Yeshiva University (YU) will award its highest honor for global leadership, the Presidential Medallion, to Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Daniel Gold, head of Israel’s Defense Research and Development Directorate (DDR&D-MAFAT) at the Defense Ministry.
YU will further bestow an honorary doctorate to Holocaust survivor, philanthropist, and visionary Emil Fish. Yeshiva University is the largest Jewish university in the world, based in Manhattan, New York.
The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 23, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Who is Dr. Daniel Gold?
Gold is one of the leading forces behind Israel’s defense and technology sector, overseeing all R&D, technology infrastructure, full-scale development and capabilities development, including special directorates (Space, UAVs, Missile/Rocket Defense, robotics/autonomous systems, AI/Cyber/Digital and Dual Use technologies).
Dr. Gold holds two Ph.D.s, is a four-time recipient of the Israeli Air Force Prize, a recipient of the Singapore Defense Technology Distinguished Fellowship Award and in 2012 was selected as “Man of the Year” by Forbes Magazine-Israel.
Dr. Gold was honored to light the torch during the opening ceremony of Israel’s Independence Day in 2015. He is also the founder of Iron Dome, the lifesaving air defense system that protects Israel from incoming missiles, which was selected in a national competition on the occasion of Israel’s 70th Anniversary as “The Most Innovative Israeli Technology” since the establishment of the state of Israel.
Gold said he is proud to join "the next generation of bright minds,” he said of YU students. “As Head of the Israel Ministry of Defense Research and Development Directorate (DDR&D-MAFAT), it is my privilege to witness what brilliant young people are capable of. Their creativity, innovation and drive result in cutting-edge technology developed thanks to their talent, but more importantly according to their values. The students [at YU] are receiving the tools and education they need to lead, and I look forward to their future accomplishments. It is an honor to be awarded the Presidential Medallion for global leadership from Yeshiva University, an excellent academic institution educating our future leaders."
Emil Fish survived the horrors of Bergen-Belsen and upon becoming a successful businessman in Los Angeles, dedicated himself to remembering the victims of the Holocaust. He founded YU’s Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which educates today’s teachers to effectively transmit the history and lessons of the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective — a vital need to combat the alarming rise of antisemitism and Holocaust distorters and deniers.
Upon receiving his honorary doctorate, Fish will mark Yeshiva University history as he will be joined at commencement by his daughter Monique who is earning a master’s degree in Holocaust studies and two grandchildren who will be awarded their bachelor’s degrees, representing an accomplishment of three generations receiving degrees simultaneously.
“Over my lifetime, I have seen not just a declining interest in the Holocaust, but a growing misrepresentation of what happened,” said Fish.
“When I approached Rabbi Berman with the idea of a Holocaust education center, he immediately mobilized Yeshiva University’s resources. YU has always stood up for what’s right for the Jewish people, and it continues to defend and uphold our values. I am deeply honored to receive an honorary doctorate from this extraordinary institution and celebrate the manifold successes of my family at our beloved university,” Fish added.
During the commencement ceremony, more than 1,700 degrees will be awarded to students across four undergraduate and eleven graduate schools and programs.
“This is truly a milestone — not just for our students, but for the Jewish people at large,” said YU President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman. “As the flagship Jewish university, honoring the innovation and leadership propelling the modern State of Israel, remembering the generations past and strengthening Holocaust education, and celebrating our students, the leaders of tomorrow, is not simply a graduation, it is the living story of Jewish destiny.”