Full Text Israel Political Brief June 3, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Robert Nicholson

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PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

Source: MFA, 6-3-15

Canada, led by Prime Minister Harper, is always stalwart and tells the truth. And we think that this is a refreshing wind in an increasingly hostile environment, hostile to the truth.
PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

 PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Wednesday, 3 June 2015), met with Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson and told him at the start of their meeting:

“Rob, welcome to Jerusalem.

Our friendship, the friendship between Canada and Israel, is a model of the partnership between two democracies, exemplary democracies. Israel values the support, unstinting, unfaltering, of Canada in an international environment that is often marked by cynicism and double talk. Canada, led by Prime Minister Harper, is always stalwart and tells the truth. And we think that this is a refreshing wind in an increasingly hostile environment, hostile to the truth.

As an example, a national student group in Britain voted to support a boycott of Israel. This is less than a year after they refused to support a boycott of ISIS. They boycott Israel but they refuse to boycott ISIS. That tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement. They condemn Israel and do not condemn ISIS; they condemn themselves.

Israel has an exemplary democracy. We have academic freedom, press freedom, human rights. ISIS tramples human rights to the dust. It burns people alive in cages and the national student groups in Britain refuse to boycott ISIS and have boycotted Israel. It tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement.

At the same time, in the UN, we’ve seen Turkey and Iran vote to give Hamas affiliate status – Hamas. Hamas fires rockets on our cities while hiding behind Palestinian civilians, hiding behind Palestinian children. It tells you about international hypocrisy a lot.

I stress these points, Rob, because Canada stands out so clearly and so powerfully against these distortions of truth and distortions of justice, and I want to express the feeling of the people of Israel that we believe we have no better friend than Canada. We value that partnership. It was exemplified last week, two weeks ago, in the vote of Canada, alongside the United States and Great Britain, in rolling back the attempt to single out Israel in the NPT votes. That is deeply appreciated here.

So we welcome you here in challenging times, sometimes perilous times, but in days when we know that the best defense against the democracies, the attack on the democracies, is the partnership of democracies, as exemplified by our two countries.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 31, 2015: PM Netanyahu’s Condolences to the Biden Family on the death on Beau Biden

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PM Netanyahu’s Condolences to the Biden Family

Source: PMO, 5-31-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his statement at the end of his meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier:

“I would like to offer Israel’s sincere condolences to my good friend Vice President Joe Biden on the passing of his son Beau. Vice President Biden spoke many times to me about Beau over the years, we’ve known each other for many, many years. And in his all too short life, Beau Biden achieved a great deal, and gave so much. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the entire Biden family at this difficult time.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 31, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks to Celebrate Israel 2015 in New York

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks to Celebrate Israel 2015 in NY

Source: PMO, 5-31-15
PM Netanyahu’s Greetings to ‘Celebrate Israel 2015 Parade’ in NY:

Our dear friends,
I salute you for saluting Israel.
Israel has no greater friend than America.
America has no greater friend than Israel.
I salute you from Jerusalem, the capital of our people for 3,000 years and the united capital of Israel for the last 48 years.
I send warm greetings to the thousands of you honoring Israel at the 2015 Celebrate Israel Parade.

You have gathered to express your solidarity with the one and only Jewish state. And in so doing, you are sending a powerful message of support for the essential justice of Israel’s cause.
In this turbulent region of the middle east, where countries are imploding, militant Islam runs rampant, terrorists butcher the innocent and human rights are routinely trampled upon, Israel stands out as a beacon of freedom and human rights, as a model of tolerance and diversity and as the one country in which the equal rights of all citizens are fiercely protected under the law.
So as y
ou salute Israel today in the streets of Manhattan, know that you are standing up for what is right and what is just.
Thank you. God bless you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 17, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Official Jerusalem Day Ceremony Marking 48 Years since the Unification of Jerusalem

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Excerpt from PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Official Jerusalem Day Ceremony Marking 48 Years since the Unification of Jerusalem

Source: PMO, 5-17-15

“Islamic fanaticism threatens Jerusalem, the Middle East and the entire world: Sunni fanaticism, such as that of Islamic State, and the Shi’ite extremists led by the Ayatollahs in Tehran. Extremist Sunni and Shi’ites are fighting each other but they have a common enemy – the West and the culture of freedom and progress that it represents. Only last night, after vigorous action by the US against the terrorism of Islamic State, the leader of Iran, Khamenei, attacked the US and said: It is the United States, so said the man who is heading the negotiations between Iran and the major powers, that is causing and supports terrorism. These words were said when Iran still does not have nuclear weapons and it is still not too late to go back on the plan to give Iran a deal that would pave for it a certain path to nuclear weapons. We oppose this deal and we are not the only ones who do so. It is both necessary and possible to achieve a better deal because extremists cannot be allowed to achieve their aims, not in Iran, not in Yemen and not in Jerusalem.”

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בעצרת הממלכתית בגבעת התחמושת לציון 48 שנים לאיחוד ירושלים

17/05/2015
יום ראשון כ”ח אייר תשע”ה
צילום: קובי גדעון, לע”מ לחץ להגדלה

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

נשיאנו, ראובן ריבלין ורעייתו נחמה,
סגן יו”ר הכנסת, חבר הכנסת נחמן שי,
המשנה לנשיאת בית המשפט העליון, השופט אליקים רובינשטיין, גם הוא איש ירושלים,
שרים, חברי כנסת,
ראש עיריית ירושלים, ניר ברקת,
יו”ר הסוכנות היהודית, נתן שרנסקי,
המפכ”ל, יוחנן דנינו,
מפקד פיקוד המרכז, האלוף רוני נומה,
מפקדים ולוחמי צה”ל,
משפחות יקרות,

לפני 48 שנים נתאחו קרעיה של בירתנו ירושלים, והיא שבה להיות עיר שחוברה לה יחדיו. חלוקתה גרמה לניוונה – איחודה הביא לפריחתה. ועל כן ירושלים לא תהפוך עוד לעיר פצועה ומבותרת; אנחנו נשמור לעד על ירושלים מאוחדת בריבונות ישראל.

במעמד זה אנו מרכינים ראש לזכרם של חללי צה”ל במלחמת ששת הימים, ובתוכם הנופלים בקרבות להגנת ירושלים ולשחרורה. אין עתיד בלי תקווה, ואין תוחלת לאומה בלי הנכונות להקרבה. וההקרבה שהייתה בעיר הזאת, בגבעה הזאת, השאירו חותם של מופת לדורות של לוחמים. לא בכדי המתגייסים הטריים לצבא הגנה לישראל מירושלים באים למקום הזה. הייתה לי הזכות לפני כמה חודשים, יחד עם רעייתי, ללוות את בננו שהתגייס להיות לוחם בצה”ל והתרגשנו מאוד, מטבע הדברים – כמו שאר ההורים שהיו כאן – מהיום, אבל גם התרגשנו מהמקום.

אני רוצה לומר לכם, בני המשפחות השכולות, שאני יודע את עומק כאבכם ואני שותף ליגונכם. פצעי האובדן חתומים בבשרכם. אם יש גמול ונחמה על הקורבן היקר – הם טמונים בהכרה של העם כולו לגיבורינו שבזכותם נחלצה ישראל מסכנה קיומית. בני דורי זוכרים היטב את שש היממות שהסירו את לולאת החנק מצווארה של המדינה. אבל לא פחות מכך חקוקים בנו ימי החרדה וההמתנה הדרוכה שקדמו למלחמה.

כולנו ידענו שגורלה של ישראל מונח על כפות המאזניים. קמנו כאיש אחד, התלכדנו, אזרנו עוז, והדפנו את אויבינו שסגרו עלינו בשלוש חזיתות. אין מלחמה צודקת ומוסרית מהמערכה הזאת, שבה התגלה רצון-החיים של עם ישראל במלוא עוצמתו. גולת הכותרת של הניצחון המזהיר הייתה ירושלים. במשך 19 שנים, מאז מלחמת העצמאות, היא הייתה עיר שסועה, סגורה מכל עבר, חנוקה.
יש פה הרבה צעירים, אז אני מזמין אתכם לדבר עם ותיקי ירושלים, בראשם הנשיא ריבלין וגם אנוכי, מי כמונו זוכרים זאת. תשמעו מאיתנו על שטחי ההפקר, על סכנת צליפה מצלפי הלגיון שעל החומות, על קירות הבטון שהגנו על עוברים ושבים בלב העיר מסכנת הירי, על גדרות תיל, ביצורים, מכשולים ושלטים שעליהם כתוב: “עצור, גבול לפניך”.

אני זוכר את זה היטב משכונת ממילא, ששם היה משרדו של אבי ז”ל. ואני זוכר גם את מעבר מנדלבאום. על נגישות לעיר העתיקה בכלל לא היה על מה לדבר. מעמדות התצפית שסמוכות לקו שחצה את הבירה – בהר ציון, באבו תור, על גג מנזר נוטרדם, ניסינו להביט במשקפות מאולתרות על “העיר האסורה”. תמיד הרגשנו שמשהו חסר, תמיד הייתה עננה בלתי-נראית תלויה מעל ראשינו.
כך הייתה ירושלים, וכל זה השתנה בבת אחת לפני 48 שנים. כאן, בגבעת התחמושת, התחולל קרב גבורה מכונן בין תעלות קשר, מחסני נשק ובונקרים. שני דורות לפני שחיילינו התמודדו בגבורה עם איום המנהרות של החמאס במבצע “צוק איתן”, היו התעלות הללו כאן סמל לנחישות ולהקרבה של לוחמי ישראל. ובמרחק של כשני קילומטרים מכאן התהווה הסמל האחר של הלחימה בירושלים, ואני זוכר את הרגעים ששמענו: ‘נכנסנו לעיר העתיקה’.

אני זוכר את הדברים של מוטה גור שהרטיטו את נימי הנפש של כולנו, אני זוכר צנחנים קשוחים שהתרפקו בדמעות על אבני הכותל המערבי. כל אחד מהם הרגיש שהוא נושא על גופו לא רק נשק וקסדה – אלא גם מטען היסטורי עצום של כיסופי הדורות לציון. ביום שחרור ירושלים הגיעה האחדות בעם לפסגות חדשות – בארץ ובתפוצות. המחיצות שנפלו בלבה של ירושלים, נפלו גם בתוכנו. גלים עצומים של הזדהות ושל רגש עמוק שטפו אותנו. הם הביאו להתעוררות ציונית אדירה בכל העולם, גם מעבר למסך הברזל, ולזינוק משמעותי בשיעורי העלייה לארץ.
ואכן, “היום השביעי” שלאחר המלחמה היה מסעיר לא פחות מקודמיו: שחררנו את ירושלים, ירושלים שחררה אותנו. מעיר מכווצת שהקיום בה מנוגד לחיים נורמליים – ירושלים נפתחה למרחב. היא הולכת ונבנית בתנופת פיתוח אדירה, וצדקת הנשיא כשאמרת: תנופת הפיתוח הזו חייבת לכלול גם את מזרח העיר.

