United Holy Land Fund raises $140,000 in one night
On Saturday, the United Holy Land Fund (UHLF) hosted its 47th annual fundraising dinner in Oak Lawn, Illinois, where it raised $140,000.
The packed event kicked off with a standing moment of silence “in honor of our fallen martyrs.” Emcee Saad Mally also gave a shout out to the “brave men and women who have reignited the intifada.” He spoke about UHLF’s dedication to developing educational and medical institutions in Palestine, including the organization’s rapidly growing scholarship fund. Similar remarks were reiterated in Arabic by the co-emcee, Majedu Hatu. These opening remarks were followed by recognition of individuals who have contributed to the growth and achievements of the UHLF.
An authentic Arabic meal was followed by the fundraising segment. The keynote speaker at the fundraiser was Dr. Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.
During his speech, he followed the theme of the night by focusing heavily on the importance of education. He discussed the high literacy and education rates in Palestine. Dr. Mansour also touched on the latest uprising, attributing it in part to the latest attack on Al Aqsa mosque, which he called a “symbol of our identity.” He went on to compare this latest intifada to the two preceding it, noting with pride the large number of women in the front lines of this uprising, as well as the increasing participation and leadership by youth. Dr. Mansour mentioned that he was pleasantly surprised by the militancy of the youth, as well as their intelligence, resourcefulness, creativity and nationalism.
He concluded on a positive note, stating that he believes this is the uprising that will lead to Palestinian liberation, “the last battle.”
Afterwards, Palestinian comedians Mona Aburmishan and Amer Zaher amused the audience as they each recounted anecdotes on growing up as Arabs in the US. They ended the night on a light note by poking fun at Arab American culture and the media’s portrayal of Arabs.
The UHLF is a Palestinian-American humanitarian organization established in 1968, which is dedicated to “helping the Palestinian people to be productive, peace loving and self sufficient in their own country by building, enhancing and nurturing their health, social economical, and educational institutions,” according to its mission statement.