ike Huckabee got a standing ovation
when Dr. Joseph Frager introduced him at the
28th annual dinner of American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center
on Dec. 5.
"I’ve never had that kind of reception from
Baptists, so I am very glad to be here," said the former Baptist
minister, Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential
"I think Joe announced my candidacy for
president. Thank you Joe, but I’m not yet ready to do so."
It was an uphill battle when Huckabee competed
for the Republican candidacy in 2008. He said he started out
with so little name recognition that no one knew who he was.
"That kind of hurts when you are running for president."
After that Huckabee got
his own talk show at Fox News. He found that people care more
who is on television than who is in The White House. "I deeply
appreciate Fox because that is job security for me," he said.
Speaking like he’s already aiming for the White
House in 2012, Huckabee pressed all the right buttons for the
1,400 dinner guests at the Marriott Marquis.
Eugen Gluck, honorary chairman
of American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center, and program
chairman Dr. Avinoam Bitton presented awards to
several supporters, including Dr. Joseph and
Karen Frager, Dr. Jeffrey and
Esther Weber, Dr. Joshua and
Shifra Fox, and Rabbi Dr. Richard
and Sandy Weiss of Young Israel of
Rabbi Weiss, who is also assistant professor of
biology at Stern College of Yeshiva University, noted that
Passover happened in Egypt, Shavuot at Mount Sinai, Succoth in
the desert, and Purim in Persia. "Chanukah is the only holiday
that happened in the land of Israel."
Bet El, established 33 years ago with a bunch of
trailers on a barren tract of land in the hills of Shomron,
north of Jerusalem, has flourished into a thriving community and
a major center of Torah learning. Eugen and
Jean Gluck are pre-eminent benefactors of this
city and its outstanding yeshiva.
Huckabee recalled the summer of 2008 when he was
in Israel, accompanied by Dr. Paul Brody and
Dr. Frager. A Time magazine reporter asked Brody what
he thought about the chances of McCain picking Huckabee as his
vice president running mate. “You’d have a McCabee ticket,”
Brody replied. “It might be a marvelous thing for the future of
“As it happened,” Huckabee continued, “McCain
decided to go sailin’ with Palin and we ended up between a
Barack and a hard place.”
Huckabee denounced President Barack
Obama’s pressure to freeze settlements.
"A cessation of land development in order to
make peace with an adversary that refuses to recognize your
right to exist is counterintuitive," he said. "It seems to me
there should be pressure put on the Palestinians, not the
As for those critics of the $3 billion dollars
of U.S. aid to Israel, Huckabee said he wants for the people who
are not Jewish to recognize why the Jewish people should be safe
and secure. "Israel is strategically the most important ally we
have in that part of the world. We will stand with Israel."
"Would she comprehend?" he wondered.
The girl was so overtaken with emotion, so
incredulous at the recorded events of the Holocaust, that she
wrote in the guest book, "Why didn’t someone do something?"