Full Text Israel Political Brief August 29, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi

Source: PMO, 8-29-15

Italy, Benjamin Netanyahu
Our common civilization today is under threat from militant Islam and the savagery of the Islamic State of ISIS. But I believe that a far more serious threat is posed by the Islamic State of Iran, and specifically its pursuit of nuclear weapons.


PM Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi
PM Netanyahu meets Italian PM Matteo Renzi
Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Saturday, 29 August 2015), met with Italian Prime Matteo Renzi and told him at the start of their meeting:

Thank you, my good friend Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

I want to thank you for the extraordinary hospitality you’ve shown me and my wife and my delegation. And I have to tell you that your visit to Israel made a great impression. All the people of Israel were moved by your historic speech in the Knesset. I’ve heard many speeches in the Knesset. Yours was one of the exceptional ones that touched on basic truths that bind our two countries and our common civilization.

Equally, I was enormously impressed by my visit to the Milan Expo. It’s a testament to the creativity of the people of Italy and to your leadership. And I look forward to discussing with you this evening how we can further expand the cooperation between Israel and Italy in technology, in agriculture, in culture and science, in fighting terrorism, in security and stability for our world.

There is a simple rule that is absolutely critical for the future of our societies. The future belongs to those who innovate.

Italy has always been at the forefront of creativity. You only need to stand in this amazing hall next to the paintings of Vasari and the statues of Michelangelo to understand how creative and how powerful Italy has been over the centuries and today.

Israel in turn is a global hub of technology. And I think that together we can innovate more than separate, both for the benefit of our two peoples, but also for the benefit of other peoples. Specifically we discussed in Israel and I hope we’ll continue this tonight, how we can expand our cooperation in African countries that yearn for our expertise.

It’s a great pleasure for me to visit you in your home town of Florence. I think the first time we met, you came as Mayor of Florence, and Florence is clearly one of the world’s most magnificent cities. It has left an indelible mark on our common civilization.

That civilization today is under threat from militant Islam. The savagery of the Islamic State of ISIS captures the world’s attention, and justifiably so.

But I believe that a far more serious threat is posed by another Islamic state, the Islamic State of Iran, and specifically its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Let me make clear, Matteo, that Israel doesn’t oppose a civilian nuclear program in Iran. We oppose a military nuclear program in Iran.

And regrettably, the deal with Iran allows it to keep and expand a formidable nuclear infrastructure that is completely unnecessary for civilian nuclear purposes, but is entirely necessary for the production of nuclear weapons. The deal will give Iran within 13 years the ability to make as many centrifuges as they want, enrich as much uranium as they want to whatever level that they want. And this will put the Iranian Islamic state that practices terrorism worldwide, it will put it on the threshold of an entire nuclear arsenal.

But well before that, Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars of sanctions relief and investments to fuel its aggression and terrorism in the Middle East, in North Africa and beyond that. I think that this will make Iran far richer and far stronger militarily, and it will make it far more difficult to confront its nuclear ambitions in the future.

Prime Minister, Matteo, today your country and all of Europe face a wave of increasing illegal immigration. Thousands upon thousands flee the horrors of militant Islamic terrorism in Libya, across the Middle East and in Africa. This is a great tragedy and a great challenge.

We both want to see greater security in the Mediterranean region and beyond. We are committed to building a better world where our children can enjoy peace and prosperity. And I believe this is what the people of Israel and the people of Italy expect from us both. And this is what we shall discuss in the spirit of the wonderful and growing friendship between us. I believe we can help each other. I believe we can help Italy and Israel. I believe that together, we can help the world.

And I want to thank you once again for…well, it’s a warm friendship and a warm greeting. I didn’t expect it to be this warm, but it is extraordinary and your city is extraordinary. Thank you, thank you, Matteo, and thank you all. Thank you.”