אמר הנביא ישעיהו: “הִנְנִי יִסַד בְּצִיוֹן אָבֶן, אֶבֶן בֹּחַן”. ירושלים היא אכן אבן בוחן. היא מעמידה אותנו במבחן – עד כמה אנחנו נכונים להיאחז בה ולשמור עליה. בשנה האחרונה ידענו מעשי טרור חמורים בירושלים – בראשם הטבח המזעזע במתפללי בית-הכנסת בשכונת הר נוף, פיגועי דריסה קטלניים, דקירות בסכינים וידויי אבנים שנועדו לפצוע ולהרוג. גם ביום הזה יש מי שמנסה לאתגר אותנו בירושלים, ואני שולח מכאן איחולי החלמה לשוטרים, ואני משבח את שוטרי משטרת ישראל על כל פעולתה לשמור על ביטחון ירושלים, על ביטחוננו. לא נשלים עם הטרור. נרדוף את מחולליו עד חורמה. נילחם בהסתה שנובעת מהתכחשות אויבינו לזיקה ההיסטורית שלנו לירושלים, לעומק שורשינו, למורשתנו. הם מבינים שירושלים היא נקודת המוקד של הזהות שלנו. יש לנו איתה ברית בת אלפי שנים. כשיהודי אומר “ירושלים” – במלה הזאת מקופלים כל תולדותינו, חלומותינו וערכינו.
ומי מתנגד להימצאותנו בירושלים? מי שמסרב להכיר בזכותנו להתקיים כעם ריבוני במדינתנו. הם רואים בנו נטע זר שצריך לעקור אותו מכאן. אנחנו נטע זר? ציטטתי לפני כמה דקות את הנביא ישעיהו, איש ירושלים, הוא ונביאי ישראל ניבאו בירושלים, מלכי ישראל, מלכי יהודה מלכו בירושלים. צריך לומר את האמת, בלי מורא: ירושלים הייתה מאז ומעולם בירתו של העם היהודי בלבד, ולא של שום עם אחר. כאן החלה דרכנו כאומה, זהו ביתנו ופה נישאר. בד בבד, אנחנו דואגים לכך שירושלים תישאר עיר פתוחה וסובלנית. רק תחת שלטון ישראל נשמר בירושלים חופש הפולחן של בני הדתות, כל הדתות. מאמיניהם מתפללים במקומות הקדושים להם – לא חרף שליטתנו בעיר, אלא דווקא בגלל שליטתנו בעיר.

הקנאות האיסלאמית מאיימת על ירושלים, על המזרח-התיכון, על העולם כולו. הקנאות של הסונים הקיצוניים דוגמת דאע”ש, ושל השיעים הקיצוניים בהנהגת האייתוללות בטהראן. הסונים והשיעים הקיצוניים נלחמים זה בזה, אבל יש להם אויב משותף – המערב ותרבות החופש והקדמה שהוא מייצג. רק אמש, אחרי פעולתה הנחושה של ארצות-הברית נגד הטרור של דאע”ש, תקף מנהיג איראן חמינאי את ארצות הברית ואמר: ארצות הברית – כך אומר האיש שעומד בראש המשא ומתן בין איראן למעצמות – היא-היא המחוללת והתומכת טרור. הדברים הללו נאמרים כשעדיין אין לאיראן נשק גרעיני, ועדיין לא מאוחר לחזור מהתוכנית לתת לאיראן עסקה שתסלול עבורה דרך בטוחה לגרעין.

אנחנו מתנגדים לעסקה הזאת, ואנחנו לא היחידים שמתנגדים לה. צריך ואפשר להשיג עסקה טובה יותר, כי אסור לתת לקיצונים להשיג את מבוקשם, לא באיראן, לא בתימן, לא בירושלים. ירושלים נמצאת באחת מתקופות הזוהר הגדולות שלה. אנחנו מוסיפים לבנות ולטפח אותה, להרחיב את שכונותיה, ויש לנו עוד הרבה מה לעשות ולשפר בכל חלקי העיר למען כל תושביה. אנו מקימים בה פנינות חן תרבותיות, ואדוני ראש העיר, אתה עושה כאן עבודת קודש. אנחנו מקימים בה את הספרייה הלאומית החדשה והקריה לארכיאולוגיה של ארץ-ישראל.

תסתכלו סביבכם, ירושלים – מנופים סביב לה. כל מי שמגיע משער הגיא לבירה רואה שאנחנו חוצבים באבן, מרחיבים את כביש 1, משדרגים נתיבים, מניחים מסילות רכבת. המהפכה שמתחוללת במעמד ירושלים – בתוך העיר ובסביבתה – רק תלך ותגבר בשנים הבאות. יותר מאשר בכל זמן אחר, ביום המיוחד הזה ברור לנו שירושלים המחולקת היא זיכְרון עבר. העתיד שייך לירושלים השלמה שלא תחולק עוד – עיר שהיא “כְּלִילַת יֹפִי, מָשׂוֹשׂ לְכָל הָאָרֶץ”.
חג שמח לתושבי ירושלים, חג שמח לכל עם ישראל.

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 15, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at first meeting of the 34th Government

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s remarks at first meeting of the 34th Government

Source: PMO, 5-15-15

We will work with determination, responsibility and vigor in the face of attempts to test our borders and our security. We will continue to promote a diplomatic settlement while upholding the vital interests and security of the citizens of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Copyright: GPO/Avi Ohayon

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the first meeting of the 34th Governmentearlier today (Friday, 15 May 2015):

“Despite all the ups-and-downs we had to go through to reach this moment, I am still moved by the position and I am certain that you are too. From this moment on we must leave disagreements outside this room and focus on good work for the citizens of Israel – all citizens of Israel.

We will work with determination, responsibility and vigor in the face of all attempts to test our borders and our security from both near and far. Israel’s enemies must know that any threated directed at us has red lines. This has been our policy under previous governments and will be under the current government as well.

We will continue to promote a diplomatic settlement while upholding the vital interests and security of the citizens of Israel. At the same time and perhaps in assistance, we will try to realize the opportunity of regional developments and new possibilities of action with the moderate and responsible countries around us.

We will work to improve social welfare with emphasis on lowering the cost of living in general and housing costs in particular. We will work to continue to reduce the gaps in Israeli society. We will continue to link the Negev and the Galilee with the center and to strengthen employment there and throughout the country. We are attentive to the cry of immigrants from Ethiopia and their families and next week we will form a special ministerial committee, under my chairmanship, to deal with this problem. We are obligated to work for the good of all Israeli citizens and we will do everything we can to justify the confidence the nation has vested in us.

Now the time has come to roll up our sleeves and get to work. May our efforts be successful.”

The 34th Government of Israel

(Knesset website)

Benjamin Netanyahu – Prime Minister, Minister of Health, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Communications, Minister of Regional Cooperation
Silvan Shalom – Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs

Ofir Akunis – Minister
Uri Yehuda Ariel – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
David Azoulay – Minister of Religious Services
Ze’ev Binyamin Begin – Minister
Naftali Bennett – Minister of Education, Minister of Diaspora Affairs
Danny Danon – Minister of Science, Technology, and Space
Aryeh Machluf Deri – Minister of the Economy, Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galil
Zeev Elkin – Minister of Immigration and Absorption
Avi Gabai – Minister of Environmental Protection
Yoav Galant – Minister of Construction
Gila Gamliel – Minister for Senior Citizens
Moshe Kahlon – Minister of Finance
Haim Katz – Minister of Welfare and Social Services
Yisrael Katz – Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy
Yariv Levin – Minister of Tourism, Minister of Internal Security
Miri Regev – Minister of Culture and Sport
Ayelet Shaked – Minister of Justice
Yuval Steinitz – Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water
Moshe Ya’alon – Minister of Defense

Israel 34th Government Cabinet Members List

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The 34th Government of Israel

Ministers and Senior Officials

Source: MFA, 5-14-15

The new government of Israel headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu was approved in the Knesset with 61 MKs voting in favor, and 59 opposed, and its ministers were sworn in on May 14, 2015.

President

Government Ministers

Senior Government Officials


34th Government Cabinet Members

Portfolio Minister Party
Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Communications
Minister of Regional Cooperation
Minister of Health
Benjamin Netanyahu Likud
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely Likud
“Ministerial Post” in Communications Ofir Akunis Likud
Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara Likud
Deputy Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman United Torah Judaism
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel The Jewish Home
Minister of Construction Yoav Galant Kulanu
Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev Likud
Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon Likud
Deputy Minister of Defense Eli Ben-Dahan The Jewish Home
Minister of Economy
Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee
Aryeh Deri Shas
Minister of Education
Minister of Diaspora Affairs
Naftali Bennett The Jewish Home
Deputy Minister of Education Meir Porush United Torah Judaism
Deputy Minister of Education Meshulam Nahari Shas
Minister of Energy and Water Yuval Steinitz Likud
Minister of Environmental Protection Avi Gabai Kulanu
Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon Kulanu
Deputy Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen Shas
Minister of Immigrant Absorption
Minister of Strategic Affairs
Zeev Elkin Likud
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of the Interior
Silvan Shalom Likud
Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked The Jewish Home
Minister of Pensioner Affairs
Minister of Gender Equality
Gila Gamliel Likud
Minister of Religious Affairs David Azulai Shas
Minister of Science, Technology and Space Danny Danon Likud
Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin Likud
Minister of Tourism
Minister of Public Security
Yariv Levin Likud
Minister of Transportation
Minister of Intelligence[9]
Yisrael Katz Likud
Minister of Welfare and Social Services Haim Katz Likud

Security cabinet

Minister Party
Yuval Steinitz Likud
Naftali Bennett The Jewish Home
Yisrael Katz Likud

Committee chairs

Committee Chairman Party
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Yisrael Eichler United Torah Judaism
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Unnamed Shas
Science and Space Committee Unnamed United Torah Judaism
Finance Committee Moshe Gafni United Torah Judaism
Education Committee Unnamed Shas
Labor and Welfare Committee Unnamed Kulanu
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Ayelet Shaked The Jewish Home
Committee of Nuclear Energy Yuval Steinitz Likud
Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense
Coalition Chair
Tzachi Hanegbi Likud

Government agencies and special committees

Agency / Committee Chairman Party
Israel Land Administration Yoav Galant Kulanu
World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division Uri Ariel The Jewish Home
Israel Atomic Energy Commission Yuval Steinitz Likud

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 13, 2015: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Special Session Marking Victory Over Nazi Germany Day

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Special Session Marking Victory Over Nazi Germany Day

Source: PMO, 5-13-15

-Translation-
Every child in Israel learns the story of Joseph Trumpeldor, whose bravery still serves as an example of sacrifice for one’s country. But anyone who digs deeper into the role played by Jewish fighters in the campaign to defeat Nazi Germany discovers that in the ranks of our people are hundreds of thousands of additional heroes. These courageous fighters, imbued with a sense of mission, were the ones who seven decades ago freed humanity from the bloody nightmare imposed on it during six years of war.

Approximately one and a half million Jewish soldiers were among the ranks of the Allied armies fighting the Nazis. The majority of them served in the Red Army and the American army. Out of half a million Jewish fighters in the Red Army, more than 200,000 men and women died in battle. This is an unbelievable percentage of fallen soldiers by any measure, both in terms of the rate and in terms of the enormous number. Anyone who has been in battle knows how vast that number is. Many of them were young men and women, 17, 18 years old, who said goodbye to their parents before leaving for the front and never saw them again.

The fighting along the long and twisting Eastern Front, in snow, in mud, took place over 1,418 days, from Moscow to Berlin and Prague, and yes, Mr. Speaker, through Stalingrad and Kursk and all those places which echo from the pages of history. For you, they are a part of your personal history. This whole route is littered with your fallen countrymen, buried without a grave or a headstone.

