Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2015: President Reuven Rivlin eulogizes victims of Paris attack at Jerusalem Funeral — Transcript

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President Rivlin eulogizes victims of Paris attack

Source: MFA, 1-13-15
MFASummaryNew

Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe.

At the funeral ceremony today (13 January 2015) in Jerusalem, President Rivlin eulogized the victims of the terror attack on the kosher market in Paris:
“Dear families, Yoav, Yohan, Philippe, Francois-Michel, this is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel. This is not how we wanted you to arrive in the Land of Israel, this is not how we wanted to see you come home, to the State of Israel, and to Jerusalem, its capital. We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life.
At moments such as these, I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation.
Phillipe, you wanted to shop for the Sabbath, and what is more Jewish than preparing, shopping on a Friday, for the holy Sabbath day.
“My father is a hero”, wept Rafael, your son. “He was murdered, simply because he was a Jew.” What can we say to your dear wife Philippe? What can we say to your three young children, whose cries of ‘Daddy’ will be met with silence?
Francois-Michel, the apartment that you bought here in Israel, was ready for your arrival. You so wanted to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel), to live here with us. But you will never now be able to affix a mezuzah upon the doorpost of your home in Israel. “What man is there, who has built a new house and has not yet inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in battle,” as it is written in the Torah. But for you, the war came to you, and the murderer’s hand destroyed everything.
Yoav, you were here, just two weeks ago in Jerusalem, for the first time. You stood at the Western Wall, you were photographed wrapped in the Israeli flag. Today, you are here for the second, and the final time. As a Jewish hero, at one with us.
Yohan, you could have got away, escaped, you could have run – but you did not surrender. You fought with the murderer, to save the life a three year old boy. You succeeded in that, but paid with your life. Just twenty years old, and already a hero.
Dear families, people of Israel. Philippe Braham, Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada, were murdered on the eve of the Sabbath, in a kosher supermarket in Paris, in cold blood, because they were Jewish. The murderer made sure to be in a Jewish shop, and only then did he carry out the massacre. This was pure, venomous evil, which stirs the very worst of memories. This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life. In Paris, in Jerusalem, in Toulouse, and in Tel Aviv. In Brussels, and in Mumbai. In the streets, and in the synagogues. In the schools, and in the local market. In the train stations, and in the museums.
Like many, I watched the millions who marched in the streets of France. It was a demonstration of deep solidarity which warmed my heart. While the last weeks and months have proven, that terror does not discriminate between blood, we cannot escape the fact that this terrorism, explicitly targets the Jewish people. Those wearing tzitzit (the tasseled four cornered garment), those wearing kippot (skullcaps), those eating kosher food, praying in synagogues, ‘students of the Torah’.
It would be dangerous to deny that we are talking about anti-Semitism, whether old or new. Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe; in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels, or in Burgas.
We cannot allow it to be the case, that in the year 2015, seventy years since the end of the Second World War, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe with skullcaps and tzitzit. It cannot be allowed, that we should see in the news, frequent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, of Jews being beaten, and of synagogues and communities under attack. It is no longer possible to ignore or remain ambiguous, or to act weakly or with leniency against the rabid anti-Semitic incitement. Ignorance and violence will not simply go away on their own.
My brothers and sisters, members of the French Jewish community, we have in recent years witnessed a strengthening and a tightening of the vibrant and strong connection between the Jewish community of France, and the State and citizens of Israel. This strong and close bond finds expression in times of joy and grief, in good times and in bad.
We stood here together, and accompanied on their final journey, Miriam Monsonego, Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, and his infant children, Gavriel and Ariyeh. And just last summer, the people of Israel stood as one, as they laid to rest Jordan Ben-Simon, a ‘lone soldier’ from France. I met his parents, and his sisters. Special people, a family committed to a love for Israel, Jewish tradition, and a love for the State of Israel.
At these difficult times, I have learned how much we truly are one people. I understand how important it is that we stay together, close together, regardless of geographical distance. And today too, we are brothers, members of one family, with heads bowed, with tears of sorrow. A bond which cannot be unraveled by time or distance. A bond of spirit and blood.
Much has been said since the murders, on the issue of the immigration to Israel of French Jewry. My dear brothers and sisters, Jewish citizens of France, you are welcome. Our land is your land, our home is your home, and we yearn to see you settle in Zion.
However, returning to your ancestral home need not be due to distress, out of desperation, because of destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear. Terror has never kept us down, and we do not want terror to subdue you. The Land of Israel is the land of choice. We want you to choose Israel, because of a love for Israel.
Dear families, aside the graves of your loved ones, we promise that we will continue to fight for your right to live as Jews – wherever you may be. We will continue to fight for your right to open up proudly the synagogues, to educate your children in the study of Torah, a love for Israel, and a responsibility to the world around them.
Jewish blood is not worthless. Human blood is not worthless. The earth will not cover the blood, nothing will cure the pain. Here, between Jerusalem’s mountains, upon Har HaMenuchot, we lay to rest our brothers who have come from afar, our brothers, sons of France, but also sons of Jerusalem. May they be of blessed memory.”

PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the funeral
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s media Advisor)
[Translation]
We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.
Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.
I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people. They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.
I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.
And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.
Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.
Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.
Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.
May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2015: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Funeral of the Four Victims of the Terrorist Attack at the Hyper Cacher in Paris — Transcript

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Funeral of the Four Victims of the Terrorist Attack at the Hyper Cacher in Paris

Source: PMO, 1-13-15

יום שלישי כ”ב טבת תשע”ה

We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.

Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.

I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people. They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.

I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.

And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.

Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.

Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.

Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.

May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 11, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Great Synagogue of Paris — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Great Synagogue of Paris

Source: PMO, 1-11-15
יום ראשון כ’ טבת תשע”ה

On this day, all citizens of Israel and Jews around the world stand with France and the French people. I greatly appreciate the determined stance of the President of France, Francois Hollande, and Prime Minister Valls against any expression of anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism and against terror. This stance is important to France and it is important to the world.

I wish to convey my condolences to the families of the journalists and police and all those innocent people who were murdered while realizing their most basic rights: freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of belief, even the freedom not to believe. These are the values on which modern France is built and these are values that are worth fighting for.

Today I marched through the streets of Paris, in one line with leaders from around the world, in order to say that terror must end. It is time that we fight against terror together. And I would like to use this opportunity to salute the French security forces who acted with remarkable bravery, as well as to express my appreciation to the Malian, who is a Muslim, who helped save seven Jews.

My dear brothers and sisters, I came here from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, to share in your pain over the murders of Francois-Michel, Philippe, Yoav and of Yohan, who bravely tried to grab the terrorist’s gun and was fatally wounded. The memory of our four holy brothers will be forever engraved on the hearts of our people.

Unfortunately the people of Israel have experienced this pain. We have experienced it many times because we have been fighting against terror for many years, and like many in Israel, I am personally familiar with the wounds of terror as well as the agony of bereavement. As a soldier, I was wounded in an operation to free hostages who had been kidnapped on a Sabena airplane. My late brother, Yoni, was killed in Entebbe when rescuing the hostages kidnapped on an Air France airplane. For years, the best of our sons and daughters were killed in many terror attacks, and the finest of our fighters fell in heroic battles against terrorism, including just recently during Operation Protective Edge.

Today we bow our heads in memory of the victims in Paris. However, as representatives of an ancient and proud people, we stand tall against evil because we can overcome it. “The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” – because truth and justice are on our side. And here is the truth: Our shared enemy is radical Islam, not Islam and not just radicals – radical Islam. This form of Islam has many names: ISIS, Hamas, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, al-Shabab, Hezbollah; but they are all branches from the same poison tree.

Although the various factions of radical Islam are given to local bloody conflicts, including amongst themselves, they all share the same aspiration: To impose a dark tyranny on the world, to return humanity one thousand years to the past. They trample anyone who does not share their path, first and foremost their Muslim brothers, but their greatest hatred is saved for Western culture, that same culture that respects freedom and equal rights – all the things they so despise.

For this reason it is not a coincidence that radical Islam has sought to destroy Israel from the very day it declared its independence: Because Israel is the only Western democracy in the Middle East, because Israel is the only place that is truly safe for Christians, women, minorities, that respects all human rights.

Well, here is another truth: Radical Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because it is an organic part of the West. It rightly views Israel as an island of Western democracy and tolerance in an ocean of fanaticism and violence that it wishes to impose on the Middle East, Europe and the entire world.
Israel is not under attack because of this or that detail of its policies, but rather because of its very existence and nature. But we are not the only ones under attack. Look around you: The entire world is under attack, the entire world – the Twin Towers in New York, the subways in London and Madrid, tourists in Bali, students at schools in Russia and Pakistan, a hotel in Mumbai, the mall in Nairobi.

A very short path connects the issuing of the fatwa against the author Salman Rushdie, the murder of Theo van Gogh in Holland and the attacks on Jews in Israel and around the world – it is a short distance from this to the murderous attacks in Paris on the office of Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket not far from here. These are not isolated actions and we must see what they have in common. Otherwise we will not be able to fight against terror in methodical and consistent manner.

