Full Text Israel Political Brief May 28, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement Strongly Condemns Brussels Jewish Museum Attack



PM Netanyahu Strongly Condemns Brussels Attack

Source: PMO, 5-25-14

יום כ”ד אייר תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, strongly condemns the murder that was perpetrated at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and shares in the grief of the families of the victims. “This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state. Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength,” the Prime Minister said.


Full Text Israel Political Brief May 25, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Pope Francis’s Arrival for Israel Visit



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

Source: PMO, 5-25-14
יום ראשון כ”ה אייר תשע”ד

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“We welcome the arrival of Pope Francis to the Land of Israel the Holy Land. His visit here is an opportunity to show the world the true Israel, the advanced, modern and tolerant Israel, in effect, the only country in the Middle East that ensures complete freedom of worship to those of all faiths, guards the holy places and ensures the rights of all – Jews, Muslims, Christians, everybody.

We appreciate the Pope’s strong stand against anti-Semitism, especially in light of the surging Jew hatred that we have witnessed in recent days. Last’s night’s murder in Brussels is the result of constant incitement against the State of Israel by various elements in the Middle East and in Europe itself. There are elements in Europe that rush to condemn the construction of a flat in Jerusalem but do not rush to condemn – or offer only weak condemnations of – the murder of Jews here or in Europe itself and, even worse, welcome unity with a terrorist element such as Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. We oppose such hypocrisy, we protest against it, we will continue to always state the truth, we will continue to fight terrorism and we will continue to build up our state.

Today, we will submit to the Cabinet a proposal to integrate the ultra-orthodox in the public workplace, in the public economy. We do this, the Economy Minister and I, for the benefit of the ultra-orthodox community and to integrate it into the general labor market. I think that this is the right step in the right direction and there will be other steps.”

Israel Political Brief February 13, 2014: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Speaks with UK Prime Minister David Cameron about Cancelled State Trip to Israel and Floods



Prime Minister Netanyahu Speaks with UK Prime Minister Cameron

Source: PMO,  2-13-14
יום חמישי י”ג אדר א תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and offered assistance in dealing with the storms affecting Great Britain. They agreed to coordinate on a new date for UK Prime Minister Cameron’s visit to Israel, which was due to take place next week but has been postponed due to the aforesaid storms.

Israel Political Brief February 12, 2014: EU Parliament President Martin Schultz’s address to the Knesset causes uproar and walkout



EU Parliament President Martin Schultz’s address to the Knesset causes uproar and walkout

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz adresses the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014.  (Photo credit: Flash90)

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz addresses the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014. (Photo credit: Flash90)

Leaders from Israel’s Right leaning parties, including Economics Minister Naftali Bennett and his Bayit Yehudi party left as European Parliament President Martin Schulz addressed the Knesset on the last day of his Israel visit and made incorrect statements about Palestinian freedoms and access to water.

The comment that caused Knesset members to be upset was when Shulz asked; “One of the questions these young people asked me which I found most moving – although I could not check the exact figures – was this: how can it be that an Israeli is allowed to use 70 litres of water per day, but a Palestinian only 17?”

Bennett demanded that Schulz apologize for his ‘lying propaganda,’ and PM Benjamin Netanyahu stated it was “selective hearing” on the part of the EU President.


“Lawmakers walk out of European Parliament president’s Knesset address,”  JTA, 2-12-14

“Netanyahu accuses EU Parliament chief of ‘selective hearing’ after Bennett walkout,” Haaretz, 2-12-14

Full Text Israel Political Brief February 12, 2014: European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s Speech Addressing the Knesset — Transcript



European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s Speech Addressing the Knesset

Source: Times of Israel, 2-12-14

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz adressess the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014.  (photo credit: Flash 90)

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz adressess the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on February 12, 2014. (photo credit: Flash 90)

I stand before you today as the German President of a multinational European Parliament. I am well aware that it is by no means self-evident that the German language should be heard in this House, and I should like to express to you my gratitude for allowing me to address you in my mother tongue.

It is a great honour for me to be in Jerusalem as a guest of the Knesset, the body which is the heartbeat of Israeli democracy, the body which symbolises the realisation of the hope cherished for so long by the Jewish people for a homeland of their own; following centuries in which the Jewish people were betrayed and persecuted throughout the world; following the unprecedented break with all civilised values which the Shoah represented; and following the barbaric murder of six million Jews.

I was born in 1955. I am a German who did not experience at first hand the atrocities of National Socialism, but the crimes committed by the Nazis were the reason I became involved in politics and their repercussions have influenced political thinking from the start. I bear the same responsibility as every other German for the mass murder perpetrated in the name of my nation. In the name of my nation, the Jewish people were forced to endure suffering for which no reparation can ever be made. I bow down before the memory of all those who were murdered.