This was not just the collision of tank with tank, submarine with submarine, plane with plane. In numerous cases, the soldiers of the Red Army charged at the Germans with knives, axes, shovels, even pitchforks, and often with bare hands.

The holding actions and the shift to counterattacks between 1942 and 1943 succeeded in shattering the myth of an invincible Nazi army. This is the first stage of any victory – the change, the enemy’s understanding that they are going to lose. And as the war progressed, the Soviet Army landed blow after blow on the Germans. It happened parallel to and at the same time as the attacks by the other Allied armies from the West, including Jewish fighters who landed and fought on the beaches of Normandy, and in all the battles from that point on. This effort pushed the Nazis back and led to their final surrender in May 1945.

Dear veterans, I know your lives were divided in two – before the war and after it. And despite the time that has passed, you can still recall the smallest details of every step, every operation, every battle. Your lives changed beyond recognition during those difficult years. Your remember with great pain your comrades who fell, your loved ones who did not live to see the moment of victory, but at the same time you can hold your heads high because it is thanks to you that the free world survived and that the Jewish people were saved from annihilation.

The historical lesson of what occurred is that radical regimes that call for genocide and seek to invade other countries cannot be conceded to. When faced with the enemies of freedom, enlightenment and progress, one should stand forcefully, in a timely fashion, to prevent them from having the opportunity to make use of destructive tools to realize their murderous aspirations.

The new government that will soon be sworn in will face many challenges – political, military, economic and social, but the ongoing challenge of the Iranian threat will take a central place. Just today the Arab press quoted an Iranian senior official saying that Iran has divine permission to eliminate Israel. He said that even if an agreement is not reached on the nuclear issue, Iran has a holy mission that it will not give up – to destroy the State of Israel. These statements are heard by representatives negotiating with Iran and they continue on as usual.

The Iranian threat does not pass over any of us – Jew and Arab alike. The missiles their Hezbollah proxies fired at us did not distinguish between Jew and Arab in the State of Israel. Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon, while at the same time expanding its tentacles of terror across the Middle East, obligate us to determinedly defend our sovereignty and security.

We do not stand alone against Iran’s fanaticism. There are many countries, even in our immediate surroundings, which correctly see in Iran’s steps the danger to the peace of the world and to their own peace. I believe that here are sown the seeds to expand the circle of parties in our region that will soon extend their hands to us in peace. The horrible damage caused Islamist extremism is clear to everyone. It is time that the moderate countries make their voices heard – to make alliances, to create cooperation, to establish friendly relations and peace.

At the same time, we do not stop in our efforts to warn the world powers that a conciliatory agreement with Iran will turn out to be a mistake that will exact a very heavy cost, and in any event Israel will defend itself by itself against any threat. Unlike in the past, we have the strength to defend ourselves from threats of destruction, those same threats we could not defend ourselves against 70 years ago.

One of the veterans said to me, “In the Soviet Union and in Israel, defending the homeland is a profession.” I would add also a mission. There were years during which we stared in amazement and wonder at your many medals, even though not everyone knew your stories. However, with time, things have changed and today, when you march in front of us in glory and splendor, we see ourselves as those who stand with you in a single line.

I participated in a moving and wonderful ceremony at Latrun the other day. It was an experience for all the participants to see the stories of the Jewish fighters from around the world, dramatic, heartwarming, heartbreaking stories. It was just as moving to see the grandchildren – officers and soldiers in the IDF – your grandchildren, standing there and expressing the meaning of heritage, their profound commitment, what they learned from you. Because your heroism, the heroism of the veterans who saved the world, is the heroism of the fighters in the Israel Defense Forces who defend the State of Israel. Both that heroism and this one are intertwined. Your past and your present are integrated in order to ensure a better and safer future for the State of Israel.

We salute your courage and honor your resilience. The people of Israel owe you their lives, and humanity owes you its deliverance from the darkness. Be strong and of good courage, congratulations on your tremendous work. Thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 12, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism

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PM Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism

Source: MFA, 12 May 2015

Today’s antisemitism is not limited to the various sects of militant Islam, nor is it limited just to the xenophobic elements on the fringes of European society. Because today it often wears the mask of so-called progressive thinking in the West.

PM Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Antsemitism

PM Netanyahu addresses 5th Global Forum for Combating Antsemitism
Copyright: GPO
I’m very pleased to welcome you all to Jerusalem. There are senior government ministers here from Germany, from Romania, from Bulgaria, from Canada. Our own Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett, the Mayor of Paris, the UN Coordinator for the Peace Process, religious leaders from across the face, many from the Muslim community. I had an excellent discussion just now with the Imam of Paris. There are ambassadors here and distinguished guests from so many walks of life, from so many lands, including great actors.

So I’m delighted to see all of you here, even though the subject of our deliberations is not a source of delight.

Seventy years ago, with the end of World War II and the revelation of the horrors of the Holocaust, some believed that humanity would discard one of history’s oldest hatreds – antisemitism. And it’s true that in the years immediately following World War II, blatant expressions of hatred for the Jews appeared to take a respite, at least in the liberal West.

Yet today there is no doubt that we are living in an age of resurgent antisemitism. Jews everywhere are once again being slandered and vilified.

This is taking place in the intolerant parts of the Middle East but it’s also taking place in what otherwise would be expected to be the tolerant parts of the West. It’s taking place in Beirut, in Damascus, in Tehran. But it’s also taking place, violently so, in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels. Because along with vilification come the inevitable violent attacks.

And Jews are now being targeted for being Jews. Jews have the right to live freely and safely wherever they choose. And governments everywhere are responsible for guaranteeing this right.

I want to take this opportunity to praise all the governments that have been witnessing this resurgent antisemitism, their commitment to protect the rights of the Jews, the rights of individuals, the rights of their citizens. Their representatives are here, and I praise you for it. But Jews also have the right to join us here in Israel, and if they make that choice, we will welcome them with open arms.

Contemporary antisemitism doesn’t just slander, vilify and target the Jewish people. It first and foremost today targets the Jewish state. That’s the nexus, that’s the core, that’s the focus of antisemitism.

I want to give you an example of this from today, this morning. I went down to Ben-Gurion airport to welcome home the IDF’s humanitarian mission to Nepal.

The UN filed a report. Actually, this is a good UN report about Israel. It said that of all the countries in the world, and Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world, Israel fielded the second largest rescue and relief team in Nepal. Of all the nations in the earth. Our people did a magnificent job. They saved lives. They took people out of the rubble. They treated 1,600 wounded people and sick people. They delivered life, several births.

Yet yesterday state television in both Iran and Venezuela accused our humanitarian team of trafficking in babies. Now, did any of you see an Iranian rescue team in Nepal? This is the quintessential example of the Big Lie technique. The aggressor accuses his victim.

And this big lie of antisemitism is propagated most enthusiastically by those who trample on the human rights of their own people.

Iran will speak of human rights? I don’t want to talk about Venezuela. I’ll leave that to you. They lecture us on human rights, on the rule of law, on safeguarding human decency? They string people in cranes, innocent people in cranes in the squares of Tehran and Iran’s other cities. They send their goons to Lebanon, to Syria, to Yemen, slaughtering people by the thousands. They slaughter Muslims, they target Muslims who do not share their violent creed.

Today, a lot of the extreme antisemitism that we see today is coming from old quarters, intolerant quarters, xenophobic ones in parts of Europe, in a peculiar marriage with the militants who seek to overtake the world of Islam, and they have integrated the most extreme antisemitism into this murderous theology.

I want to give you an example. First, recognize that their first and greatest number of victims are their fellow Muslims. But they also target us, and I give you the Hamas Charter. It repeats the ancient libels against the Jews. It openly calls for the murder of Jews wherever they are and for the destruction of their state.

And the same can be said of Hezbollah and for the common patron of both Hezbollah and Hamas, which is of course Iran.

And of course they have competition. The militant Shi’ites have competition from the militant Sunnis of al-Qaida, of ISIS and al-Nusra who echo their murderous creed not only about Israel. You’ve seen the horrors they commit on their fellow Muslims.

Today’s antisemitism, as I said, is not limited to the various sects of militant Islam, nor is it limited just to the xenophobic elements on the fringes of European society. Because today it often wears the mask of so-called progressive thinking in the West. Some of those who consider themselves champions of tolerance are remarkably intolerant when it comes to Jews and the Jewish state.

The classic antisemite portrayed the Jews as the embodiment of all evil in the world. Modern antisemites portray the Jewish state as the embodiment of all evil in the world.

When Hamas and Hezbollah rocketed our cities, thousands and thousands and thousands of rockets, fired directly at our cities – that’s a war crime, hiding behind their civilians – that’s a second war crime – when they committed these dual war crimes, tens of thousands demonstrated on the streets of European capitals, not against Hamas, not against Hezbollah, but against Israel.

Now, thousands are being killed in the brutal conflict in Yemen. You see any demonstrations in London or Paris? A quarter of a million people have been savagely butchered in Syria. You hear any word of academic boycotts on the Assad regime? And in Iran now under the Rouhani government, executions have gone up, innocent people are taken to death. You hear any UN resolutions condemning these violations of basic human rights?

And the answer regrettably is no. The demonstrations, the boycotts, the resolutions are all reserved for the Middle East’s one true democracy, in fact it’s the most beleaguered democracy on earth – Israel.

This is a travesty. You can try to explain it away in many ways and it’s true that the internet has a multiplier effect, but you can have a multiplier effect on many, many lies, on many slanders, and yet this has a global multiplying effect, and there is something fundamentally wrong that this slander is reserved for the one country in the region where the death penalty is not even used against the most gruesome terrorist murderers, the one country that holds human rights sacrosanct, where equality is protected under the law – for women, for Christians, for minorities, for all.

You can ask yourself how is that possible, how could it be that the Jewish state is treated like that. There’s got to be fire if there’s smoke.

How do think the Jews were treated for generations? The things that peoples said about the Jews for generations were believed across so many lands. They believed that we poisoned the wells, that we drank the blood of Christian children, that we were spreading disease deliberately. By the way, these are all repeated as we speak.

You see, how could it be that they believed it? But they did. Not only did they believe it, you say, well, that’s because of ignorance. Yeah, that’s true. Except that some of the most educated people in history believed it – Voltaire, Dostoyevsky, and the list is a lot longer, by the way.

So education and knowledge may be a partial protector against this slander, but there’s something deeper here because these are such patent falsehoods. It is the willingness to submit to slander, the willingness to believe this. This is what creates the ground, and it starts not from the bottom. It starts with the elites. And that’s where it has to be challenged.

And today the treatment of Israel is no different from the treatment of our forbearers. The Jewish state is being treated among the nations the way the Jewish people were treated for generations.

And we’re not perfect, by the way. We have a lot of things that we can improve. We have a very boisterous and robust democracy. You should come to the Knesset. I invite all of you. What fun. But it is. It’s alive. It’s free. Everything is debated, everything is open, and there is a system of justice, a system of laws and true tolerance. With all the imperfections of any society, we’ve built here a tremendous society. Beleaguered? Yes, but with great success.

And our best allies actually these days are some of our Arab neighbors because they know we face a common threat.

So we see this country. How can it be that this country is slandered like no other country? Well, probably because old habits die hard.

But the sad truth is that some of them don’t die. The sad truth is that no rational examination can justify the obsession with the Jewish state, and this obsession with the Jewish state and the Jewish people has a name. It’s called antisemitism. I know you understand all this. I know that the people in this room have learned the painful lessons of 70 years ago.