We must recognize that there is a global network of radical Islam at work – a network of hatred, fanaticism and murder. I believe that this threat will only grow larger when thousands of terrorists come to Europe from the killing fields of the Middle East. The danger will grow much greater and will become a serious threat to humanity at large if radical Islam gains control over nuclear weapons, and therefore we must use all means to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic weapon. We must support each other in this fateful struggle against radical Islamic fanatics wherever they are.

Israel stands with Europe and Europe must stand with Israel. As the civilized world today stands with France against terror, so must it stand with Israel against terror. It is the exact same terror. Those who slaughtered Jews in the synagogue in Jerusalem and those who slaughtered Jews and journalists in Paris belong to the same murderous terrorist movement. They should be condemned in the same measure and they must be fought in the same manner.

Only when the international community fights our shared enemy in a uniform manner will we know that we are on the path to victory. I promise you: Israel will continue to fight against terror. Israel will continue to defend itself and we know that when we defend ourselves, we defend the entire civilized world.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, Jews of France, I would like to say to you what I say to our Jewish brothers and sisters from all countries: You have the full right to live in safety and tranquility as citizens with equal rights wherever you wish, including here in France. But Jews of our time have been blessed with another right, a right that did not exist for previous generations of Jews: The right to join their Jewish brothers and sisters in our historic homeland, the Land of Israel; the right to live in our free country, the one and only Jewish state, the State of Israel; the right to stand tall and proud at the walls of Zion, our eternal capital of Jerusalem.

Any Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed with open arms and warm and accepting hearts. They will not arrive in a foreign land but rather the land of our forefathers. God willing, they will come and many of you will come to our home. Am Yisrael Chai.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 11, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Departure for Paris — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Departure for Paris

Source: PMO, 1-11-15
יום ראשון כ’ טבת תשע”ה

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, upon his departure for Paris, made the following remarks:

“I am going to Paris in order to participate in the rally, along with world leaders, for a renewed struggle against the Islamic terrorism that is threatening all of humanity, which I have been calling for for years. This evening I will attend a special rally, along with French President Francois Hollande, with the Jewish community in France. I will say there that any Jew who wants to immigrate to Israel will be received here with open arms.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 9, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement in Wake of the Terrorist Attacks in Paris — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement in Wake of the Terrorist Attacks in Paris

Source: PMO, 1-9-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to send our condolences to the French Jewish community and the French people who have suffered a murderous terrorist assault in the last few days. These attacks in Paris are the continuation of extremist Islam’s war against our free civilization, in the West, in the entire modern world and also in the moderate Arab states and among entire publics in the Islamic world. This is a wave of terrorism that is spreading a global net of hatred, fanaticism and murder. After establishing its bases in the Middle East, terrorism is now sending its arms throughout the world. If the world does not take action quickly, we will find this terrorism gaining momentum and increasingly striking at other centers of the free world and in other places.

The terrorist organizations of extremist Islam have many and varied names – Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Al Qaida, Nusra, Islamic Jihad and Boko Haram. They are all motivated by the same bloody hatred and the same fanaticism that knows no borders.

They want to take humanity 1,000 years backward to a dark tyranny that we freed ourselves from after many generations. They simply want to take humanity backward.

Further proof that these organizations are branches of the same poisonous tree may be seen in the fact that one of Hamas’s official organs praised the reprehensible murderers in Paris. It must be understood that this is a war against us all.

I am convinced that if we are united this terrorism will be unable to defeat us. But if we ignore the true root of the problem, if we ignore the fact that extremist Islamic terrorism seeks to exterminate Western civilization as a whole, including the Jewish People, if we ignore this – what we are now seeing in Paris will be only the beginning. These are not frightening words or prophecies of rage, this is the simple reality and the time has come to recognize it.

Last night I spoke with French Prime minister Manuel Valls and with French President Francois Hollande. I commended the determination with which the French authorities eliminated the terrorists, these murderers, and I also commended the courage of the French security services. But this is not enough. In order to fight terrorism, it is essential to strike at its sources of financing and at the centers of incitement that encourage these murderous acts throughout Europe. It is also essential to take action against countries that give support, shelter and passage to terrorism.

The first law is that it is forbidden to give in to the fear that it seeks to instil in us. In order to fight terrorism it is simply necessary to fight it. We express our deepest sorrow over the French citizens who were murdered, the journalists, the police officers and the innocent citizens who were murdered simply because they were citizens of the free world. We express our deepest sorrow over our Jewish brothers who were murdered simply because they were Jews. Our brothers and sisters in the French Jewish community, we grieve with you over the terrible loss. I would like to send condolences to the families of Yoav Hattab, Philippe Barham, Johan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada. We also send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all the wounded.

