On a personal note,
Each one of us embodies their own family history that is, in turn, intrinsically connected to the story of Israel. I would like to take advantage of this platform to tell a little about myself and connect my personal tale to the national story of the Jewish People in our own land.
I was born in Tel Aviv in 1955, during the period of austerity, to two civil-servant parents who never would have met had the State of Israel not been reestablished. My father Rafael came to Israel from Algeria before the War of Independence in 1948, and fought in the Golani Brigade. My mother, may she rest in peace, immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1937 from Poland, thereby escaping the horrendous Holocaust, in which members of her extended family perished along with the bulk of European Jewry. She, Lily Eilon at the time, likewise fought in the War of Independence in Jerusalem, and was wounded in battle. I view myself as the product of the Ingathering of the Exiles, the intersection between the Jewish Diasporas of East and West, Sepharad and Ashkenaz, and the first generation of Israel’s reestablishment.
The State of Israel would not have been reestablished without the Zionist vision and implementation, resting on the shoulders of millennia of historical and Biblical Zionism. Political Zionism bore incomparable importance for achieving international recognition of our return to our land, but above all else, the Zionist vision was fulfilled due to action – creating facts on the ground in terms of immigration, settlement and defense. Political Zionism, and practical Zionism perhaps even more, is no less significant in our times than at its inception, more than 100 years ago. Today, in the sixth decade after the state’s establishment, immigration and settlement are an existential need and the only means to our continued blossoming and thriving in our own land.
I have served in Israel’s Foreign Service for over 20 years. I began my diplomatic career in Panama, and then went on to the UN mission in New York. I was political advisor to three different prime ministers: Ehud Barak, Binyamin Netanyahu, and Ariel Sharon. In 2002, I was appointed by then Prime Minister Sharon and Minister Shimon Peres, who in time became president of the state, to represent Israel as Israel’s Ambassador to Washington. During my ambassadorial tenure, Israel-US relations increased and improved, with American support of Israel reaching an all-time high in many areas.
Upon my retirement from the diplomatic service in 2006, I joined Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization committed to revitalizing Aliyah, and the Or Movement for settlement in the Negev and the Galilee. Both of these organizations do vital work – bringing Jews to Israel, and settling the Negev and the Galilee. I call upon all of us to join in making the subjects of immigration and settlement a top national priority and allotting all necessary resources to that end. That’s not only a wise financial investment, but a Zionist imperative and also a moral obligation upon us and future generations.
In February 2009, I was sworn in as a Member of Knesset representing the Yisrael Beiteinu party. I joined political life in order to continue contributing, taking action, and executing the will of the voters as faithfully as possible, in order to help Israel make progress and prosper as a Jewish and democratic state. I am aware of the gravity and responsibility I bear as an elected public official: to manage the affairs of Israel’s population and take care of it effectively. As Jews and as Israelis we can be proud of the Zionist enterprise and its achievements to date. Yet we must continue working tirelessly to uphold a more just and egalitarian society that nurtures the values of Zionism and sacrifice, and constantly aspires to peace amongst ourselves and with our neighbors, while maintaining our identity as a Jewish and democratic state.
In April 2009, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman appointed me his deputy; and a major circle in my life was thereby completed – from being a cadet in the Foreign Ministry in 1989 to my current position.
Danny and his wife Anne have two daughters, Zohar and Avigail, and they live in Hod Hasharon. He completed his IDF service in the Armored Corps with the rank of captain. He has an undergraduate degree in economics from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA, where he was voted one of the school’s hundred most influential alumni in the world. In 2005, he received the Brandeis Award from the Jewish community in Baltimore and in 2008 the Builder of Jerusalem Award from Aish HaTorah.