I appreciate your commitment to fighting antisemitism because the battle starts from the top. Antisemitism, contrary to what people think, does not just bubble up from below. It percolates also from the top. And that’s why it’s so important that there are leaders here, across lands, across faiths, across professions, from the public and the private domain, who are gearing up to fight this old obsession.

You have learned from history, but regrettably, many around the world have yet to do so.

I want to assure you that we have. We are no longer a stateless people searching for a safe haven. We are no longer a powerless people begging others to protect us. Today we have an independent and sovereign state. Today we can protect ourselves and defend our freedoms, our lives.

What has changed in the history of the world for the Jewish people is not the hatred of the Jews, but with the founding of the Jewish state, the rediscovery by the Jews of the capacity to defend ourselves against slander and against attack. Today we can speak up against our vilification – as I am doing right now and as you have been doing, and I know you will continue to do.

Because there is a simple fact – a lie that is left unchallenged and endlessly repeated assumes the cachet of self-evident truth. Our biggest job – our biggest job – is to go and light a candle of truth.

When I came to the United Nations many years ago to serve as Israel’s ambassador, I met a famous Jewish religious leader, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and he said to me: You know, you’ll be going into a house where many, many lies will be leveled at Israel and at our people, and he said, “Remember that in the darkest halls, if you light one candle, then people will see the light of truth for a very long distance. They’ll see it from afar, and your job,” he said to me, “is to light a candle of truth in a dark hall.” Well, I’ll tell you, we need a lot of candles, a lot of lighters of candles, and that’s how I see you.

Because nowhere is this calumny that is leveled against our people more systematically propagated than in Iran. The ayatollah regime is conducting as we speak a competition. The competition is an international competition. It parallels our conference, except it’s the very reverse. It’s a competition of Holocaust deniers from around the globe, who can better deny the Holocaust. And while they are denying the Holocaust, they’re planning another genocide against our people. They openly threaten to annihilate the State of Israel.

Just a few weeks ago, a few days before the Lausanne agreement was signed, an Iranian general said, “The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable.” Openly. And of course they seek to build nuclear weapons to implement this mad design.

I have to tell you honestly that the Lausanne framework won’t stop them. Israel wants to see a peaceful solution, a better deal that will actually block Iran’s path to the bomb. But I want to be absolutely clear. The Jewish state will defend itself by itself against any threat.

That’s what we’ve learned from history. That’s what the Jewish state is all about.

But we’ve also learned something else. I don’t know if we’ll be able to eradicate the scourge of antisemitism. I know we have to fight it. We have learned that if you don’t fight it, if unstopped, these fires of antisemitism eventually spread and they consume everyone. That is I think the central lesson of the 20th century, in many ways the central lesson of modern times.

So for the sake of decency, for the sake of our common humanity, for the sake of our common future, we must all continue to stand up and fight antisemitism. The Jewish people and decent people everywhere will salute you for doing just that.

Thank you, thank you for coming to Jerusalem, thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 10, 2015: Last Cabinet meeting of the 33rd Government

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Last Cabinet meeting of the 33rd Government

Source: MFA, 10 May 2015

In the over two years of this government’s existence, since its first meeting, the region around us has been roiling and stormy. And despite the many attempts to challenge us on our borders, we rebuffed all of these attempts.

Israel Cabinet meeting

Israel Cabinet meeting
Copyright: PMO webcast
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 10 May 2015), made the following remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting:

“Today we are holding the last Cabinet meeting of the 33rd Government and we are preparing for the first meeting of the new government. I always regard the task of leading the country as being entrusted with a valuable asset – the country – and my responsibility as Prime Minister, and ours as a government, is to return to the public a more secure, prosperous and developed country.

As I summarize the activity of the 33rd government, I can certainly say that despite the difficulties, and there were many, we advanced – during these years – the State of Israel on three main axes. In the over two years of this government’s existence, since its first meeting, the region around us has been roiling and stormy. And despite the many attempts to challenge us on our borders, we rebuffed all of these attempts bar none: From Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, through Iran’s attempts to develop a new front against us on the Golan Heights, to the unceasing efforts to bring advanced weaponry from Syria to Lebanon, and including Hamas’s efforts to perpetrate strategic attacks against us in the south. In Operation Protective Edge, we hit Hamas as hard as it has ever been struck since its founding.

Above all, we have acted unceasingly against Iran’s attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons. This effort is at its peak. We will not relent. We will continue to maintain Israel’s right to defend itself under any conditions and in any situation.

In the diplomatic sphere, we made another effort to move forward on an agreement with the Palestinians, but once again when there was a need to make tough decisions; Abu Mazen decided to abandon the negotiations. He appealed unilaterally, and in contravention of all the agreements, to the international arena. He abandoned the negotiations and entered into an alliance with Hamas.

In the diplomatic arena, we started to develop new markets for the Israeli economy – in both the diplomatic and the economic arenas – vis-à-vis the giant economies of Asia: India, China and Japan. We joined the Latin American Pacific Alliance as an observer.

We are developing a new industry that is essential to the future of humanity – cybersecurity. This is developing very quickly and dramatically. We are devoting many resources to it, including a special IDF unit and my instructions are to not only develop this ability for the security of the State of Israel, but to integrate it with Be’er Sheva and the Negev, with our academic ability and with industrial development for Israeli and foreign companies. This is happening before our eyes and is changing the face of the Negev and – in effect – the face of the country. It will turn – it is already turning – Be’er Sheva into a global cyber capital.

We raised the minimum wage again. Unemployment continues to be low. Israel’s credit rating is stable, which is no small feat given the economic upheavals that are continuing to rock the world. Additionally, we have continued the accelerated link between the Negev and the Galilee and the center of the country. In the past six years, we laid twice as much railroad track as in the previous six years. We did likewise with highways and interchanges and we are still busy.

We completely blocked illegal migration across our borders, something that no other country in the western world has succeeded in doing. The fence that we built has completely proven itself. We added to this legislative and enforcement measures, as well as others, and in this context I note the opposite trend that is now taking place in Western Europe. As Europe notes an increase of hundreds of percent in the influx of illegal migrants, thousands of illegal migrants are leaving Israel per annum. This is a very important achievement for assuring Israel’s image and character as a Jewish and democratic state.

There is no doubt that much work is yet before us and I promise to do everything so that the next government continues to do it and will even add many more important actions in various areas for the security and welfare of Israel’s citizens.

I would like to thank the members of the outgoing government once again and may we continue to work on behalf of the State of Israel in order to build its security, assure its prosperity and – of course – continue its development.”

Israel Musings April 25, 2015: Obama WH-Israel thaw continues on Yom Haatzmaut, but not towards Netanyahu

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Obama WH-Israel thaw continues on Yom Haatzmaut, but not towards Netanyahu

April 25, 2015

After Congressional Democrats warned President Barack Obama and the administration, their harsh rhetoric towards Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would cost the Democrats votes in the 2016 elections, Obama has been trying to placate and improve relations especially…

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 23, 2015: Vice President Joe Biden’s Remarks at the 67th Annual Israeli Independence Day Celebration

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Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden the 67th Annual Israeli Independence Day Celebration

Source: WH, 4-23-15 

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
Washington, D.C.

7:29 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Ron, Mr. Ambassador, my name is Joe Biden, and everybody knows I love Israel.

I was thinking as Ron was saying that he doesn’t know what it’s like in Catholic families — whether we argue as much as allegedly occurs in Jewish families.  Well, I settled all that.  Two of my three children married Jews.  (Laughter.)  And you want to see what happens then.  (Laughter.)

As a matter of fact, my daughter — I — the dream of every Irish-Catholic father is for his daughter to marry a Jewish surgeon.  (Laughter.)  And she did.

But I want you to know I think the only time on record, at least in the state of Delaware, in the oldest Catholic church in the state, the second oldest — 1842 — we signed the ketubah in the Catholic rectory.  (Laughter.)  Not a joke.  (Laughter.)  Not a joke.  I think that’s a first.  We had a chuppah on the altar, handmade, magnificently, beautiful chuppah.  And we had a Catholic priest, Father Murphy, and a rabbi, and it was hard getting a rabbi, by the way.  (Laughter.)  I had to go up to Montgomery County to find one.  (Laughter.)  And the reason why — Montgomery County, Pennsylvania — and the reason he came is his mother loved me.  (Laughter.)  But — and my daughter asked me, she said, Daddy, what do you want played at the wedding?  I said, just one — maybe the concluding hymn could be “On Eagles’ Wings”.

And so the rabbi was a wonderful guy, literally presided over 75 percent of the wedding.  The vows were administered by the Catholic priest.  And as the wedding party was departing, as the bride and groom were departing down the aisle, they played the hora.  (Laughter.)  So I figured it out.  One way to end arguments is to marry.  (Laughter.)

Look, the fact of the matter is that 77 years [sic] ago, at midnight on May 14, 1948, against all odds, in the wake of searing tragedy, defiant in the face of overwhelming military numbers massed on its borders, the modern State of Israel was born.   (Applause.)

What you did next was no less than miraculous.  You were blessed with one of the greatest generations of founding fathers and mothers of any nation in the history of the world — Ben-Gurion, Meir, Begin, Sharon, Rabin, Peres.  They all fashioned Israel into a vibrant, vibrant democracy.

And in the process, you built one of the most innovative societies on Earth.  In the process, you defended your homeland and became the most powerful military in the entire region.  And all these years later, things have changed, but the danger still exists.  But the people of Israel still live in a dangerous neighborhood.  And just to be an Israeli — it still demands uncommon courage.

Much has changed, but two things have remained absolutely the same: the courage of your people and the commitment of mine.  (Applause.)

So today, we celebrate your independence and our friendship, which was born just 11 minutes after Israel’s founding.  And President Obama and I are proud to carry forward the unbroken line of American leaders –- Democrat and Republican —- who have honored America’s sacred promise to protect the homeland of the Jewish people.

It’s no secret that, like administrations before us, as the Ambassador said, we’ve had our differences.  I have been here for a long time, for eight Presidents.  I’ve witnessed disagreements between administrations.  It’s only natural for two democracies like ours.  As Ron said, we’re like family.  We have a lot to say to one another.  Sometimes we drive each other crazy.  But we love each other.  And we protect each other.   (Applause.)

And it’s hard to see with these lights, but I suspect I know many of you personally.  As many of you heard me say before, were there no Israel, America would have to invent one.  We’d have to invent one because Ron is right, you protect our interests like we protect yours.  (Applause.)

So let’s get something straight.  In this moment of some disagreement occasionally between our governments, I want to set the record straight on one thing:  No President has ever done more to support Israel’s security than President Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

Just look at the facts.  Each time a rocket has rained down from Gaza, President Obama stands up before the world and defends Israel’s right to defend itself like any other nation.

Under President Obama, with the United States Congress, America has provided $20 billion in military assistance to Israel -– and cutting edge weaponry needed to maintain the qualitative advantage against any potential opponent.

You all know the stories of Iron Dome.  What you may not know is that next year, we will deliver to Israel the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter –- our finest -– making Israel the only country in the Middle East with a fifth-generation aircraft.  No other.  (Applause.)

And we continue to discuss, as the Israeli military here and the intelligence communities will tell you in Israel as well as here — we continue to discuss what more must be done in the near term and the long term to continue to strengthen Israel so she can maintain that edge.  (Applause.)

