‘Today’ Show Co-Host Kathie Lee Gifford Tells TV Audience About Receiving ‘Builder of Israel’ Award
Today co-host Kathie Lee Gifford talked to her morning show audience on Monday about an award she received the previous night for her demonstration of support for Israel.
Gifford accepted the Builder of Israel award on Sunday night at an event held at New York City’s Chelsea Piers. The event was hosted by Consul General of Israel in New York, Ido Aharoni, in honor of the 68th anniversary if Israel’s independence.
The Today co-host, whose father is Jewish, told her co-anchor, Hoda Kotb, on Monday morning that she was reduced to tears upon accepting the award.
“I [was] crying about it,” Gifford said, as she displayed the award. “Because when you get awards that you don’t deserve, it’s one thing. [But] when you get an award for just doing what comes so naturally to you, it seems like so much more than you could possibly ever deserve. Because I love doing the work I do, and telling people about the land [of Israel], and all the people that live in the Holy Land and how much God loves them.”
Aharoni noted on Sunday night that the Builder of Israel award was only given out once before: to a group of Americans who traveled to Israel and volunteered to fight with the Israel Defense Forces in the 1948 War of Independence. The Consul General said that by accepting the award, Gifford “becomes part of a legendary effort to help establish the state of Israel [and] help build the nation of the Jewish people.”
In her acceptance speech, Gifford said she was “deeply, deeply honored.” She added, “Except for my children, this is the greatest honor and privilege I’ve ever been given.”
“You gotta stop giving me awards for doing what I was born to do,” she said. “I wanna tell the story of the land and the word of the Bible. And I want to explain to people how the marriage of the land and the word can absolutely transform a human heart. And that’s what I hope to do…[to] just tell the truth.”
During Gifford’s latest visit to Israel — in March — she filmed various segments for Today about her travels, which included stops in Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea and Jerusalem.. She said on Sunday night that she has been traveling to the Jewish state for the past 45 years and she intends to “go back many more times.”
She also talked about those who have “been fed so many lies concerning what’s going on in Israel,” saying, “Unfortunately, some people believe what they hear without doing their homework.”
Earlier on Sunday, Gifford served in the role of honorary grand marshal of the 2016 Celebrate Israel Parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City. Ahead of the parade, she told The Algemeiner that her idea of “heaven on earth” is being in Israel and studying the Bible.