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Full Text Israel Political Brief August 14, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Decides to Appoint Minister Danny Danon as Ambassador to the UN

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

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PM and Foreign Minister Netanyahu Decides to Appoint Minister Danny Danon as Ambassador to the UN

SopuPMO, 8-14-15
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon as Ambassador to the UN.

Minister Danon has dealt with public diplomacy and international relations for over two decades. An MK since 2009, he has participated in numerous public diplomacy missions in recent years. He has served as Chairman of World Likud for the past nine years and is responsible for the Likud’s foreign liaison and public diplomacy activity. He previously served as the Jewish Agency emissary in Florida and as such was engaged – inter alia – in encouraging immigration to Israel and in public diplomacy activity at US universities.

Danon graduated magna cum laude from Florida International University with a BA in International Relations and received an MA in Public Administration from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Danon is 44, married and the father of three.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Minister Danon has accepted the important challenge I have assigned him. The UN is an important forum right now and I am convinced that Danny will fight with all his power to present the truth in the international arena.”

Minister Danny Danon: “I thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the trust he has given me to represent Israel at the UN during this challenging period. I will do everything to advance the State of Israel’s just positions.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 13, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Press Conference on the Natural Gas Outline Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Press Conference on the Natural Gas Outline

Source: PMO, 8-13-15
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Thursday, 13 August 2015), made the following remarks at the start of a press conference on the natural gas outline, in which National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz also participated:

“First of all, I would like to thank Minister Yuval Steinitz for leading the work, Professor Sheshinski, Amir Levy, Morris Dorfman, Professor Eugene Kandel, Alex Warshavsky and all those who shared in this difficult and important work.

The outline that has been achieved puts the interests of the State of Israel at the center. It puts the citizens of Israel, Israeli industry, the Israeli economy and Israeli society at the center. I thank Minister Steinitz and this team for reaching an agreement that will bring Israel’s citizens hundreds of billions of shekels in the coming years, hundreds of billions of shekels. This money will serve us in health, education and social welfare.

The gas that will flow to Israel will also lower the cost of living because gas is an energy that is significantly cheaper than others; therefore, this will help us lower the cost of living. It costs less to work with gas. Prices will be lower. This is of unparalleled importance. And, of course, this will also help us in developing industry and the periphery and will thereby help to create new jobs, growth, a lower cost of living, employment, energy security, and a cleaner environment – we do not want to pollute the environment. This is cheaper and cleaner energy.

There is every reason to do this. There is every reason to adopt this outline. We will not get into populism; I said so at the outset. We will extract the gas from the seabed and we will bring it to the State of Israel. I am certain that after every possible inquiry, a majority of Israel’s citizens will be convinced that the outline we have reached is a good outline for the State of Israel.

I will submit this outline to the Cabinet on Sunday. I am certain that we will pass it by a large majority, and rightly so, and we will move forward with it for the benefit of the Israeli economy and Israel’s citizens.

Again, I thank my friends here, everyone, but especially you Yuval. You did good and important work for the State of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 4, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Appoints Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Appoints Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy

Source: PMO, 8-10-15
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy. She is a former member of the Italian Parliament, a member of European Friends of Israel and a founding member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. In 2011, she was elected Chairperson of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians.

She has published ten books in Italian and two in English. She moved to Israel in 2013 and received Israeli citizenship. Upon her appointment as Ambassador to Italy, she will renounce her Italian citizenship.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I am convinced that Fiamma Nirenstein will bring with her to the position her considerable diplomatic and political experience, and will succeed in deepening relations between Israel and Italy, our close friend, including in the diplomatic, economic, cultural and security spheres. The connection between Jerusalem and Rome is over 2,000 years old. I am pleased to send Fiamma Nirenstein to strengthen this link.”

Fiamma Nirenstein: “I am happy to accept this mission that the Prime Minister has set before me, to strengthen relations between Israel and Italy. I promised the Prime Minister that I would do everything in my ability to strengthen the brave links between the two countries.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 4, 2015: PM Netanyahu’s Address to the Jewish Federations of North America Trab

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PM Netanyahu’s Address to the Jewish Federations of North America

Source: PMO, 8-4-15

Following is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the Jewish federations of North America:

Thank you.

