Conversations with Yael: UN Ambassador Danny Danon — Champion for Israel and Her People
Join host Yael Eckstein as she welcomes Israeli statesman and former UN Ambassador Danny Danon to the podcast, as they discuss how he successfully championed Israel and her people in an environment that’s often hostile to the Jewish state. As Ambassador Danon shared with Yael, growing up, he was inspired by one guiding principle —if you want to make change happen, you have to be in a place where you can make a difference. As an adult, Ambassador Danon was able to make a difference in how the world viewed his beloved Israel from the world’s biggest stage possible — the United Nations. Ambassador Danon talks about the challenges he faced at the UN and other insights from his new book, In the Lion’s Den, a riveting behind-the-scenes recounting of his time at the UN. You won’t want to miss this conversation as Ambassador Danon shares with Yael his great love for his country, the need to build bridges with Israel’s neighbors, and his great friendship with America’s then-UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley. Listen today!
As a youngster, Danny Danon had a great interest in reading about the modern history of his country, Israel, and was inspired by the actions of the great men and women who had devoted their lives to make the Jewish state a reality. More than anything, he was inspired to take action when necessary.
“I started to be active at a very young age. I remember when I was about 11, I organized a demonstration against the Minister of Finance, who happened to be a neighbor of ours,” Ambassador Danon told podcast host Yael Eckstein. “There was a recession at the time and many people had lost their jobs. I told my friends we needed to do something about that.”
That desire to make a difference followed Ambassador Danon throughout his life, as he became more active in supporting Zionism and educating others about Israel. Prior to taking the post at the UN in 2015, Ambassador Danon served as a member of Knesset, Israel’s parliament, from the Likud party, and served as Knesset Deputy Speaker. He also served as the Minister of Science, Technology, and Space, Deputy Minister of Defense, and Chair of the Committee of Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs.
While at the UN, Ambassador Danon made history by becoming the first Israeli to lead a UN committee. He also served as vice president of the General Assembly for the 2017-2018 session and instituted numerous resolutions that changed Israel’s standing at the UN.
According to Ambassador Danon, he was able to prevail and succeed in an institution that is traditionally hostile to Israel – first, by setting the record straight on the truth about Israel, and second, by empowering and inspiring others to stand with Israel. Ambassador Danon said, “I was encouraged to understand the connection of the Jewish people to Israel, and I used our religion and our traditions as a tool, bringing in stories from the Bible when I made speeches. Some people might have said that it was not the way to handle diplomacy, but I proved them wrong. I proved that you can make friends, and people will respect you when you respect your heritage.”
During this episode of Conversations with Yael, Ambassador Danon also discusses his close friendship with Nikki Haley. “Ambassador Haley is a great friend of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. Together at the UN, we were able to play offense and we proved that you can win allies even in a place like the UN,” Ambassador Danon said.
“It was my honor to accompany Nikki Haley on her first visit to Israel. She saw first of all the beauty of our land and the history here, but most importantly, she saw the people of Israel and how grateful they were for her support and how much love she received here, “ Ambassador Danon said.
“You don’t realize that when you speak at the UN on behalf of Israel, you don’t realize that you are actually defending the people who live here, the people who fight here, and for that, we will always be grateful for her support.”