As a German who holds political office, and international political office at that, I regard it as my first duty to honour the following pledge: Never again. Never forget.

We must make sure that the act of commemorating past disasters which have befallen humanity engenders a sense of responsibility for the present and the future, and that we let this sense of responsibility guide our actions.

Letting this sense of responsibility guide our actions means standing up for freedom, for democracy and for human dignity every day.

We are all witnessing with dismay a return to ways of thinking which we thought had long been consigned to history, in the form of anti-Semitism, ultra-nationalism and populism. This merely strengthens me in my conviction that we must stand firm together – every one of us – against all those who stir up hatred. I believe that what the philosopher Edmund Burke said still holds true: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’.

We have no choice, therefore, but to act responsibly. Acting responsibly means observing the principle enshrined in Germany’s Basic Law that ‘human dignity is sacrosanct’.

Acting responsibly means, for us, nurturing the European unification process, because integration between our States and our peoples was the response we Europeans found to the wars, destruction and murders which disfigured the first half of the 20th century. Unification and integration have helped us to banish the old demons and have immunised Europe against the threat of war.

Acting responsibly means, for us, openly acknowledging Israel’s right to exist and the right of the Jewish people to live in security and peace. The European Union will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.

Dear Members of the Knesset,
For the sake of our children and our children’s children we must remember. For the sake of future generations, who will never have the opportunity to talk with survivors of the Shoah, we need events and places which help us remember.

Yesterday I had a deeply moving experience. Together with Judge Gabriel Bach I visited the Yad Vashem memorial. I had the honour of meeting Judge Bach for the first time two years ago, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, which we celebrated at the European Parliament for the third time only a few weeks ago, together with members of the European Jewish Congress and survivors of the Shoah. I find Judge Bach’s life story very inspiring, and meeting him has restored my faith in justice. The fact that a 10-year-old boy who was driven from his homeland by a Nazi criminal in 1938 should later, as Deputy State Prosecutor of a democratic Israel, put that criminal, Adolf Eichmann, on trial, shows that there is such a thing as justice in this world. And that justice is something worth fighting for every day!

Ladies and gentlemen,
Israel embodies the hope cherished by a people of being able to live a life of freedom in a homeland of their own. As a result of the actions of brave men and women, Israel represents the realisation of that very human dream. Throwing off the shackles of prejudice and persecution, in order to live in freedom and dignity – this is a desire shared by many people throughout the world.

Today, Israel is a robust democracy, a vibrant, open society with all the conflicts that implies, and a modern economy. The kibbutzim which once made the desert bloom have been replaced by hundreds of start-ups and high-tech research centres in which work is being done which will lead to the inventions of the future; minute microchips and robots, computer tomography and ultrasound scanners. Israeli researchers are world leaders in many areas. Israel has only eight million inhabitants, but it can boast seven major research universities, including the Technion in Haifa and the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, and 12 Nobel Prize winners!

Israel has built a society founded on the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Israel and the European Union share these values. They are the ties which hold our partnership, our friendship, together. They are the basis for the answers we are seeking together to the challenges of the 21st century: climate change and water scarcity, refugee problems, peace and security. They are the basis for our scientific and economic cooperation.

If you will allow me, I will deal first with security and peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Arab Spring has brought with it revolutions and upheavals in the region which are presenting Israel and the EU with new challenges. Together, we can exert a positive influence on developments in our neighbourhood. This is a responsibility we cannot ignore.

The changes and upheavals I referred to a moment ago are leaving many people uneasy, and with good reason. Syria is experiencing an ever more brutal escalation of violence. The Assad regime would rather massacre its own population than give up power! Even children are being tortured and killed. The opposition is also guilty of perpetrating appalling massacres and recruiting child soldiers. We condemn the savage violence in the strongest possible terms. The killing must stop!

Two days ago in Jordan I visited the Al Zaatari camp, which houses 90 000 of the 2.2 million Syrian refugees. I was deeply shocked by the human suffering I witnessed there, but I was also deeply moved by the generosity which has led the States in this region to open their borders to refugees from the civil war and do whatever they can to provide them with food and a roof over their heads. Israel, too, is saving many lives by giving medical care to people damaged physically and mentally by the Syrian war. Sometimes I wish we in Europe would show the same kind of commitment.

But there are also grounds for hope: Tunisia’s new constitution is a document to gladden the hearts of all democrats. The EU will always support those who commit themselves to upholding democracy and universal human rights.

This sense of hope is creating a new opportunity to establish peace in the region.

I understand that bitter experience may make some people reluctant to extend the hand of peace. People in this chamber know much more about the Holocaust than I do. There are people in this chamber who risked their lives in wars waged to secure Israel’s survival. For years on end, Israel’s neighbours challenged its very right to exist.

