WASHINGTON--When Israeli Amb. Michael Oren got a call from the White House to tell him Osama bin Laden was killed, Oren replied to his caller, "Mazel Tov." He told the story on Thursday night, at a celebration to mark Israel's 63rd birthday.
The reception comes before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's May 20 meeting with President Obama at the White House; he addresses Congress on May 24, where he is expected to discuss a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
The embassy booked the Andrew Mellow Auditorium near the National Mall for the event, drawing about 1,000; remarks were also delivered by White House budget chief Jack Lew, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
Also present: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
Pelosi told the crowd she was just back from a visit to Israel; when flying there from Qatar, Kuwait denied her aircraft permission to land, forcing the plane to touch down in Jordan instead.
And Pelosi did mention as she was wrapping up--her father was a shabbos goy--a term used to describe a non-Jew who helped Jews do tasks on Saturday--Shabbos--they would not be permitted to do.
Napolitano also had been in Israel, she said.
KIrk talked about the "great democracy from across the sea" ..."wrapping its arms around Israel."