On Sept. 13th, 1993 the Oslo Accords were signed and brought misery to the State of Israel. Israel so much wanted Peace that it bent over backwards to make a deal that subsequently has cost over a thousand lives and haunts all to this very day.
On December 13th, 1993 the day that the Oslo Accords were to be implemented I along with a few others organized a Rally of over 5000 people in Times Square to oppose its implementation. That was the largest Rally of its kind in North America. In order to maintain the momentum against the disaster that awaited, a Concert in Central Park was proposed. The actual idea came from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat. The financing came from Carl Freyer of Blessed Memory and his wife Sylvia. That was how it all began. I helped organize the first and every one subsequently.
People never like rallies but always came out for Concerts. A Concert always attracted a larger crowd. General Ariel Sharon who was the Leader in Israel against the Oslo Accords was the Speaker at the first Concert held in the Spring of 1994. It was a huge success and eventually led to the Likud Election Victory of 1996. Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann Z'L and Rose Mattus Z'L were instrumental in making the Concerts happen .Dr. Lehmann was the Concert's first chairman. Shlomo Carlbach Z'L performed at the Concert in 1994 not long before his passing.
It was his last major performance. The Central Park Concerts have continued unabated since that time. Each year the need for a large gathering to send a message to the Leaders in America and Israel seem to be growing. In 2003 Bibi Netanyahu was the Guest Speaker. The Intifada of 2000, the assassination of Israeli Minister and General Rechavam Zeevi ("Gandhi") in Israel and Sept.11th 2001 World Trade Center Attacks were fresh on everyone's minds. Bibi's appearance at the Concert helped him reconnect with the serious and devoted Zionists in both America and Israel. In 2005 the Concert in Central Park was dedicated to preventing the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif.
It was one of the last major protests against the so called "Disengagement". Unfortunately, the traumatic and foolhardy move was made anyway but I believe that it sent a powerful message that can only help in the future to prevent recurrences. This year marks 10 years since the Expulsion from Gush Katif and the Concert will focus to some degree on this terrible chapter of Israel's history. Most importantly the Concert this year will highlight the looming Iranian Crisis. With a "Very Bad Deal" proposed for June 30th, 2015 the Concert will call for increasing sanctions and more aggressive action to prevent a "North Korea" (which now has at least 6 Nuclear Bombs already) placed smack in the middle of the Middle East.
The Concert, which will as in the past ten years , be chaired by Dr. Paul and Drora Brody, will once again make it clear that the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel has no place in America or anywhere in the world. Presidential hopeful Governor Mike Huckabee will keynote the event. Ambassador John Bolton who is America's leading expert on Iran will also address the crowd which is expected to be over 10,000. ZOA President Morton Klein and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach along with other prominent Speakers will be featured.
World famous musicians Alex Clare, Gad Elbaz, and Lipa Schmeltzer will be leading a star studded group of performers. Zvika Bornstein and Karen Frager will be the Producers. The Concert is free. It takes place on May 31st at Central Park's Summerstage. One's presence ensures the survival of the State of Israel and sends a message to all Americans who love Israel. Be seen and be heard.