2006 Gala: Saving the Heroes of Israel’s War

Larry King and John Bolton on stage

In the aftermath of the Israel-Lebanon War in August 2006, a star-studded group of 550 supporters of American Friends of Rabin Medical Center (AFRMC) arrived at Cipriani on 42nd Street on November 5, 2006 to help Israel during difficult times. AFRMC Chairman, Barry Cohen, welcomed everyone, reminding them that the evening was organized to support Israel's leading hospital, a great institution in need of on-going assistance because of constant demands made on her. Cohen urged people to be generous.

As proof of the significance of the hospital, Cohen mentioned the honored guests who saw fit to respect Rabin Medical Center and Israel with their presence. The audience included gala honoree, Dina Recanati and her son Michael; Gala Co- Chairs Arnie Burns, and Larry and Millie Magid; Israel's United Nations Ambassador Dan Gillerman and his wife Janice; Al and Claude Mann, previous gala honorees; David Barouk, a generous friend and benefactor; a class of Hollywood and Broadway personalities, including Joseph Stein, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Helen Gurley Brown, David Brown, Kitty Carlise Hart, Tovah Feldshuh, Sherill Milnes and Marvin Hamlisch.

Master of Ceremonies Larry King spoke highly of Rabin Medical Center. He mentioned having met Yitzhak Rabin, for whom he has the highest regard. Nava Barak, forever the first lady of the Rabin Medical Center, greeted the attendees as part of Israel's extended family. She had hoped to give a positive report of how the country was prospering. But then the Lebanon war began. Israel was under attack. People banned together to help others in the line of Hezbollah rockets. Nava spoke of her mother who lived in Tiberias, a place of unprecedented tranquility, which was shattered by Hezbollah rockets. Nava's mother came to live with her for one week but that grew into a month. She was far from her familiar surroundings and friends and under great pressure, worrying about her friends. She was one of the lucky ones.

The audience then viewed a video of a wounded soldier, Shai Golan, lying on a stretcher, and the Rabin Medical Center doctor who saved his life. After viewing the video, Shai's mother, Dalia, brought the house down when she came out to thank Rabin Medical Center's staff of nurses and doctors "for returning my son and life to me." Her words helped to increase the generosity of so many attendees who responded graciously to an appeal to raise money for equipment that would help bolster the emergency unit, including non-invasive blood monitors ($2,200 each) respirators ($10,000 each), prisma machines for liver transplants ($30,000 each), blood-unit centrifuges for transplants ($40,000 each), specialized beds for orthopedics ($5000 each), and volumetric infusion pumps for chemotherapy ($1,400 each). Jennifer Roth, Senior Vice President from Sotheby's, made the appeal, garnering 39 pieces of new vital medical equipment for Rabin Medical Center.

The highlight of the evening was the USA's United Nations Ambassador John Bolton's keynote address. Bolton spoke passionately about the United States and Israel partnership in fighting terror. Next, the Co-Chairs of the dinner, Larry and Millie Magid introduced CEO, Dr. Dan Oppenheim. Larry had visited the hospital and was treated to a wonderful tour by Dr. Openheim. He urged everyone to take such a tour on their next Israel visit. Dr. Oppenheim thanked everyone for the overwhelming response to the plea for medical equipment.

The concluding evening's entertainment was supplied by the legendary Marvin Hamlisch. He presented the AFRMC Award of Excellence to Joseph Stein, referring to him as a legend in the entertainment industry. The evening ended with Shawn King singing selections from Motown and paying tribute to her husband Larry King who so generously devotes his time to worthwhile causes, such as the Rabin Medical Center.

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