Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, more famously known as the Partition Plan for Palestine, which called for the establishment of the Jewish state, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador, Danny Danon, hosted a celebration titled “Israel at 70: Honoring the Vote.” The November 28 event was attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Ambassador Ronald Lauder, Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Yisrael Katz, U.N. ambassadors representing over 60 countries, local public officials and other Jewish organizational leaders. Several local yeshiva high schools’ students were represented, including SAR High School, Ramaz Upper School and Rambam.
The event was held at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, New York. The Queens facility was the original site of the United Nations, and the actual location of the 1947 U.N. General Assembly vote.
Ambassador Danon reminded the audience it is the “70th anniversary of a great miracle... a miracle which changed the course of history forever!”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin began his remarks by telling the audience we are here “to celebrate what happened here in this hall 70 years ago, that the United Nations declared to the modern world an ancient truth that Jewish people have a natural, irrevocable right for an independent state in their ancestral and eternal homeland.” He reminded the audience that “the horrors of the Holocaust reminded the world that the safety and security of the Jewish people could not be assured” without an independent state.
Vice President Mike Pence said he was there to deliver a message from President Donald Trump that “under our administration, America will always stand with Israel.” He concluded his remarks by saying that “the days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.”
Minister Katz expressed pride that since 1947, Israel has increased diplomatic relations with many of the countries who voted against the original resolution. He noted how far Israel has come with its Arab neighbors, referencing the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and working with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to fight common security interests.
“Although everyone in the room knew the outcome of the vote, watching the countries vote brought a sense of anxiety to the audience,” said Rabbi Moshe Drelich, a faculty member who accompanied the SAR High School contingent. “You could only imagine the actual emotion of that day.” He was excited to attend the event as “I grew up in a Zionist home. It was so interesting to be here today, to be a part of history.”
Scarsdale resident Joey Tropper, an SAR junior, said, “It was cool to see Mike Pence and to hear him speak about his and the president’s support of Israel. It was also nice to see all the people here from the U.N. who support Israel.”
Another SAR junior added, “It is so interesting to see all the different people in the room showing support for Israel. It shows their commitment by being here. We should appreciate all the Christian organizations that are huge supporters of Israel.”
The event concluded with the audience giving a standing ovation for the current ambassadors of the 33 countries who voted for U.N. Resolution 181, exactly 70 years ago.
By Judy Berger