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Caitlyn Jenner and Sean Spicer among winners at Jewish advocacy awards

Jenner was given the 'Champion of Israel' award

    Caitlyn Jenner with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
    Caitlyn Jenner with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (Photo: Dave Gordon)

    What do a soldier, a former athlete, and a US press secretary all have in common?

    According to the World Values Network (WVN), they are all – in their own way – defenders of values, human dignity and Israel.

    The US-based Jewish values advocacy group held its annual awards gala in New York’s Plaza Hotel on Thursday night, compered by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, with guests including Caitlyn Jenner, Sean Spicer and Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The Israeli Prime Minister accepted the WVN’s Elie Wiesel Award on behalf of his late brother Yoanatan, who was killed in the line of duty in Israel’s famous 1976 Entebbe rescue.

    In a pre-recorded video shown to the audience, Mr Netanyahu said: "Elie Wiesel showed such devotion to our people and showed that we control our destiny.

    "Elie spoke to the soul of our consciences.

    "He was a great warrior on the battlefield of conscience, and can inspire many of us on our own quests for justice.”

    Sharing the Elie Wiesel award with Yonatan Netanyahu was Taylor Force, a former US soldier who was killed in Tel Aviv stabbing incident in 2016.

    Rabbi Boteach with Congressman Ron DeSantis
    Rabbi Boteach with Congressman Ron DeSantis (Photo: Dave Gordon)

    Force’s family have been pushing for a law that would stop US payments to the Palestinian Authority.

    Separately, Florida congressman Ron DeSantis was recognised for his drive to convince Donald Trump to move the United States’ embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

    “At least in terms of the Embassy we can say, ‘This year in Jerusalem’,” Mr DeSantis said.

    Also among the winners was Sean Spicer, Mr Trump’s former press secretary, who was awarded the Friend of Israel Award.

    “We knew he was going to be a real friend who was going to get results,” Mr Spicer said of the president.

    “From day one, we knew that we were going to stop paying Palestinians so they would end up paying terrorists who kill Jews.”

    The former Olympic athlete, reality star and celebrity Caitlyn Jenner was honoured with the Champion of Israel and Human Rights Award.

    Jenner, who broke the decathlon Olympic record in Montreal in 1976, recounted at the age of 22 how she was able to see the Munich massacre from an adjacent dormitory.

    Donald Trump's former press spokesman, Sean Spicer
    Donald Trump's former press spokesman, Sean Spicer

    “I had been thinking about the Jewish community and how it has affected me several times in my life,” she said.

    Her father, William Jenner, was an American soldier during the Second World War and was part of the unit that liberated the Buchenwald death camp.

    Jenner recounted how she was still haunted by the pictures of the liberation that her father showed her.