This evening, I spoke by telephone with Celine Shreki, who was a hostage in the kosher market in the heart of Paris; she is recovering. She told me about the terrorist’s inconceivable cruelty and of the heroism of the young Jewish man who attempted to seize his weapon and shoot him; he was shot by the terrorist and died about 45 minutes later.

To Celine and all French Jews, and to all European Jews, I would like to say: The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home. This week, a special team of ministers will convene to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism. All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state.”

Israel Musings January 5, 2015: American Historical Association (AHA) rejects anti-Israel resolutions at meeting

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American Historical Association (AHA) rejects anti-Israel resolutions at meeting

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Historians gathering at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting in New York City voted on Sunday evening, Jan. 4, 2015 against adding to their agenda a vote on two anti-Israel resolutions with an overwhelming vote of 144…READ MORE

Israel Musings January 1, 2015: Netanyahu overwhelmingly wins Likud’s primary ahead of Israel’s 2015 elections

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Netanyahu overwhelmingly wins Likud’s primary ahead of Israel’s 2015 elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retained his leadership position after the Likud Party primary held on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, winning as expected an overwhelming majority of the party votes. According to Israel Hayom with 99 percent of the polls…READ MORE

Israel Musings December 24, 2014: Netanyahu might be barred from running for prime minister in Israel’s elections

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Netanyahu might be barred from running for prime minister in Israel’s elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama, the European Union and United Nations nearly had their wish that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be the country’s prime minister after the March 17, 2015 early elections. On Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 17, 2014: PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Removal of Hamas from the EU List of Terrorist Organizations — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Removal of Hamas from the EU List of Terrorist Organizations

Source: PMO, 12-17-14

יום רביעי כ”ה כסלו תשע”ה
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement on the decision of the General Court of the European Union to remove Hamas from the European Union list of terrorist organizations:

“We are not satisfied with the European Union’s explanation that the removal of Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations is a ‘technical matter’. The burden of proof is on the European Union and we expect it to put Hamas back on the list forthwith given that it is understood by all that Hamas – a murderous terrorist organization, the covenant of which specifies the destruction of Israel as its goal – is an inseparable part of this list. We will continue to fight Hamas with strength and determination so that it never achieves this goal.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 15, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks in Rome about EU and Palestinians Aim for Statehood Israel Withdrawal — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks in Rome

Source: MFA, 12-15-14 

I very much appreciate the Secretary of State’s efforts to prevent a deterioration in the region. Attempts by the Palestinians and several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks (Monday, 15 December 2014) in Rome:

“I would like to send my condolences to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and to the Australian people over the loss of innocent life. International Islamic terrorism knows no borders; therefore, the struggle against it must be global.

This afternoon I met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. This was our first meeting since he was elected Prime Minister and it was very good. Israel and Italy have much in common and many joint interests and we decided to expand cooperation in very many areas and on all levels.

I come here from a serious conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry. We discussed a range of issues including Iran, Syria, the war against ISIS and others. Of course, we also discussed at length the Palestinian issue. I very much appreciate the Secretary of State’s efforts to prevent a deterioration in the region. I said that the attempts of the Palestinians and of several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation and will endanger Israel; therefore, we will strongly oppose this.”

Israel Musings December 7, 2014: Netanyahu makes last-ditch effort to form new coalition to avert elections

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Netanyahu makes last-ditch effort to form new coalition to avert elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made one last effort to form a new coalition government and avert early elections. On Saturday evening, Dec. 6, 2014 Netanyahu met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who also chairs the Yisrael Beytenu Party at…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 7, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the 11th Annual Saban Forum — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu addresses 11th Annual Saban Forum

Source: MFA, 12-7-14

Excerpts

While stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program is by far the most vital national security challenge we face, the unprecedented instability afflicting the entire region poses an enormous challenge for our common security as well. Violence and fanaticism are spreading throughout the Middle East.

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recorded remarks (Sunday, 7 December 2014) to the 11th Annual Saban Forum in Washington, DC:

The prestigious Saban Forum discusses so many of the important issues facing America and Israel today. And of these, none is more important to our common security than Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The November 24th deadline for an agreement has come and gone. That’s fortunate because a deal was not signed last month that would have effectively left Iran as a threshold nuclear power. And even though Israel isn’t part of the P5+1, our voice and our concerns played a critical role in preventing a bad deal. Now we must use the time available to increase the pressure on Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons capability.

While stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program is by far the most vital national security challenge we face, the unprecedented instability afflicting the entire region poses an enormous challenge for our common security as well. Where once seemingly coherent nations and clearly defined borders stood, we now see chaos – in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen and Lebanon.

The entire region is hemorrhaging. Violence and fanaticism are spreading throughout the Middle East, and ISIS’s savagery is merely one example of it. The collapse of the old order has made clear to pragmatic Arab governments that Israel is not their enemy. On the contrary, Israel and our moderate Arab neighbors have much to gain by cooperating. And this cooperation could, in turn, open the door to peace…

… Like the moderate Arabs, I want Israel to have peace with the Palestinians: a genuine peace, an enduring peace, a secure peace. I stress the word secure because for years I demanded that any peace agreement be founded upon robust security arrangements. That was always understood by Israelis, but I hope, I sincerely hope that it’s now better understood internationally for there can be no peace without real security and there can be no real security without a long-term IDF presence to provide it.

For nine months we negotiated with the Palestinians, but they consistently refused to engage us on our legitimate security concerns, just as they refused to discuss recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, while at the same time insisting that Israel recognize a nation-state of the Palestinian people.

The talks didn’t end because Israel announced that it would build apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem – neighborhoods that will remain a part of Israel under any conceivable peace agreement.

The talks ended because the Palestinians wanted them to end. The talks ended because President Abbas unfortunately chose a pact with Hamas over peace with Israel.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership is simply not prepared, and I hope this changes, but it’s not yet prepared to truly confront violence and fanaticism within Palestinian society, within their own ranks. The jihadist murderers in the tragic attack on the Har Nof synagogue were not focused on how many apartments Jews were building in Jerusalem. They were focused on killing Jews. After Secretary Kerry spoke with him, President Abbas condemned the Har Nof murderers, but still blamed Israel for their heinous actions. And Abbas remains in a political pact with those who celebrated the murder of the rabbis, three of whom were also American citizens.

Regrettably, the Palestinian leadership not only refuses to confront that extremism, at times, it even fuels it. It engages in incitement day in and day out. Just look at their webpages. Look at their websites – it’ll make your hair stand on end. And I think it’s important to confront this. I don’t think sticking our head in the sand promotes real peace and I don’t believe that false hopes promote real peace. I think they just push peace further away.

Real peace will only come with leadership that demands from the Palestinians to accept the three pillars of peace: one, genuine mutual recognition; two, an end to all claims, including the right of return; and three, a long-term Israeli security presence. Now, I will never give up on this triangle of true peace.

Israel seeks peace. I seek peace, but for peace we need a Palestinian partner willing to stand up to Palestinian extremists – as other Arab governments are now doing throughout the region. I hope that we will find such a partner – a partner who will recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, who will take our security concerns seriously, who will end all claims…

…Last week, we celebrated the 67th anniversary of the United Nations’ call for the establishment of the Jewish state. Today, we are proud that the Jewish people have achieved our national self-determination in a genuinely democratic state, one that guarantees equal rights for all its citizens, regardless of race, religion or sex – as promised in our Declaration of Independence. And this will not change. In standing up for Israel’s identity as the nation-state of the Jewish people, I will never agree to legislation that undermines Israel’s democratic character. Not now, not ever…

…The great bond between Israel and America is anchored in our shared democratic values and our friendship was demonstrated again over the summer when President Obama and the Congress provided Israel with that additional funding for Iron Dome, which has saved so many lives. And that friendship was demonstrated yet again last week when an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House followed the Senate in approving the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act. I thank our many friends from both parties in the House and the Senate who – like me -are committed to strengthening even further the US-Israel alliance.

Israel Musings December 3, 2014: Israeli Knesset votes sets election date after Netanyahu fires cabinet minister

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Israeli Knesset votes sets election date after Netanyahu fires cabinet ministers

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Israeli Knesset voted 84 to 0 with only one abstention on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 to dissolve the Knesset and set an election date for March 17, 2015. The vote comes a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired…READ MORE

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 3, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Fuel Choices Summit — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu addresses Fuel Choices Summit

Source: MFA, 12-3-14

This event has become the Nobel Prize for alternative fuels and it’s akin to the Nobel Prize for peace because the work that is being done here is meant to produce a cleaner, better and safer world.

I want to welcome all of you to this annual event. There are 140 guests here from 36 countries, seven auto-makers, energy companies, technology companies, including 130 Israeli startup companies.