It’s good to be with you today.

I want to thank our hosts, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents.

And I want to thank all of you for taking the time in the middle of a busy day.

Our time today is short, so I’d like to get right to the point.

I want to talk with you about three fatal flaws in the nuclear deal with Iran.

And I also want to dispel some of the misinformation and, regrettably I have to say, the disinformation about the deal and about Israel’s position.

I want to answer some of your important questions.

The most important point I have to make today is this:

The nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb.

It actually paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

Worse, it gives Iran two paths to the bomb.

Iran can get to the bomb by keeping the deal or Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

First let’s understand how Iran gets to the bomb by keeping the deal.

See, the deal allows Iran to maintain and eventually expand a vast and increasingly sophisticated nuclear infrastructure.

This infrastructure is unnecessary for civilian nuclear energy, but it’s entirely necessary for nuclear weapons.

Astonishingly, the deal gives Iran’s illicit nuclear program full international legitimacy.

If Iran keeps the deal, in a decade or so – at most 15 years – the main restrictions on this vast nuclear program will expire. They’ll just end.

The deal’s limitations on the number of centrifuges Iran has and on the quantity of uranium Iran enriches, those restrictions will be lifted.

And at that point Iran will be able to produce the enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and it could produce that arsenal very quickly.

After 15 years, Iran’s breakout time will be practically zero, just a few days.

I think President Obama said as much in an interview with NPR.

By keeping the deal Iran will become a threshold nuclear weapons power.

The deal does make it harder for Iran to produce one or two nuclear weapons in the short term.

But it does so at a terrible price.

Because the deal makes it far easier for Iran to build dozens, even hundreds of nuclear weapons in a little over a decade.

Now, 10 to 15 years pass in no time.

I think it was like yesterday and I remember this very well, all those preparations for the Y2K bug and the celebrations of the new millennium.

That was 15 years ago. It’s a blink of an eye.

We’re told that this deal buys us time, but 10 to 15 years is no time at all.

So by keeping the deal, Iran can get within a decade or so not just to one bomb, but to many bombs.

But Iran has a second path to the bomb, one that would give it a nuclear weapon in far less time.

You see, Iran could violate the deal.

And there’s good reason to think that Iran will do so, that it will cheat.

They’ve done it before. They’ll do it again.

Now, people don’t really contest that, but they argue that Iran will be prevented from cheating because we’ll have good intelligence and unprecedented inspections.

Well, let me start with intelligence.

I have the greatest respect for Israel’s intelligence capabilities.

I have the greatest respect for the intelligence services of the United States and Great Britain.

But it has to be said honestly. For years none of us discovered the massive underground nuclear facilities Iran was building at Fordo and at Natanz.

For years none of us discovered that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor for plutonium production.

So I can tell you from experience, it’s very precarious to bet the deal’s success on intelligence.

Now what about inspections?

Neither intelligence nor inspections prevented North Korea from building atomic bombs despite assurances that they wouldn’t be able to do so.

And while the deal with Iran allows for ongoing inspections of Iran’s declared sites, what about Iran’s secret nuclear activities?

See, under the deal, if a facility is suspected of housing a hidden nuclear activity, inspectors must wait at least 24 days – that’s 24 days! – before getting access to those suspected sites.

Not only that, the inspectors must first share with Iran the critical intelligence that led them to suspect these sites in the first place. That’s actually astounding.

Some have said that 24 days is not long enough to conceal evidence of illicit nuclear activity.

But as leading experts have pointed out, 24 days is more than enough time to clean up a site of all traces of illicit activity.

It’s like the police giving a drug dealer three and a half weeks’ notice before raiding his lab.

Believe me, you can flush a lot of nuclear meth down the toilet in 24 days.

I’ve heard the claim that the deal blocks Iran’s covert path to the bomb.

