Members of the AIFL board of directors along with special guests welcomed Amb. Dani Dayan to his new post as the Consul General of Israel in New York. The reception was hosted by AIFL Chairman, Kenneth J. Bialkin at his Times Square office.
Amb. Dayan opened his remarks by sharing anecdotes of his first several weeks in New York City before presenting a moving tribute to Shimon Peres, Israel’s 9th president and former prime minister, who had just passed away the previous evening. Amb. Dayan concluded his moving remarks by sharing one of his favorite Shimon Peres quotes, “Optimists and pessimists die the same way. They live differently. I prefer to live as an optimist.” He then asked everyone to stand for a moment of silence in memory of this great man.
The remainder of the briefing focused on Israel’s dual reality: though the country is located in a hostile neighborhood where vigilance is necessary to ensure its survival, Israel is thriving. Its economy has grown far beyond the imagination of any of its founding fathers, who, in 1948, knew of oranges as Israel’s biggest export. Today, the tiny country is the leader in developing technology, second only to Silicon Valley. In fact, many of the Silicon Valley giants have R&D facilities in Israel. In the area of trade, Israel is developing good relations with India, China, Japan, Central Asia, the Balkans, South America. He stressed, however, that Israel’s “pillar of cooperation” In all areas is the United States. “Israel has an unbreakable bond, which weighs more than all the others combined.”
Before inviting questions, which resulted in a lively Q & A, Amb. Dayan thanked the America-Israel Friendship for being an organization “working day to day toward the maintenance of this relationship”.