We have here government ministers and officials from Israel and from around the world, researchers and scientists. I want to welcome the Chairman of Keren Hayesod, Moodi Sandberg; the Head of the National Economic Council, Professor Eugene Kandel; the Minister of Science, Yaakov Peri; the Director of Alternative Fuels Administration, Eyal Rosner.

I want to recognize and thank the benefactors of tonight’s prize, Eric and Sheila Samson; you are doing extraordinary, extraordinary work. And I want to also welcome the Chairman of the Prize Committee, Professor Yitzhak Apeloig.

This event has become the Nobel Prize for alternative fuels and it’s akin to the Nobel Prize for peace because the work that is being done here is meant to produce a cleaner, better and safer world. It will also have cheaper energy, more efficient energy, and that’s something that has [unclear] political consequences, environmental consequences and economic consequences.

Now since we’ve started this program, there has been a palpable change. I asked Professor Kandel how many startup companies did we have, how many companies did we have in Israel dealing in this field two-and-a-half years ago. The number was 45. Today with the startups and the established companies, that number is 200. It’s grown four-fold, four-fold in two-and-a-half years and I think that tells you, I think, everything. What we need of course is the collaboration between government, industry and academia.

I stress the importance of this collaboration and there is the flow of people from one sector to the other, but I think this is so valuable and so important. And it mirrors the changes that are taking place in the world.
We established last year here JAFA, the Joint Alcohol Fuel Alliance. It includes China, Brazil, Israel, Australia, US participants; and it’s advanced efforts to develop alcohol-based alternative fuels. And we’ve seen a lot of progress in related areas. We’ve seen natural gas in the US from shale. We’ve seen methanol in China, hydrogen in Japan, expanded use of electric and hybrid vehicles.

In this regard, I want to congratulate the two Samson Prize winners, Professor Michael Grätzel of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne; and Professor Thomas Meyer of the University of South Carolina. They have done, you have done ground-breaking research in the development of effective and inexpensive solar-based methods in order to convert solar energy into electricity, allowing solar energy to be harnessed for transportation.

I think this is one of the great challenges that face us. Now I know that people don’t really believe that our dependence on oil for transportation is surmountable. I beg to disagree. I’m convinced it is. It requires a continuous effort, continuous. It shouldn’t be subjected to the volatility in oil prices. It has to have a determined, long-term effort that the kind of things that we are doing here in this forum and that you are doing in your respective organizations requires. But it also requires feats of brilliance. It requires the leap of imagination and technology and science. Not everything moves incrementally. Sometimes it moves in rapid jumps, rapid climbs, what we call a step-function. And I think all of you are contributing to climbing those steps and I think it can be done.

I often give the example of the world’s dependence on salt. They had salt wars in the 19th century. Salt was the preservative for food. It was the indispensable commodity. The world depended on it. And one day, somebody invented refrigeration, and that dependence was gone, gone forever. I think the same can be done with our dependence on oil in transportation. It will give people a choice. It will give consumers freedom. It will give us cleaner air. It will give us a safer world.

I want to congratulate our two honorees for giving us a better future. Thank you and congratulations. Mazal Tov. Thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 30, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet on Jerusalem School Fire, New IDF Chief-of-Staff, and Illegal Migration Law — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 11-30-14

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting :

“We are making great efforts to restore calm and tranquility to Jerusalem. Of course, we will not tolerate attacks from any quarter and we will not tolerate setting fire to a bilingual school as we saw last night. We condemn any such attempt and we will act as vigorously – and with as much unity – as possible to restore quiet and law and order in all parts of the city.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and I consulted over the past week and decided to submit to the Cabinet the appointment of Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot as the next IDF Chief-of-Staff. Gadi is an experienced officer. He has gone through all levels of command and he will shoulder a very great security mission as the IDF operates in various sectors, with growing challenges. He will be assisted by the next IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, who is also among our most experienced and talented officers. I would like to thank Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh for his great contribution to the security of Israel. I think, Defense Minister Yaalon, that a way will be found to integrate him and his experience so that he might continue to contribute to the IDF and the security of Israel.

Of course, the security of Israel is conditional on the defense budget. We added NIS 6 billion to the defense budget. This supplement is essential in order to prevent vital IDF units from having to suspend operations and to enable them to function properly. This supplement must be carried out; it cannot be emptied of content, it cannot be cancelled due to its being reduced for other goals. It must be designated for the IDF and for strengthening the IDF.

Among our national responsibilities is defending our borders. Today, we are submitting to the Cabinet an amended illegal migration law. It fits the reality. It also fits the rulings of the High Court of Justice. I remind you that Israel has achieved the extraordinary – which I’m very proud of – in blocking illegal migration across our borders – zero illegal migrants. Part of this entails repatriating illegal migrants. This year we repatriated over 6,000 illegal migrants. This legislation is designed to enable us to continue this trend.