Our commitment to protect Israel’s security in my case and many of your case is not just political or national interest, it’s personal.  It’s personal for me and it’s personal for the President.

You’ve heard me say this many of my friends out there before, but it bears repeating on this day, it began at my father’s dinner table.  My father was a righteous Christian.  We assembled to eat, to have discussions — and occasionally eat.  My father talked about how he could not understand why there was a debate among Americans or why there was a debate among American Jews about whether or not we should have recognized Israel; why there would be any debate about why we hadn’t done more; why we hadn’t — that’s where I first learned about not bombing the railroad tracks.  I learned from my father about the concentration camps.  And the first thing I did with my children when each of them turned 15, I took them to Europe, flew them directly to Dachau, and made them spend a day there with me.  And I’ve done the same with my grandchildren.  My grandchild Finnegan as recently as just a month ago where we met with a 94-year-old survivor of Auschwitz, as well as Dachau.  He showed us the camp because he was proud — proud — to welcome the Vice President and his granddaughter.

All you have to do to understand is stand on the Golan and look down.  I remember the first time I did that as a young senator.  All you have to do is wander throughout Israel.  All you have to do is take that helicopter ride the entire length of the fence.  All you have to do is just look at the map.  All you had to is set foot at Yad Vashem -— and you understand.

I’ve had the great privilege of knowing every Israeli Prime Minister since Golda Meir and more than just casually.  And I’ve worked with many of you in this room for up to 40 years.  You know me.  You raised me.  You educated me.  And I know you.

So believe me when I tell you:  It’s not only personal to me, it’s personal to President Obama, as well.  The President was raised with memories of his great-uncle, who marched with Patton’s Army to liberate Jewish prisoners from the horrors of Buchenwald.  As a young man, he grew up learning about Israel from the stories of Leon Uris’ in “Exodus”; the Six-Day War; and Moshe Dayan, with his eye patch and his courage.  I remember sitting in front of Golda Meir’s desk as she flipped those maps up and down, chain-smoking, talking about the losses of the Six-Day War, sitting next to her military attaché at the time, a guy named Rabin.

But Barack, as a young senator — being 19 years younger than I am, he heard about it.  He read about it.  As senator, Barack Obama went to a small town in southern Israel to see with his own eyes the lives of the families who live under threat of rockets -– families that he has helped protect as Commander-in-Chief, under Iron Dome.

As President, he stood in Jerusalem, and declared to the whole world, “Those who adhere to the ideology of rejecting Israel’s right to exist, they might as well reject the earth beneath them or the sky above, because Israel is not going anywhere.  So long as the United States of America is there, Israel will never be alone.”  (Applause.)  He means it.  He means it.  You know I mean it.  I’m telling you he means it.

That’s my President.  He understands the need for Israel to have the right and the capacity and the capability to defend itself.  At the same time, he says, “we have Israel’s back” — and you can count on it.

The same commitment to the survival and security of Israel is fundamental to our strategy for the entire Middle East.  And then we get into the controversial piece.  Iran.  Remember this is the President who made it for the first time in American history a declared policy of the United States to use all the instruments of our power to prevent -— not contain, prevent –- Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon.  He stated that all options are on the table -— then he made sure of what did not exist before.  He made sure we spent the time and money and the research to develop the capacity required to act against their capacity to develop a weapon if ever needed.

Over the skepticism of many, we worked with the U.S. Congress, our European allies, and Russia, China, to put in place the toughest sanctions regime in modern history.

We also knew the cost of not negotiating.  Midway through the last administration, the U.S. government refused to directly engage.  It insisted at the same time that Iran dismantle its entire program.

The result?  By the time President Bush left office, Iran had dramatically advanced its movement toward ability to acquire a nuclear weapon.  So we’ve taken a different approach, combining unprecedented pressure with direct diplomacy to find an enduring solution.

Negotiations began.  And we’ve come a long way.  And you’ve all seen the parameters that were put forward.  It’s a framework, only a framework — not a final deal.  A great deal of work lies ahead to see if Iran will actually enshrine the commitments that went into that framework as part of a final deal.

If they do, each of Iran’s paths to a bomb would be meaningfully and verifiably blocked.  Iran would cut its enrichment capacity by two-thirds; shrink its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent.  Breakout time to create a weapon’s worth of bomb-grade material will go from two to three months, which it is today, to over a year.

The deal would ensure at least a one-year breakout cushion for a decade.  And for years after that, the breakout time would continue to be longer than it exists today.

We’ll prevent the Arak reactor from ever being a source of plutonium for nuclear weapons.  We will put in place the toughest transparency and verification requirements in history -— providing the best possible check against a secret path to the bomb.

This isn’t a grand bargain between the United States and Iran.  It’s a nuclear bargain between Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, the EU, America and Iran.  It’s based on hard-hitting, hard-headed, uncompromising assessments of what is required to protect ourselves, Israel, the region, and the world.

And if the final deal on the table that doesn’t meet the President’s requirements, we simply will not sign it.

A final deal must effectively cut off Iran’s pathways to the bomb.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

A final deal must ensure a breakout timeline at least for one year for a decade.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

A final deal must include phased sanctions relief, calibrated against Iran taking meaningful steps to constrain their program.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

A final deal must provide a verifiable assurance to the international community demands to ensure Iran’s program is exclusively peaceful going forward.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

And if Iran cheats at any time and goes for a nuclear weapon –- every option we have to respond today remains on the table.  And your military will tell you, and more.

I’ve been involved in arms control negotiations since I was a kid in the Senate at 30 years of age — every major SALT agreement, START agreement, and toward the end, I was deeply involved negotiating when Brezhnev was still around, leading a delegation of senators.  But just like arms control talks with the Soviet Union —- another regime we fundamentally disagreed with, another regime whose rhetoric was outrageous and unacceptable, another regime whose proxies were forcefully making trouble, and we forcefully countered around the world –- we negotiated to reduce the nuclear threat to prevent a nuclear war.  And it kept us safer.  That’s what we’re attempting to do today.

We also continue to agree with Israeli leaders going back decades –- from Rabin to Sharon, whose funeral I had the great honor of eulogizing –- that a two-state solution is essential to Israel’s long-term survival as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.   Consistent with our commitment to Israel’s security and survival, the United States stands ready to help Israel decide — if they decide — how to get there and if they want our help in getting there.

I’ll always remember what my friend and mentor, and Holocaust survivor who worked for me as my national security advisor before he became Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos once said.  He said, “the veneer of civilization is paper thin.  We are its guardians and can never rest.”

That’s why we must never retreat from fighting every scourge and source of anti-Semitism as we find it.  You see, in too many places where legitimate criticism crosses over into bigotry and anti-Semitism; where an explicitly anti-Semitic attack takes place at a kosher grocery store; assaults on religious Jews in the streets of major European capitals.  Some of you may remember how harshly I was criticized as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee over 15 years ago when I held hearings on anti-Semitism in Europe.  Emerson said, society is like a wave, the wave moves on, but the particles remain the same.  Wherever, in whatever country, whatever circumstance it rears its head, we have to stop it.

Enough is enough.   We have to fight it everywhere we find it.

I’ll conclude — and my friends kid me and I imagine Ron may, as well — telling you the story about my meeting with Golda Meir.  The reason I do it had a profound impact on me, one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.  I think I’ve met every major world leader in the last 36 or 37 years in the world, in a literal sense.

But I remember meeting for close to an hour with her.  She went through what happened in the Six-Day War, and the price that was paid.  And I just had come from Egypt.  They let me go to Egypt and go to the Suez Canal.  And I was saying to she and Rabin that I thought that they were getting ready to attack again.  And everyone including my military and Israeli military thought I was crazy.

I remember driving from Cairo all the way to out to the Suez.  And you could see these great plumes of dust and sand.  But none it seemed isolated.  It turns out it was maneuvers taking place in the desert.  And I was really worried.  And we went through, and she painted a bleak, bleak picture — scared the hell out of me, quite frankly, about the odds.

And all of a sudden she looked at and she said, would you like a photograph?  And I said, yes, ma’am.  And those double-blind doors opened up into that hallway — not hallway.  It looks like — it’s a foyer.  And we walked out, and the press was standing there.  We didn’t say anything.  We just stood side by side.  And she must have thought I looked worried.  And it’s an absolutely true story.  She didn’t look at me, she spoke to me.  She said, Senator, you look so worried.  I said, well, my God, Madam Prime Minister, and I turned to look at her.  I said, the picture you paint.  She said, oh, don’t worry.  We have — I thought she only said this to me.  She said, we have a secret weapon in our conflict with the Arabs.  You see, we have no place else to do.

I was criticized in the national press a couple weeks ago when I said that, in fact, every Jew in the world needs there to be an Israel.  And it was characterized by some of the conservative press as saying that I was implying Jews weren’t safe in America.  They don’t get it.  They don’t get it.  Israel, Israel is absolutely essential — absolutely essential — security of Jews around the world.  And that’s why you have never farmed out your security.  You’ve accepted all the help we could give.  The most admirable thing about you is you’ve never asked us to fight for you.  But I promise you, if you were attacked and overwhelmed, we would fight for you, in my view.  (Applause.)

The truth of the matter is we need you.  The world needs you.  Imagine what it would say about humanity and the future of the 21st century if Israel were not sustained, vibrant and free.

We’ll never stop working to ensure that Jews from around the world always have somewhere to go.  We’ll never stop working to make sure Israel has a qualitative edge.  And whomever the next President is — Republican or Democrat — it will be the same because the American people, the American people are committed.  The America people understand.

So I say happy birthday, Israel.  Happy Independence Day.  May God bless you and may God bless and protect the United States of America.  Thank you all so very much.  (Applause.)

END
7:52 P.M. EDT

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 22, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Greeting for 67th Yom Ha’atzmaut Independence Day 2015 — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Greeting for Independence Day 2015

Source: PMO, 4-22-15

“Israel’s Independence Day is an occasion for genuine celebration.

Jews celebrate the rebirth of our national freedom in our historic homeland, the Land of Israel.

We celebrate that the Jewish people are no longer stateless and powerless, but are once again masters of our own fate.

We celebrate the fact that Jews everywhere enjoy a right they were denied for so many centuries, the right to make aliya and be part of the modern State of Israel.

And we can also celebrate Israel’s many achievements.

We have integrated into our society immigrants from all four corners of the earth.

We have successfully defended our freedom against attacks by hostile neighbors.

We have literally made the desert bloom, building a vibrant and dynamic hi-tech economy.

We have built a robust and healthy democracy, where freedom is sacrosanct and human rights enshrined in our laws for all.
We have built a society in which all Israel’s citizens are equal under the law, Arab and Jew alike.

We have witnessed a real renaissance in our national culture.
we take pride in Israel’s achievements.

And even though there is still much work to be done,
on this day we can unite in celebration of Israel’s many successes.

From Jerusalem, the capital of the modern State of Israel for the last 67 years, and the historic capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years,
I wish you all a very happy Independence Day”.

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 22, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Yom Hazikaron Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl

Source: PMO, 4-22-15


Photo by:Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

– Translation –
The Honorable President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin,
Distinguished guests,

Three months ago, on this mountain – which more than anything illustrates the cost of our national rebirth –Malka Kalangel, the mother of Major Yochai Kalangel, who was killed on the northern border, stood and cried from the depths of her heart, “How do you say goodbye to your child?” Nothing compares to the power of this cry from a mother and father who are informed of their child’s death. Anyone at their side at the moment they receive the difficult news remembers it for the rest of their life. I do. “How do you say goodbye to your child?” Malka asked. “How do we say goodbye to our son?” my parents asked. “How do I say goodbye to my brother?” I asked.