No one has forgotten the open threats made against Israel by the last Iranian President, or the fact that not so long ago political gatherings in Tehran ended with the words ‘Death to Israel’.

For that reason I can readily understand why Israel regards an Iran which has the capability to launch nuclear missiles as a threat to its existence. That is a threat not just to Israel, but to world peace in general.

This is why the EU is monitoring the implementation of the preliminary agreement very closely. Let me assure you that there is one thing on which the EU and Israel agree: Iran must never acquire nuclear weapons. In our eyes, diplomacy and dialogue are the best way of ensuring that, since it is in all our interests that this issue should be resolved peacefully and that everything should be done to prevent another war in the Middle East.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Security is a very abstract concept, but it has an immediate impact on people’s lives.

We in Europe have little understanding of the physical and emotional scars which terrorism leaves behind, what it means for parents in Sderot and Ashkelon to live every day with the fear that their children may die in a rocket attack on their way to school. I was the father of children who could go to school without fear. For that reason, Israel has the right and the government the duty to protect its people. We condemn the rocket attacks on innocent people in the strongest possible terms. Terrorist attacks are crimes for which there is no justification.

It is only the peoples directly involved who can make peace in the Middle East. It is only the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves who can make peace between their two peoples. We Europeans support them on that difficult road, which will require both sides to make painful concessions.

We know that the Israeli people want peace. Courageous men such as Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres held out the hand of peace and signed agreements in Madrid and Oslo. The hopes embodied in those agreements have not always been fulfilled, and this has made some people pessimistic about the prospects for peace in the future. Others, only a small minority to be sure, are even actively working to scupper any peace agreement which might be signed.

On the Palestinian side as well, courageous men and women are working for peace. In recent years, building on their impressive ‘no violence’ policy, Mahmud Abbas and Salam Fayyad have developed modern institutions and done much to establish law and order.

Two days ago I spoke with young people in Ramallah. Like young people everywhere in the world, their dream is to train, study and travel, to find work and to start a family. But they have another dream as well, one which concerns something most young people take for granted: they want to be able to live freely in their own country, with no threat of violence, with no restrictions on their freedom of movement. The Palestinian people, like the Israeli people, have the right to fulfil their dream of creating their own viable democratic state. The Palestinians, just like the Israelis, have the right to self-determination and justice.

One of the questions these young people asked me which I found most moving – although I could not check the exact figures – was this: how can it be that an Israeli is allowed to use 70 litres of water per day, but a Palestinian only 17?

(In the wake of this question, members of the right-wing Jewish Home party heckled Shultz, with Moti Yogev MK declaring “that’s a lie, the Palestinians are lying,” and several walked out of the chamber. Left-wing MKs later criticized them for their behavior.)

Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, the upheavals in the Middle East are creating a new opportunity for peace.

The future of young Palestinians, but also the future of young Israelis, hinges on the way Israel responds to these changes.

For without peace there can be no security. Military power can quell disorder, but it cannot create peace.

Ariel Sharon, may he rest in peace, said something for which I admire him: ‘It is impossible to have a Jewish democratic state, and at the same time to control all of Eretz Israel. If we insist on fulfilling the dream in its entirety, we are liable to lose it all.’

From the outset, the whole rationale behind the two-State solution proposal was to make it possible for the Palestinian people to live in dignity, and on the basis of self-determination, and to safeguard peace and security for all Israelis. Despite all the obstacles in the way of its achievement, we must remain true to the objective, born out of a desire to build a better future, which the two-State solution represents. Even if this objective is achieved, the security of the Israeli state will remain an issue of major importance.

For that reason, we support the US commitment to mediation and the tireless work being done by Secretary of State John Kerry.

One of the main bones of contention is Israel’s settlement policy. As you are no doubt aware, both the European Parliament and the United Nations have adopted numerous resolutions which criticise the ongoing process of building and expanding settlements and call for it to be halted. In the eyes of the EU and the entire international community, the fact that East Jerusalem is cut off from the West Bank is certainly an obstacle on the road to a peaceful settlement.

The blockade of the Gaza Strip is your response to attacks on Israeli civilians and I can understand that. But it is stifling all economic development and driving people to despair – despair which in turn is being exploited by extremists. The blockade may in fact undermine, rather than strengthen, Israel’s security.

How can we break the vicious circle of violence?
This was the question which lent the initial impetus to the European unification process, and the founding fathers of the European Union came up with the answer. My grandparents’ generation would have regarded reconciliation with the arch enemy France as impossible. But the impossible came to pass, through a simple acknowledgement of the fact that if Europe was not to continue tearing itself apart on the battlefield we Europeans had no choice but to make peace and work together. I believe that if we want to grant people a life in dignity there is no alternative to peace for the Israelis and Palestinians today.

