, Likud leader and former Israeli prime minister, brought good news and bad news to the Gateways 10th anniversary gala at the Waldorf. What do you want to hear first?
"Bad news!" the crowd shouted.
"This is definitely a Jewish audience," Netanyahu observed.
Among the crowd were such worthies as Ingeborg and Ira Rennert, Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Sen. Eric Cantor of Virginia, Nan Chani Rakower, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Presidents Conference, IDT’s Howard Jonas, CBS News correspondent Dan Raviv, Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, and Lt. Col. (res.) Yedidya Atlas, rabbi of IDF Ground Forces.
Nevertheless Netanyahu offered good news first. We’re in the midst of an explosion of prosperity. All governments have two choices: reform the economy now or wait and reform later.
As minister of finance under Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu reformed Israel’s economy to propel it into the 21st century.
"It was painful for people and politically painful for me, and we paid for it. But now ours is the strongest economy in the world."
The bad news, he said, was the challenge of militant Islam to the entire civilized world. "We stand in their way to create a caliphate, where there is no place for us, America and Europe."
As for Iran seeking to build a nuclear arsenal, Netanyahu declared, "Listen carefully to what I say: Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons."
Now that Gaza has turned into Hamastan, an Iranian base in the south, and Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon is an Iranian base in the north, Netanyahu warned against a third Iranian base in the middle of the country – especially in East Jerusalem.
"If we walk out, Hamas comes in, then Iran, then al-Qaeda. It will become a Mecca for terrorists."
Rabbi Mordechai Suchard, founding director of Gateways, which provides retreats to reconnect Jews with their heritage, installed Celia and Paul Sirotkin as life chairs.
Rachel Oestreicher-Bernheim, chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the USA, and Rabbi Suchard presented the Raoul Wallenberg Award to Elliott Broidy, chair of Markstone Capital Partners.