Some random thoughts on a cold New York night in January:
- With the Israeli elections a little over a week away, there is a deafening silence from foreign media (and foreign political officials) about the fact that the left in Israel is largely a non-factor in the elections. It is taken for granted – fait accompli – that Benjamin Netanyahu will be the Prime Minister. The conservative candidate is uncontested – with his biggest challenge coming from the right – despite all of the international pressure placed on Israel. Worldwide media would shout from the rooftops about the “unprecedented mandate” of the left, if the shoe were on the other foot. Clearly, Israelis want a strong Israel and survival is deemed more important than public relations – as it well should be.
- This week, from The Washington Post to Buzzfeed, media outlets made a big deal out of the fact that Senator Rand Paul hired Israel-based PR firm Lone Star Communications during his recent Middle East visit, claiming that Lone Star is “right-wing” as they have worked for Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, and others. The CEO of Lone Star has been a friend of mine for many years – and they are simply amongst the best PR firms in the region, with a unique understanding of the needs of visiting politicians from across the political spectrum. I am personally aware that the firm works with Democrats and Republicans (and leftists and rightists in Israel), and they are very well connected and good at what they do. It’s misleading to make a big deal out of the fact that Paul hired a pro-Israel PR firm.
- While Hurricane Sandy is in the past, the community shouldn’t forget about the many Jewish charities which still haven’t recovered from the storm. The Hebrew Academy of Long Beach on Long Island still has tremendous damage, Russian American Jewish Experience (RAJE) is still not back in its Brighton Beach center – it incurred six-figure damage which still hasn’t been recovered, and like so many other charities it was uninsured. Many charities simply don’t have back-up funds to cover for these contingencies, and the effects of the storm are still being felt. Next week, the SUV that two Staten Island boys rode in when they were swept away from their mother’s arms and drowned, will be auctioned off for charity by Kars 4 Kids. It’s heartbreaking on so many levels.
- In the month of January, who could have thought that there would be a major snowstorm in Jerusalem before these was one in New York?
Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur, author and philanthropist.