‘Concert with message’ pumps pro-Israel crowd


The 24th annual Israel Day Concert in Central Park — billed as a “concert with a message” — drew thousands of rain-defying pro-Israel enthusiasts following the massive Celebrate Israel Parade up Fifth Avenue.

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the music —Israeli, American, Sephardic and Chassidic — was interspersed with brief speeches.

“Coming from the United Nations, I’m not used to seeing so many supporters of Israel,” quipped Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon. “We are here to send a strong message to the U.N. and UNESCO: Jerusalem is the united capital of the Jewish people — period!”

“For 2,000 years, they tried to make us forget Yerushalayim,” Danon said. “We returned and we will never leave again.”

Other speakers included Dov Kalmanovitz, deputy mayor of Jerusalem, whose face was badly burned by a Palestinian terrorist during the first Intifada; former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton; former top Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn; Aaron Klein of Breitbart’s Jerusalem Bureau; FoxNews contributor Pete Hegseth; Farley Weiss, national president of the National Council of Young Israel, who stressed the importance of the global war on radical Islamic terror; ZOA President Morton Klein, who contrasted the historic Jewish connection to the Land of Israel with Muslim indifference to the Land, and Rivka Abbe who highlighted the importance of pro-Israel activism among all young American Jews.

The concert was arranged by organizer Dr. Joseph Frager of Jamaica Estates; and chairpersons Dr. Paul Brody and Drora Brody of Great Neck. The Brodys coined the slogan, “Concert With a Message,” when they began their tenure 13 years ago.

The nearly five-hour-long concert, on the massive Central Park Summerstage adorned by American and Israeli flags, featrured the Shloime Dachs Orchestra and Singers, Michoel Pruzansky, Beri Weber, Dr. Meyer Abittan, Jerry Markovitz, Izzy Kiefer and Heshy R, Avi Kilimnick, “Mr. Shabbos” Josh Alpert, White Shabbos, and Bezalel Levin. Special guest performers from Israel were Mati Shriki, Tal Vaknin, Elron Zabatani, and pianist extraordinaire Shlomi Aharoni.

Musical highlights included the public debut of Tivne Chomot Yerushalayim, a moving song composed by Duvi Honig, founder and CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, sung by Tal Vaknin. 

“This concert was a message to the world to strengthen the fact that Hashem gave Eretz Yisroel to the Jewish People,” explained Odeleya Jacobs. “We are here to celebrate the miracle Hashem performed on our behalf 50 years ago when we got Eretz Yisroel Hashleima, all of Eretz Yisroel. May Hashem continue to bless the Am HaYehudi.”

Mark Levenson, chairman of the New Jersey-Israel Commission, recounted the legendary words of Har Habayit B’yadeinu crackling over IDF radio at the end of the Six Day War — “the most beautiful words the Jewish People have heard in 2,000 years” — and spoke of the enormous social and economic progress that Israel has experienced since then. 

But there is still lots of work to be done, Levenson cautioned, especially in the fight against the BDS movement and other anti-Israel forces in the West.

Noted IDF combat veteran and former Knesset member Yoni Chetboun, author of Under Fire, was one of many guests who traveled from Israel to attend the event.

“In Israel, we see what’s around us,” Chetboun remarked, “but when we come here and see thousands of American Jews and non-Jews coming out in support of Israel, it gives us chizuk.”

Dedicated in memory of Carl Freyer z”l, Dr. Manfred R. Lehman and his eishet chayil Anne z”l and Rose and Reuben Mattus z”l, it was emceed by Jewish radio personality Nachum Segal. The concert coincided with the first yartzeit of legendary pro-Israel philanthropist Dr. Irving Moskowitz z”l. A special tribute to the late doctor and his wife Cherna, who is continuing his legacy, was made by their grandson Rabbi Yechezkel Moskowitz.  

Source: Michoel Bretter