Today, we will also submit a unique law to the Cabinet, which will provide for the integration of up to 3% handicapped individuals in the public service. I think that this is a socially just law, a humanitarian law of the first order, and it shows the disabled that their disabilities need not prevent them from participating as equal members, and contributing as equals, in the public service of the State of Israel.

All of the foregoing are among the major tasks that are before us. In order to carry them out there needs to be government stability and proper administration. This is urgent for the citizens of Israel and also necessary for the State of Israel. To my regret, this is not what is happening here. Recently, hardly a day passes without us running into diktat or threats or threats of resignation or ultimatums and such as ministers attack the government and its prime minister. I hope that we will be able to return to proper conduct. This is what the public expects of us because only thus is it possible to run the country, and if not, we will draw conclusions.”

Israel Musings November 27, 2014: Concordia voting on BDS contradicts Canada’s staunch support for Israel

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Concordia voting on BDS contradicts Canada’s staunch support for Israel

Source: Times of Israel, 11-27-14
Concordia University’s student union in Montreal, Canada is deciding between Nov. 25 to 27, 2014 whether they will officially support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel…….READ MORE: Bonnie K. Goodman | The Blogs | The Times of Israel http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/bonnie-k-goodman/#ixzz3OUDz11ut

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 24, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks in the Knesset on Iran — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks in the Knesset on Iran

Source: MFA, 11-24-14

​PM Netanyahu: It is very important that this agreement has been prevented as of now, but a struggle is yet before us and we intend to continue this struggle in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state that would endanger us and others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks in the Knesset today (Monday, 24 November 2014):

“We are anxiously monitoring the nuclear talks with Iran. We are also using our contacts and expressing our views, directly as well, in the international media, in my contacts with the American administration and other heads of government, in Minister Steinitz’s contacts with various security elements, in contacts with ministers in these governments and in the work of the National Security Council.

“I think that an important thing happened today. We have always said that no agreement is preferable to a bad agreement and the agreement that Iran signed is a very bad and dangerous agreement for Israel, for the region and in my opinion for the future of the entire world.

“It is very important that this agreement has been prevented as of now, but a struggle is yet before us and we intend to continue this struggle in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state that would endanger us and others. Israel will always act on this matter and reserves its right to defend itself by itself.”

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 23, 2014: Basic Law: Israel – the National State of the Jewish people — Israel Jewish Nation State

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Basic Law: Israel – the National State of the Jewish people

Source: MFA, 11-23-14

The Cabinet discussed three versions of draft Basic Law: Israel – the National State of the Jewish people, that of MK Zeev Elkin, of MK Ayelet Shaked and MK Yariv Levin, and of MK Robert Ilatov.

The Cabinet decided to support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s draft principles.

The Cabinet decided to support, in preliminary Knesset discussion, the aforementioned three draft versions on condition that their sponsoring MKs agree that their draft versions would be attached to the Government version to be presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu, which will be formulated on the basis of the principles detailed in the annex below, and will be adapted to it. The Government draft will be formulated in coordination with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
Annex of Principles

I. Objective

Defining the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, and anchoring the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

II. Basic principles

The Land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and the place of the establishment of the State of Israel.

The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people in which the Jewish People realizes its right to self-determination in accordance with its cultural and historic heritage.

The right to realize national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.

The State of Israel is democratic, based on the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in light of the visions of the prophets of Israel, and upholds the individual rights of all its citizens according to law.

III. Symbols of the State

The national anthem is Hatikvah.

The national flag is white with two sky-blue stripes close to the margins and a sky-blue Star of David in the center.

The national emblem is a seven-branched menorah with two olive branches at its sides and the word ‘Israel’ below.

IV. Return

All Jews are eligible to immigrate to the country and receive citizenship of the state according to law.

V. Ingathering of the Exiles and Strengthening Links with the Jewish People in the Diaspora

The State will act to gather the exiles of the Jewish people and strengthen links between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

VI. Assistance to Jews in Distress

The State will act to assist Jews in distress and in captivity due to their being Jews.

VII. Heritage

The State will act to preserve the historical and cultural heritage and tradition of the Jewish people and to enshrine and cultivate it in the country and in the Diaspora.

All educational institutions that serve the Jewish public in the country will teach the history, heritage and tradition of the Jewish people.

The State will act to enable all residents of Israel, regardless of religion, race or nationality, to preserve their culture, heritage, language and identity.

VIII. Official Calendar

The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the State.

