9 Jul ’05
“In 10 years, Israel could be one of the 10 richest countries in the world,” Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told guests at ICSEP’s first annual United States Awards Dinner. Milton Friedman expressed similar beliefs to those assembled at New York’s St Regis Hotel: “Israel has the potential of being the Hong Kong of the Middle East,” he said in his video address.
During dinner, Israel’s minister of economic affairs in America, Ron Dermer, rose to present awards to five men who have supported ICSEP.
The real estate investor Eugene Grant, recipient of the Economic Freedom Award, described himself as “a simple American Zionist” who wanted to “help the government of Israel get rid of the shackles and handcuffs of an idealistic but fatally flawed economic and political system into which Israel was born almost 60 years ago.”
The editor of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol, accepted the Inspiration and Guidance Award on behalf of his father, Irving Kristol, whom he described as “a Zionist all of his life, even when he was a Trotskyist at age 18.”
David Lewis, who owns hotels in Israel, flew from England to accept the Entrepreneur Award. He made a pitch for Americans to visit Eilat, which he described it as “Las Vegas by the Sea, Arizona on the beach.”
Receiving the Pioneer Supporter Award, the chairman of Robinson Steel Company, Edward Minor, told of a trip to Israel during which he saw the inefficiencies of the economy. “I noticed lots of scrap,” he said. “I soon learned that there were laws that forbid the export of scrap from the country, and there was only one scrap recycler – in Haifa.”
The lawyer Kenneth Bialkin, who is the president of the American Jewish Historical Society and the chairman of the America Israel Friendship League, received the Stalwart Award.
The master of ceremonies of the event was a Philadelphia-based builder, Richard Fox, who is chairman of the American friends group of the center.
The 325 guests included the chief financial officer of Israel’s ministry of finance, Harry Langman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, and one of Israel’s leading venture capitalists, Shlomo Kalish.
The New York Sun covered the event.