But no matter how good your intelligence is, no one can credibly make such a claim.

How can you block what you don’t know?

So Iran can keep the deal or Iran can cheat on the deal.

Either way the deal gives Iran a clear path to the bomb, a difficult path to one or two bombs today and a much easier path to hundreds of bombs tomorrow.

Now, here’s the thing – everybody in the Middle East knows what I’ve just said.

And the countries in the region threatened by Iran have already made clear that they will work to develop atomic bombs of their own.

So the deal that was supposed to end nuclear proliferation will actually trigger nuclear proliferation. It will trigger an arms race, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the most volatile part of the planet.

That’s a real nightmare!

But the deal’s dangers don’t end there.

See, the deal gives Iran also a massive infusion of cash and Iran will use this cash to fund its aggression in the region and its terrorism around the world.

As a result of this deal, there’ll be more terrorism.

There will be more attacks.

And more people will die.

It’s been said that most of the money that Iran will get will not go to Iran’s terrorism and aggression.

Well, let’s suppose that’s true.

Let’s suppose that Iran just takes 10% of the money for terrorism.

That’s 10% of nearly half a trillion dollars that Iran is expected to receive over the next 10 to 15 years. That’s a staggering amount of money.

And that would turn any terrorist group sponsored by Iran into a terrorist superpower.

So for all these reasons –

Iran’s two paths to the bomb and the cash jackpot Iran stands to receive –

For all these reasons, this is a very dangerous deal, and it threatens all of us.

My solemn responsibility as Prime Minister is to make sure that Israel’s concerns are heard.

It wasn’t long ago, certainly not that long ago, that the Jewish people were either incapable or unwilling to speak out in the face of mortal threats, and this had devastating consequences.

I’ve been very clear – the days when the Jewish people could not or would not speak up for themselves, those days are over.

Today we can speak out. Today we must speak out.

And we must do so together.

Here in Israel, Isaac Herzog, the Leader of the Labor Opposition, the man who ran against me in this year’s election and who works every day in the Knesset to bring down my government, Herzog has said that there is no daylight between us when it comes to the deal with Iran.

This is simply not a partisan issue in Israel.

Sure, some people disagree, but overwhelmingly across the political spectrum, a huge majority of Israelis oppose the deal.

So this is not a partisan issue in Israel.

It shouldn’t be a partisan issue in the United States either.

Nor is it a personal issue.

This isn’t about me.

And it’s not about President Obama.

It’s about the deal.

I’m asking you to rise above partisan politics as we in Israel have risen above it.

Judge the deal on its substance and on its substance alone.

The more people know about the deal, the more they oppose it.

And the more people know about the deal, the more the deal’s supporters try to stifle serious debate. They do so with false claims and efforts to delegitimize criticism.

Yet there’s one claim that is the most outrageous: that those who oppose this deal want war.

That’s utterly false.

We in Israel don’t want war. We want peace. Because it’s we who are on the front lines.

We face Iran’s terror on three borders. We face tens of thousands of Iranian rockets aimed at all our cities. We face Iran, whose regime repeatedly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

We face Iran whose terrorist proxies try to kill Jews every day.

We know that Iran is not only the leading state sponsor of terrorism, it’s also the leading state sponsor of anti-Semitism.

Israelis are going to be the ones who pay the highest price if there’s war and if Iran gets the bomb.

The claim that we oppose this deal because we want war is not just false. It’s outrageous.

Israel wants to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and Israel wants peace. This deal will advance neither goal.

I don’t oppose this deal because I want war.

I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war, and this deal will bring war.

It will spark a nuclear arms race in the region and it would feed Iran’s terrorism and aggression. That would make war, perhaps the most horrific war of all, far more likely.

Don’t let the deal’s supporters quash a real debate.

The issue here is too important.

Don’t let them take your voice away at this critical moment in history.

What we do now will affect our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren – in Israel, in America, everywhere.

This is a time to stand up and be counted.

Oppose this dangerous deal.

Thank you.

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