IX. Independence Day and Remembrance Day

Independence Day is the national holiday of the State.

Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Remembrance Day are the official remembrance days of the State.

X. Public holidays

The regular public holidays of the State of Israel are the Sabbath and the Jewish holidays on which no worker shall be employed except under conditions to be defined by law; members of recognized faiths shall be entitled to rest on their Sabbaths and holidays.

XI. Jewish Law

Jewish law shall serve as a source of inspiration for the Knesset

If a court shall consider a legal question that requires a decision and not find an answer in legislation, precedent or clear inference, it shall render a decision in light of the principles of freedom, justice, fairness and peace of the heritage of Israel.

XII. Maintaining the Holy Places

The Holy Places shall be guarded against desecration, any other damage and against anything that is liable to infringe on freedom of access by worshippers to the places that are holy to them or on their feelings toward those places.

XIII. Infringement of rights

There shall be no infringement of rights according to the basic laws except by law that befits the values of the State of Israel, that is designed for a worthy purpose and which does not exceed that which is required.

XIV. Amendment

The basic law shall not be amended except by a basic law that is approved by a majority of MKs.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 23, 2014: Excerpt from PM Bernjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the weekly Cabinet Meeting on Iran Nuclear Talks and Israel Jewish Nation State Bill – Transcript

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Excerpt from PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 11-23-14

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, today (Sunday, 23 November 2014):

“Last night US Secretary of State John Kerry updated me on the situation in the nuclear talks with Iran. We are anxiously monitoring developments in these talks. We are holding discussions with the representatives of other major powers and are presenting them with a vigorous position to the effect that Iran must not be allowed to be determined as a nuclear threshold state. There is no reason why it should be left with thousands of centrifuges that could enable it to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb in a short time. Neither is there any reason why Iran should continue to develop intercontinental missiles, which could carry nuclear warheads, and thereby threaten the entire world. Therefore, no agreement at all would be preferable to a bad agreement that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and all of humanity.

Over the weekend I instructed Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelbit, along with Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, to submit draft legislation to revoke rights from residents who participate in terrorism or incitement against the State of Israel. It cannot be that those who attack Israeli citizens and call for the elimination of the State of Israel will enjoy rights such as National Insurance, and their family members as well, who support them. This law is important in order to exact a price from those who engage in attacks and incitement, including the throwing of stones and firebombs, and it complements the demolition of terrorists’ homes, and helps to create deterrence vis-à-vis those who engage in attacks and incitement.

Today, I will submit to the Cabinet the nationality law and the principles that I believe need to guide this legislation. The State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish People. It has equal individual rights for every citizen and we insist on this. But only the Jewish People have national rights: A flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to the country, and other national symbols. These are granted only to our people, in its one and only state.

I hear from people who say ‘Who needs this law? We’ve managed without it for 66 years.’ And I ask: Who needed Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty? We managed without it for 45 years. But both are necessary. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. There are those who would like the democratic to prevail over the Jewish and there are those who would like the Jewish to prevail over the democratic. And in the principles of the law that I will submit today both of these values are equal and both must be considered to the same degree.

This law is also needed now for another reason: There are many who are challenging Israel’s character as the national state of the Jewish people. The Palestinians refuse to recognize this and there is also opposition from within. There are those – including those who deny our national rights – who would like to establish autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev. Neither do I understand those who are calling for two states for two peoples but who also oppose anchoring this in law. They are pleased to recognize a Palestinian national state but strongly oppose a Jewish national state.

On the eve of last Independence Day, I stood in the hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed in Tel Aviv and I promised to submit this legislation to the Cabinet and I am doing so today. I have not softened it and I have not changed anything. I have submitted the principles of the law that I believe in, the same principles that appear in the Declaration of Independence, the same principles that I absorbed in the Zionist sprit from my father, who absorbed them from Zeev Jabotinsky and from Binyamin Zeev Herzl.

Around the nationality law, and around other issues, I hear ultimatums, diktat and threats of quitting from various parts of the coalition; a country cannot be run this way. We must concentrate on strengthening security against waves of extremist Islam and the Iranian nuclear danger, on strengthening Israel’s economy and increasing citizens’ welfare – and not on threats. I believe that the heads of the parties in the coalition will unite and work in this spirit.”

Israel Musings November 19, 2014: Netanyahu looks for condemnation, unity after Jerusalem synagogue terror attack

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Netanyahu looks for condemnation, unity after Jerusalem synagogue terror attack

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After a terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue killed five and injured six and carried out by two Palestinians that occurred on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an evening press conference called for world condemnation…READ MORE
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