Last night there was a very moving event at the Knesset, an event that shook us to our very core, during which bereaved family members described that terrible moment in their lives, the moment in which they heard the knock at the door, that same knock by those who came to tell the horrible news that would shatter their lives and change them forever. I received my knock when I was a student in the United States in the guise of a telephone call from my brother, Iddo, telling me of the death of our older brother, Yoni. It was the worst moment of my life, besides one other moment, seven hours later, after a tortuous nightlong journey, when I walked up the path leading to the house of my mother and father, who was teaching at Cornell University in New York at the time. It was my lot to be the one to break the news. I was the one knocking on my parents’ door. Through the wide window in the front of the house, I could see my father pacing back and forth, lost in thought, his hands joined behind his back as was his wont. He suddenly looked up and when he saw me walking up the path, without his saying a word, his expression changed all at once. A bitter cry burst from his throat. I went into the house. As long as I breathe, I will never forget his cry and that of my dear mother. To get the knock at the door from my brother and then knock on my parents’ door – it was as if Yoni had died twice.

For those of us who have been through this hell, no other moment can compare in terms of power, shock, pain and suffering, and we know that the wound never really heals.

This week I met with boys and girls who lost their fathers who were soldiers and officers in the IDF. I saw the grief on their faces, the quiet sadness they radiated. I embraced them and said a prayer in my heart that the passage of time, the force of life and the love of the people would grant them relief and joy later on.

Anyone who has experienced the torments of bereavement and the terror of war, the dead and injured, the amputation of limbs, does not seek out war. When I need to decide whether or not to send soldiers into battle, I think of each soldier and their family as if they were my son, my family. But if we have no choice, we must be ready to charge into battle in order to defend ourselves and our land.

This constant readiness is the only thing that will deter war, or when necessary decide it. This is where we can see the great change that took place in the destiny of our people since the establishment of the State of Israel. Ron Vanunu, the sister of Sergeant Ben Vanunu, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge, said it best. Ron, a high school senior, went to Poland with her school in Ashdod, and at one of the death camps where our people perished, she said, “My brother was killed defending our homeland, but when I am here, I understand that he had the privilege of fighting as part of the Israeli army and he fell while wearing his IDF uniform, wrapped in the Israeli flag.” Ron will join the IDF soon and she is supposed to be posted to the Golani Battalion, in which her brother served.

I knew the fathers and the brothers, and I often meet the sons and the brothers and sisters. “I want to follow in my father’s footsteps”, “I am continuing my brother’s path”, they say. Nothing detracts from the great spirit that breathes through this nation. As with those who came before them, they feel the great and historic responsibility and the justness of our path and our struggle.

The continuum of threats to the existence of Israel requires a continuum of fights and our resilience in this fight depends on our determination, our strength, our unity. The State of Israel will continue to prosper and flourish as long as we are ready to defend ourselves in every situation. I am certain that the tremendous strengths we have will allow us to successfully face every challenge until we reach safe harbor, until our region changes its character, until we reach the desired peace. But this could be a prolonged process and in the meanwhile we grit our teeth, stiffen our upper lips and continue onwards. As one of the IDF widows said so simply and clearly last night at the moving event at the Knesset: Our enemies need to know that they will not break us, that despite the pain we will continue to defend our country, that we are staying right here.

My brothers and sisters, bereaved families, the stories of your loved ones is not only engraved on their headstones, but they are rooted in the hearts of our people. We must continue on their path together and united. It is written in Proverbs, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This is the secret to Israel’s strength. Only here are the shards transformed into one whole thing.

We are one family, Jews and our non-Jewish brothers – Druze, Muslims, Bedouin, Christians, Circassians. We are partners through bad times and good, in grief and in joy. Tonight, as the lights of the Independence torches shine forth, when the lights of the Independence torches shine on this mountain, we will feel profound gratitude for our loved ones, the heroes of the people, Israel’s fallen soldiers. We will cherish the wounded, who stopped enemy attacks with their bodies and we will pray for their recovery. At the same time we will express our recognition of the good of everything we have won, of the wonder of our renaissance, of the gift of freedom, of the miracle of our rebirth.

May the memories of the fallen be forever blessed and their lives tied to the eternity of Israel.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בטקס האזכרה הממלכתי לחללי מערכות ישראל בהר הרצל

22/04/2015
יום רביעי ג’ אייר תשע”ה –

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

“מכובדי נשיא מדינת ישראל, ראובן ריבלין,

מכובדיי כולם.

על ההר הזה, שממחיש יותר מכל את מחיר תקומתנו הלאומית, עמדה לפני שלושה חודשים מלכה קלנגל, אמו של רב סרן יוחאי קלנגל, שנפל בגבול הצפון, וזעקה ממעמקי לבה: “איך אפשר להיפרד מילד?!”. אין משהו שמשתווה בעוצמתו לזעקה הזאת של אם ואב המתבשרים על מות ילדם. כל מי שנמצא לצדם ברגע קבלת הבשורה המרה זוכר זאת כל חייו. גם אני. איך אפשר להיפרד מילד, שאלה מלכה. איך אפשר להיפרד מבן, שאלו הוריי. איך אפשר להיפרד מאח, שאלתי אני.

בערב מרגש אתמול בכנסת, ערב שהרטיט את נימי הנפש, סיפרו בני משפחות השכול על הרגע הנורא הזה בחייהם, הרגע בו שמעו את הנקישה בדלת, אותה נקישה של מבשרי הבשורה הנוראה שריסקה את חייהם ושינתה אותם לעד. את הנקישה שלי קיבלתי אני כשהייתי סטודנט בארה”ב, דרך שיחת טלפון מאחי עידו, שסיפר על נפילתו של יוני אחינו הבכור. זה היה הרגע הנורא בחיי, חוץ מאחד. שבע שעות מאוחר יותר, לאחר נסיעת ייסורים של לילה שלם, פסעתי בשביל שהוביל לביתם של אמי ואבי, שלימד אז באוניברסיטת קורנל במדינת ניו יורק. נפל בגורלי להיות המבשר. אני הייתי הנוקש בדלת הוריי. מבעד לחלון הרחב בחזית ביתו ראיתי את אבי פוסע הלוך וחזור, שקוע במחשבותיו, ידיו שלובות מאחורי גבו בדרכו האופיינית. לפתע הפנה מבטו, וכשראה אותי צועד בשביל בלי שהוא אמר דבר, השתנתה ארשת פניו בבת אחת. זעקה מרה פרצה מפיו. נכנסתי לבית. כל עוד נשימתי באפי, לא אשכח את זעקותיו ואת זעקותיה של אמי היקרה. לקבל את הנקישה בדלת מאחי ולנקוש בדלת הוריי זה היה כאילו יוני מת פעמיים.

לאלה מאיתנו שעברו את התופת הזאת אין רגע שישתווה לו בעוצמה, ההלם, הכאב והייסורים, ואנחנו יודעים שהפצע לעולם לא מגליד באמת.

נפגשתי השבוע עם ילדים וילדות שנתייתמו מאבותיהם, חיילי צה”ל וקציניו. ראיתי את תוגת פניהם, את העצב השקט שבוקע מתוכם. חיבקתי אותם והבעתי תפילה בלבי שמרחק השנים, כוח הסחף של החיים ואהבת העם יתנו להם מזור ושמחה בהמשך חייהם.

כל מי שחווה את ייסורי השכול ואת אימת המלחמה, את ההרוגים והפצועים, את קטיעת האיברים, איננו יכול לשוש אלי קרב. כשאני צריך להחליט אם לשלוח את חיילינו למערכה, אני חושב על כל חייל ומשפחה כאילו היה בני, כאילו מדובר במשפחתי. אבל אם אין לנו ברירה, עלינו להיות מוכנים להטיל עצמנו לחזית המלחמה כדי להגן על עמנו וארצנו.

רק נכונות מתמדת זו תרתיע מלחמה או בעת הצורך תכריע אותה. בזה טמון השינוי הגדול שהתרחש בגורל עמנו מאז הקמתה של מדינת ישראל, והיטיבה לבטא זאת רון וענונו, אחותו של סמל בן וענונו, שנפל במבצע צוק איתן. רון, תלמידת כיתה י”ב, יצאה מטעם בית ספרה באשדוד למסע בפולין, ובאחד מאתרי ההשמדה של בני עמנו היא אמרה: “אח שלי נהרג על הגנת המולדת, אבל כשאני נמצאת כאן אני מבינה שהוא זכה להילחם במסגרת צבא ישראל ונפל כשהוא לבוש מדי צה”ל ועטוף דגל ישראל”. רון תתגייס בקרוב לצה”ל והיא אמורה להשתלב בגדוד גולני, שבו שירת אחיה.

הכרתי את האבות ואת האחים ואני פוגש תכופות את הבנים ואת האחים והאחיות. “אני רוצה ללכת בעקבות אבא”, “אני ממשיכה את דרכו של אחי” – הם אומרים. דבר לא נגרע מהרוח הגדולה שנושבת במפרשי האומה. כקודמיהם, הם חשים בגודל האחריות ההיסטורית ובצדקת דרכנו ומאבקנו.

רצף האיומים על קיום המדינה מחייב רצף של מאבק, ויכולת העמידה במאבק זה מותנית בנחישותנו, בעוצמתנו, באחדותנו. מדינת ישראל תוסיף לשגשג ולפרוח בתנאי שנהיה מוכנים להגן עליה מכל משמר. אני בטוח שהכוחות האדירים שטמונים בנו יאפשרו לנו להתמודד בהצלחה עם כל אתגר, עד שנגיע לחוף מבטחים, עד שאזורנו ישנה פניו, עד שנגיע לשלום המיוחל. אבל זה יכול להיות תהליך ממושך, ובינתיים עלינו לקפוץ ידינו, לחשוק שפתותינו, להמשיך הלאה. כפי שאמרה זאת בפשטות ובבהירות מזוקקת אחת מאלמנות צה”ל אמש בערב המרגש בכנסת: אויבינו צריכים לדעת שהם לא ישברו אותנו, שחרף הכאב אנחנו נמשיך להגן על המדינה שלנו, אנחנו נשארים פה.

אחיי ואחיותיי, בני המשפחות השכולות, סיפורם של יקירינו אינו טמון רק במצבות האבן, הוא נטוע בלבבות עמנו. עלינו להמשיך את דרכם מאוחדים ומלוכדים. “ברזל בברזל יחד ואיש יחד פני רעהו”, נאמר בספר משלי. זהו סוד כוחה של ישראל. רק כאן מתחברים הרסיסים לדבר שלם.

אנחנו משפחה אחת, יהודים ואחינו הלא יהודים – דרוזים, מוסלמים, בדואים, נוצרים, צ’רקסים. אנחנו שותפים ברע ובטוב, ביגון ובשמחה. הערב, שכאורן של משואות העצמאות יבהיקו, כשאורן של משואות העצמאות יבהיק בפסגת ההר, נחוש הכרת תודה עמוקה ליקירינו גיבורי העם, חללי מערכות ישראל. נוקיר את הפצועים שבלמו בגופם מתקפות אויב, נישא תפילה להחלמתם. בו ברגע נבטא את הכרת הטוב על כל מה שזכינו לו, על פלא הקוממיות, על מתנת החירות, על נס ההתחדשות.

