leadership of Westchester…fully integrated with business, cultural, governmental and social life of this County…,” Latimer concluded.