On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted 33-13 to allow for the formal creation of the State of Israel on land that was previously under the control of Great Britain. Notably, ten members, including England, abstained from the vote.
The Arab members of the General Assembly stormed out in staunch opposition. Months later in May of 1948, Israel proclaimed its independence and the Arabs wasted no time in launching an attack to invade Israel. Fortunately, Israel vanquished its enemies and remains a viable and Jewish state.
Fast-forward 70 years to November 29, 2017. The Queens Museum, which served as the temporary quarters of the UN in 1947, when the vote took place, hosted a reenactment of that historic vote. Israel’s current ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, organized this event and invited political leaders, college students, and various high schools to be part of and to witness the reenactment.
Rambam Mesivta, well known for its pro-Israel advocacy and anti-BDS activism, was fortunate to receive an invite. They joined two other Jewish schools (both from Manhattan) in attending the program. US Vice President Mike Pence, Malcolm Hoenlein (executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), and many other dignitaries were present.
When the program was first announced, the Queens Museum initially rejected it for a few hours as they thought it might risk offending Palestinians by siding with Israel. However, because of the overwhelming positive sentiment expressed by many political leaders and the official anti-BDS stance that has been taken by the New York State Legislature, the museum acquiesced and allowed the event to take place.
Rambam students were proud to participate and learn about what took place 70 years ago, while also joining others in making a strong statement against the BDS movement as they took up the ambassador’s invitation.
The Rambam participants that represented the entire school were Itai Eliach, Zev Granik, Eliyahu Levy, Yitzy Lisker, Yidi Reiss, and Benjie Wiener. They were accompanied by the Principal of the Rambam Mesivta, Rabbi Yotav Eliach, a world-renown Middle East expert.