יהי זכרם של הנופלים ברוך לעד וחייהם קשורים בנצח ישראל.”

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 20, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks to the Bereaved Families – Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks to the Bereaved Families – Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars

Source: PMO, 4-20-15

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks to the bereaved families on the occasion of Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars:

“My brothers and sisters, to the bereaved families, on this day the entire nation remembers our loved ones who fell on behalf of the revival of our people and our land. This day is the most difficult for us. The warm embrace that we receive strengthens us but it cannot console us for the terrible loss. The pain rends our hearts, the grief chokes us and the longing will never go away.

On this day the people of Israel bow their heads in respect and gratitude. The poet Shlomo Sokolsky well expressed the heavy price. In his poem ‘Rosh Pina’, he wrote: ‘There is no conquering the top of the rock – if there is no grave on the slope.’ This is the reality of our life in the past 67 years since the establishment of the State of Israel and even before.

Last year many more families were added to the family of the bereaved including the families of those who fell in Operation Protective Edge whose sons fought to restore quiet and security to the cities of Israel and the communities of the south.

On Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, we recall the heroism of those who gave their souls for the existence and security of the State of Israel. To our sorrow, in the current Middle East we are obliged to continue fighting for our existence, and our existence here is not self-evident without this sacrifice. Only thanks to the iron wall, every brick of which is held by our sons and daughters of the IDF and the security services, only thanks to them can we continue to live our lives here and continue to raise our children and grandchildren here.

Dear families, our loved ones who fell are the foundation of that same iron wall. We must guard their memory and heritage for future generations.

May the memory of all those who fell in Israel’s wars be blessed and kept in the heart of the nation.”

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו למשפחות השכולות – יום הזיכרון תשע”ה

21/04/2015
יום שלישי ב’ אייר תשע”ה

אחיי ואחיותיי למשפחת השכול, ביום הזה העם כולו מעלה את נס זכרם של יקירינו שנפלו למען תקומת העם והארץ. היום הזה הוא יום קשה עבורנו. החיבוק החם שאנו זוכים לו מחזק את ידינו, אך אין בו כדי לנחם אותנו על האובדן הקשה. הכאב מפלח את לבנו, היגון חונק אותנו, והגעגועים לעולם אינם מרפים.

ביום הזה עם ישראל מרכין את ראשו מתוך כבוד ומתוך הכרת הטוב. המשורר שלמה סקולסקי היטיב לבטא את המחיר הכבד, הוא כתב בשירו ‘ראש פינה': “אֵין כּוֹבְשִׁים אֶת רֹאשׁ הַסֶּלַע – אִם אֵין קֶבֶר בַּמּוֹרָד”. הרי זוהי מציאות חיינו בששים ושבע השנים האחרונות, מאז הוקמה מדינת ישראל, ועוד קודם לכן.

בשנה האחרונה נתווספו עוד משפחות רבות למשפחת השכול הגדולה, ביניהן משפחות חללי מבצע ‘צוק איתן’, שבניהן נלחמו למען השבת השקט והביטחון לערי ישראל ויישובי הדרום.

ביום הזיכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל אנו זוכרים את גבורת הנופלים שנתנו נפשם למען קיומה וביטחונה של מדינת ישראל. לצערנו הרב, במזרח התיכון כפי שהוא אנחנו נאלצים להמשיך להילחם על מקומנו, ומקומנו כאן איננו מובן מאליו ללא ההקרבה הזאת. רק בזכות קיר הברזל, שכל לבנה שבו מוחזקת על ידי בנינו ובנותינו מצבא ההגנה לישראל ומאנשי מערכות הביטחון – רק בזכותם אנחנו יכולים להמשיך לחיות כאן את חיינו ולהמשיך לגדל פה את ילדינו ונכדינו.

משפחות יקרות, יקירינו שנפלו הם נדבך יסוד מאותו קיר ברזל. אנו מצווים לשמור את זכרם ומורשתם למען הדורות הבאים.
יהי זכרם של כל חללי מערכות ישראל ברוך ונצור בלב האומה.

 

 

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 15, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Address at Yad Vashem — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Holocaust Remembrance Day Address by PM Netanyahu at Yad Vashem

Source: PMO, 4-15-15

Photo: Haim Zah, GPO 

[Translation]

Seventy years ago, the bells of freedom rang out across the free world. The horrific nightmare that had engulfed all humanity in blood had come to an end in Europe. But the day the Nazis were vanquished was not only a day of relief and jubilation. It was also a day of great sorrow for our nation, and a day of reflection for the world’s leaders. Leaders of modern countries realized that it was a propitious time to establish a new world order based on defending liberty, eradicating evil and opposing oppression. They articulated the most important lesson of World War II: democracies must not turn a blind eye to the aspirations of tyrannous regimes to expand. A conciliatory attitude toward these regimes only increases their propensity for aggression. And if such aggression is not stopped in time, humanity might find itself in a much bloodier battle.

In the years before World War II, the free world tried to appease the Nazi regime, to gain its trust, to curry its favor through gestures. There were those who warned that this concessionary policy would only whet Hitler’s appetite, but these warnings were ignored due to the natural human desire for calm at all costs. And indeed, the price was exacted not long after, and it was too heavy to bear – six million of our people were slaughtered in the Holocaust, and millions of others were killed in this terrible inferno.

When the war ended, the conclusion was clear: there is no room for weakness when facing tyrannous regimes that send their murderous tentacles in every direction. Only by standing firm and adhering to the values of liberty and tolerance can we ensure the future of humankind.
There are many around the world who claim that the lessons learned then are still valid today. They affirm: “Never again!” They declare: “We will not turn a blind eye to the expansionist intentions of a violent tyranny.” They promise: “We will oppose evil as soon as it begins.” But as long as these announcements are not backed by practical actions – they are meaningless. Did the world really learn a lesson from the inconceivable universal and Jewish tragedy of last century? I wish I could stand here and tell you that the answer to this was yes.

Today, ever more threats challenge human civilization. Radical Islamist forces are flooding the Middle East, destroying remnants of the past, torturing the helpless, murdering innocents. They hope to establish caliphates, more than one, like in the Middle Ages. At the same time, the extremist regime in Iran is oppressing its people; it is rushing forward and submerging the Middle East in blood and suffering – in Yemen, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Gaza and across the border of the Golan Heights.

Just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilization and to establish a “master race” to replace it and control the world while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region, from which it would spread further, with the explicit intent of obliterating the Jewish state. Iran is advancing in two tracks: the first is in developing the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons and stockpile ballistic missiles; and the second – exporting the Khomeinist revolution to many countries by widely using terrorism and taking over large parts of the Middle East. Everything is out in the open – it is all taking place in broad daylight, in front of the cameras. And yet, the blindness is immense.

“For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples,” said the Prophet Isaiah. The determination and lessons that were acquired through blood seventy years ago are now dissipating, and the darkness and fog of denying reality are taking their place. The bad deal that is being made with Iran demonstrates that the historic lesson has not been internalized. The West is yielding in the face of Iran’s aggressive actions. Instead of demanding a significant dismantling of the nuclear program in Iran – a country that clearly states its plans to exterminate six million Jews here and elsewhere, to eradicate many countries and many regimes – the superpowers back down. They are leaving Iran with its nuclear capabilities intact, and even allowing it to expand them later on, regardless of Iran’s actions in the Middle East and around the world.

As the civilized world is lulled into slumber on a bed of illusions, the rulers of Iran continue to encourage subversion and terrorism and disseminate destruction and death. The superpowers turn a deaf ear to the crowds in Iran shouting: “Death to America; Death to Israel.” They turn a blind eye to the executions of those who oppose the regime and of members of minority populations. And they hold their peace in the face of the massive arming of terrorist organizations. At most, they make a halfhearted statement for the record.

I have heard that in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day a competition with prizes is soon to take place in Tehran with participants from 56 countries. It is a Holocaust denial cartoon competition. Will we hear protests? At best, a minor condemnation might be heard; that will minimally fulfill their obligation.

Distinguished guests, Israeli citizens and representatives of other countries,
The bubble of this illusion is going to burst. Democratic governments made a critical mistake before World War II, and we are convinced – and I must say that many of our neighbors are too – that they are making a grave mistake now too. It is possible that this partnership with many of our neighbors, the partnership in identifying threats, will be the foundation for the partnership to forge a better, safer and more peaceful future in our region. Meanwhile, we will not flinch. We will continue to insist on the truth, and we will do everything we can to open the eyes that are shut.

I do not want to mislead anyone. We have tests ahead of us. We are in the midst of a great battle against the enervation, the weakness, the denial of reality – we will stand with our full force.

While there are those who refuse to understand our position, there are many others who identify with us. But even if we are compelled to stand alone, we will not be afraid. In any scenario, in any situation, we will safeguard our right, we will maintain our ability, we will keep our resolve to defend ourselves.

Seventy years ago we were war refugees, powerless and voiceless. Today we express what we have to say, and we are determined to safeguard our existence and our future. It is our duty to fight those who wish to destroy us, not to bow down to them or to downplay reality. We will not allow the State of Israel to be a passing episode in the history of our people.

Distinguished guests,
Today in my office I met an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, Abraham Niederhoffer. Abraham was born in Romania. When he was 12 years old he witnessed the brutal murder of his relatives by a Romanian soldier. He was taken on a cattle train to Ukraine, where he survived the Holocaust. Due to the persistent refusal of the communist authorities in Romania to permit his emigration, he only came to Israel in 1969. Here he worked as an engineer and supervisor, contributing to the building of the country. He told me his story with great emotion, so much so that he had to pause several times. At the end of the meeting, he beseeched me, “Prime Minister,” he said, “it is your duty to prevent another Holocaust.” And I responded: “That is exactly how I see my responsibility. That is exactly how I see my responsibility.”

Seven decades ago, the survivors emerged from the camps, from the forests, from the March of Death, battered and bruised with nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs. Upon their release, the prisoners of the camps from all nations were asked by the Allied soldiers where each one wished to go. The Poles returned to Poland; the Russians returned to Russia; the Hungarians – to Hungary; the Ukrainians – to Ukraine. But a great many of them had nowhere to return to. They stood hopeless, because they did not have their own country.

Today, we have our own country – a flourishing and modern country; a country that rests on the heritage of our forefathers and stands at the vanguard of global knowledge; a country that disseminates a great light; a country that has taken charge of its destiny. Seventy years after the valleys of death, we revere the living, the vibrant, the creative, the flourishing.

Israel breaks ground on every front of modernization – in science, medicine, technology, agriculture, education and culture. And we do this not only for our people. We do this for the benefit of all humanity. This is what our existence is based upon – on our commitment to the safety and future of Israel, on the deference to our heritage, and on the unity of a nation in which a vast life force shines. The nation of Israel, which has arisen from the hellfire, is ready for any challenge.

“Shake thyself from the dust; put on thy beautiful garments, my people.” The eternal nation has shaken itself from the dust, returned home, stood tall, established an outstanding country and an outstanding army, the Israel Defense Force, in which our brave and courageous sons and daughters serve.

We will remember those who were murdered, we will guarantee life.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בטקס יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה ביד ושם

 

15/04/2015

יום רביעי כ”ו ניסן תשע”ה

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

מכובדי נשיא מדינת ישראל ראובן ריבלין ורעייתו נחמה,
נשיאת ביהמ”ש העליון מרים נאור ובעלה פרופ’ אריה נאור,
יו”ר הכנסת יולי אדלשטיין,
הרבנים הראשיים,
שרים,
חברי כנסת,
אבנר שלו, יו”ר יד ושם,
מכובדיי הרבים מן הארץ ומן העולם,
ניצולי השואה היקרים לנו, חסידי אומות העולם שנותנים מופת לאנושות כולה,
אזרחי ישראל,

לפני שבעים שנה צלצלו פעמוני החירות ברחבי העולם החופשי. סיוט האימים שהשקיע את האנושות כולה במצולות של דם – בא לקצו באירופה. אך יום הניצחון על הנאצים לא היה רק יום של הקלה ושמחה. הוא היה יום מהול בעצב נורא לעמנו, אבל הוא גם יום של חשבון נפש למנהיגי העמים. מנהיגי המדינות הנאורות הבינו שזוהי שעת כושר לכונן סדר עולמי חדש שמתבסס על הגנת החופש, מיגור הרשע והתנגדות לעריצות. הם ביטאו בקול רם וצלול את הלקח העיקרי של מלחמת העולם השנייה: לדמוקרטיות אסור להעלים עין מכוונות ההתפשטות של משטרי הרודנות. פייסנות כלפי משטרים אלה רק מגבירה את נטייתם לתוקפנות. ואם תוקפנות זו לא תיבלם בזמן, עלולה האנושות להיקלע למלחמות קשות הרבה יותר.

בשנים שקדמו למלחמת העולם השנייה, העולם החופשי ניסה לפייס את המשטר הנאצי, לרכוש את אמונו בוויתורים, לקנות את רצונו הטוב במחוות. היו אמנם מי שהזהירו שמדיניות פשרנית זו רק תגביר את תיאבונו של היטלר. אך האזהרות האלו נדחו הצדה מכוח הטבע האנושי הטבעי, לקנות שקט בכל מחיר. ואכן המחיר לא איחר לבוא – והוא היה כבד מנשוא. שישה מיליון בני עמנו שנטבחו בשואה, ועשרות מיליוני בני-אדם נוספים שנהרגו בתופת הנוראה.

בגמר המלחמה, המסקנה הייתה חותכת: אין מקום לרפיון מול משטרי עריצות ששולחים את זרועותיהם הרצחניות לכל עבר. רק עמידה איתנה מולם, תוך שמירה על ערכי החירות והסובלנות – רק עמידה כזו תבטיח את עתיד האנושות.

רבים בעולם מצהירים שהלקחים שהופקו אז, תקפים גם היום. הם מכריזים: “לעולם לא עוד”. הם מצהירים: “לא נעלים עין משאיפות ההתפשטות של רודנות אלימה”. הם מבטיחים: “נתנגד לדברים הרעים בתחילתם”. אבל כל עוד למלים הללו אין ביטוי בפועל – הן חסרות משמעות. ובכן, האם העולם באמת למד מהטרגדיה הבלתי נתפסת, האוניברסלית והיהודית, של המאה הקודמת? הלוואי שהייתי יכול לעמוד כאן ולומר לכם שהתשובה לכך חיובית.

בימים אלה הולכים ומתרבים האיומים על התרבות האנושית. כוחות האסלאם הקיצוני שוטפים את המזרח התיכון, משמידים את שרידי העבר, מתעללים בחסרי ישע, טובחים בחפים מפשע, ומבקשים להקים ח’ליפות, אפילו יותר מאחת, בסגנון ימי הביניים. במקביל, המשטר הקנאי באיראן מדכא את עמו, שועט קדימה ומטביע בדם וסבל את המזרח התיכון: בתימן, בסוריה, בלבנון, בעיראק, בעזה ומול גולן.

כשם שהנאצים שאפו לרמוס את הציוויליזציה ולהשליט במקומה את “הגזע העליון” עלי אדמות, תוך השמדתו של העם היהודי – כך חותרת איראן להשתלט על האזור וממנו להתפשט הלאה, תוך כוונה מוצהרת להשמיד את מדינת היהודים. איראן מתקדמת בשני נתיבים: הראשון – פיתוח יכולת להתחמש בנשק גרעיני ובניית מאגר של טילים בליסטיים. השני – ייצוא של המהפכה החומייניסטית לארצות רבות, תוך שימוש מסיבי בטרור ובכיבוש של שטחים נרחבים במזרח התיכון. הכל גלוי לעין. הכל מתרחש לאור יום ולעיני המצלמות. ובכל זאת העיוורון גדול.

“כי הנה החושך יכסה ארץ, וערפל לאומים”, אומר הנביא ישעיהו. הנחישות והלקחים שנקנו בדמים רבים לפני שבעים שנה, כל אלה מתפוגגים היום. את מקומם תופסים החושך והערפל של הכחשת המציאות. ההסכם הרע שמתגבש עם איראן מלמד שהלקח ההיסטורי לא הופנם. מול פעולותיה האגרסיביות של איראן – המערב מוותר. במקום לדרוש פירוק משמעותי של יכולת הגרעין של איראן, מדינה שאומרת בפירוש שהיא הולכת להשמיד שישה מיליון יהודים כאן, ולא רק כאן, להשמיד הרבה מדינות והרבה משטרים – במקום לדרוש זאת ובמקום להתנות את הסרת המגבלות המוטלות עליה בהפסקת תוקפנותה – המעצמות נסוגות. הן משאירות בידי איראן את היכולות הגרעיניות שלה ואף מאפשרות לה להרחיבן בהמשך, ללא קשר למעשיה של איראן במזרח התיכון וברחבי העולם.

בעוד העולם התרבותי שוקע בתרדמת על מצע של אשליות –שליטי איראן מעודדים חתרנות וטרור, מפיצים הרס ומוות. למשמע המונים שקוראים בטהרן: “מוות לאמריקה, מוות לישראל” – המעצמות אוטמות את אוזניהן. למראה ההוצאות להורג של מתנגדי המשטר ובני קבוצות המיעוט באוכלוסייה, הן עוצמות את עיניהן. ונוכח החימוש המסיבי של ארגוני טרור, הן ממלאות פיהן מים. לכל היותר, הן משמיעות אמירה רפה למען הפרוטוקול.

בדקתי ומצאתי שלקראת יום הזיכרון לשואת עמנו, “התבשרנו” שבקרוב תתקיים בטהראן תחרות בינלאומית עם נציגים מחמישים ושש מדינות, תחרות נושאת פרסים של איורים העוסקים בהכחשת השואה של העם היהודי. האם על כך תישמע מחאה? במקרה הטוב, יישמע גינוי מינורי כדי לצאת ידי חובה.

מכובדיי, אזרחי ישראל ונציגי המדינות שאיתנו, סופה של האשליה הזאת להתנפץ. הממשלות הדמוקרטיות טעו טעות גורלית לפני מלחמת העולם השנייה, ואנחנו משוכנעים, אני חייב להגיד שיחד עם רבים משכנינו, שהן טועות טעות מרה גם עכשיו. ייתכן שהשותפות הזאת עם לא מעט משכנינו, השותפות בזיהוי האיומים, תהווה בסיס גם לשותפות ביצירת עתיד טוב יותר, בטוח יותר ושליו יותר באזורנו. בינתיים לא נירתע. נוסיף להתעקש על האמת, ונעשה כל מה שביכולתנו לפקוח את העיניים הנעצמות.

אינני רוצה להשלות אף אחד, עוד נכונו לנו ימי מבחן. אנחנו בעיצומו של מאבק גדול. מול העייפות, מול הרפיון, מול הכחשת המציאות –נתייצב במלוא כוחנו. בצד אלה שמסרבים להבין את עמדתנו, ישנם רבים אחרים שמזדהים איתנו. אבל גם אם ניאלץ לעמוד לבד, לא יירא לבנו. בכל תרחיש, בכל מצב, נשמור על זכותנו, נשמור על יכולתנו, נשמור על נחישותנו להגן על עצמנו.

לפני שבעים שנה היינו אומה של פליטי חרב, חסרי כוח וחסרי אפשרות להשמיע את קולנו. היום אנחנו משמיעים את דברנו, ואנחנו נחושים להבטיח את קיומנו ועתידנו. תפקידנו להיאבק בשואפים להשמידנו, ולא להרכין ראש בפניהם וגם לא להקל במציאות. לא ניתן שמדינת ישראל תהיה אפיזודה חולפת בתולדות עמנו.

מכובדיי, פגשתי היום במשרדי ניצול שואה בן שמונים וחמש – אברהם נידרהופר. אברהם נולד ברומניה, בגיל 12 היה עד לרצח מזעזע של קרובי משפחתו בידי חייל רומני. הוא נלקח ברכבת משא של בהמות לאוקראינה, שם שרד את השואה. רק ב-1969, בשל סירובם העקשני של השלטונות הקומוניסטיים ברומניה להרשות את יציאתו – הוא הגיע ארצה. בישראל עסק אברהם כמהנדס ומפקח בבניית המדינה. הוא סיפר לי את סיפורו בהתרגשות עצומה, לעתים הוא היה צריך לעצור מרוב התרגשות, ובסוף הפגישה הפציר בי: “ראש הממשלה”, הוא אמר, “תפקידך למנוע שואה נוספת”. והשבתי לו: “כך בדיוק אני רואה את אחריותי, כך בדיוק אני רואה את תפקידי”.

לפני שבעה עשורים הגיחו הניצולים מן המחנות, מן היערות, מצעדות המוות– רק בגדים בלים לגופם, כולם פצע וחבורה. כשניצבו אסירי המחנות מכל האומות למסדר השחרור, הם נשאלו על ידי חיילי בעלות-הברית לאן כל אחד מהם רוצה לחזור. הפולנים חזרו לפולין; הרוסים שבו לרוסיה; ההונגרים – להונגריה; האוקראינים – לאוקראינה. אלא שלהמוני יהודים כלל לא היה לאן לחזור. הם עמדו חסרי אונים, כי לא הייתה להם מדינה משלהם.

היום יש לנו מדינה משלנו – מדינה פורחת ומתקדמת. מדינה שיונקת ממורשת אבות וניצבת בחזית הידע העולמי. מדינה שמפיצה אור גדול. מדינה שלוקחת את גורלה בידיה. שבעים שנה אחרי גיאיות המוות, אנו מקדשים את החי, התוסס, היוצר, הפורח.

ישראל פורצת דרך בכל חזיתות הקדמה – במדע, ברפואה, בטכנולוגיה, בחקלאות, בחינוך ובתרבות – ואנחנו עושים זאת לא רק למען עמנו, אנחנו עושים זאת למען כל יושבי תבל. על אלה ייכון קיומנו – על המחויבות לביטחון ועתיד ישראל, על הדבקות במורשתנו, ועל אחדות העם שמפעם בו כוח חיים אדיר. עם ישראל שיצא משאול תחתיות –יכול לכל אתגר.

“התנערי מעפר קומי, לבשי בגדי תפארתך, עמי”. עם הנצח התנער מעפר, שב הביתה, זקף קומתו, הקים מדינה לתפארת והקים צבא לתפארת, צבא ההגנה לישראל, בו משרתים בנינו ובנותינו האמיצים והגיבורים.

נזכור את הנספים, נבטיח את החיים.

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