It was because our neighbours were prepared to hold out the hand of reconciliation to Germany, which had started the war in the first place, that Germany was able to find its place in the international community once again and become a stable democracy. As Yitzhak Rabin put it so aptly, ‘peace is something you make with your enemies, not with your friends’.

Yes, we achieved reconciliation. Then, through the efforts of courageous men and women, who planned for and organised peace, the idea took root in people’s hearts and trust grew.

I firmly believe that a negotiated settlement, the outcome of which is an Israeli State and a Palestinian State living side by side in peace, is realistic. The European Union believes this as well, which is why, once a definitive peace agreement has been signed, we have pledged to provide unprecedented support, in the form of funding and human resources, under a special privileged partnership. The agreement reached by the Foreign Ministers in December will also afford Israel and a future State of Palestine easier access to the European market, will facilitate trade and investment, will enhance cultural and scientific exchanges and will lead to closer cooperation in the area of security. Let me seize this opportunity to make a clarification: the EU has no intention to boycott Israel. I am of the conviction that what we need is more cooperation, not division.

All too often issues of security and peace overshadow other aspects of our relations which are hugely important for people in Israel and Europe – social justice and equal opportunities are cases in point.

The financial and economic crisis has brought with it increased levels of poverty and unemployment in Europe. Huge numbers of young people are jobless, and as a result more and more of them are losing faith in politics. This is hardly surprising if we consider that the most open-minded and best educated generation which Europe has ever had is watching as its prospects are destroyed by a crisis for which it was in no way to blame.

Everywhere, even in countries whose economies are performing well, poverty and despair are spreading to the middle classes and the weakest members of society are being marginalised more and more. The marches of the indignados which reached our capitals in spring 2011 were repeated a few months later in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Giving young people fresh hope in a better future is certainly our most important task as politicians. To do this, we must also safeguard the competitiveness of our economies in the globalised 21st century. Only in this way will jobs – good jobs – be created.

Our economic ties are already close. The EU is Israel’s most important trading partner and our cooperation in the area of research, science and technology is the basis for our future economic strength. Our competitiveness in a globalised world will hinge on two things – innovation and education.

The Israeli-European research community is already into its third generation and its members are forging ever closer links. Israel’s formal involvement in the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, which will start soon, will take our cooperation to a new level. Horizon 2020 is the largest research and innovation programme there has ever been. It promises to yield more breakthroughs and discoveries because it will provide backing for every stage in the process of turning ideas tested in the laboratory into marketable products. Scientific cooperation is already the most successful aspect of our partnership. I am convinced that as a result of our cooperation under Horizon 2020 new records will be set. I am also particularly delighted that more and more Israeli students are taking part in the Erasmus Mundus exchange programme.

You and I are the heirs of the founding generation of the State of Israel and of the European Union. We must safeguard that heritage.

Parents all over the world are prepared to make sacrifices for their children, to do everything they can to give them a good future. It is now up to us, the heirs, to show the same boldness, drive and vision in safeguarding the State of Israel and the European Union for future generations. The words which should guide us in that endeavour are those spoken by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Willy Brandt, a man who fought against Nazi Germany and knelt before the memorial to the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. ‘Peace is not everything, but without peace there is nothing.’

Israel Musings January 13, 2013: World, Israeli leaders react to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s death



After over a week of where his health rapidly deteriorated, Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (2001-2006) died at age 85 Saturday afternoon 2 p.m. Israel time on Jan. 11, 2014 eight years after entering a coma from…READ MORE

Israel Musings December 3, 2013: Netanyahu meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican, discusses Iran, peace talks



Netanyahu meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican, discusses Iran, peace talks

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally had an audience with new Pope Francis on Monday morning, Dec. 2, 2013 at the Vatican while Netanyahu is on an official trip to Italy. At the 25-minute meeting Netanyahu and the Pope…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 18, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Knesset Special Session in Honor of the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande



PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Knesset Special Session in Honor of the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande

Source: PMO, 11-18-13
יום שני ט”ו כסלו תשע”ד

Photo by GPO


Mr. President, my friend, Francois Hollande, welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome to the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years. The people of the State of Israel greet your arrival with fondness, with feelings of genuine friendship. You said yesterday that you are a true friend of Israel; I agree. We thank you for your strong support of our efforts to fortify Israel’s security and to establish a true peace with our neighbors. We appreciate your position that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is a danger not only to Israel but to the entire world.

Mr. President, yesterday as you arrived in Israel, I said that France’s contribution to human culture was tremendous and indeed it is. Philosophers such as Descartes and Montaigne, men of science such as Lavoisier and Laplace, encyclopedists such as Diderot and Voltaire – I can tell you personally that my father was the editor of the Hebrew Encyclopedia and he always spoke of their contributions, and those of statesmen such as Montesquieu and de Tocqueville, medical researchers such as Louis Pasteur and Marie Curie, writers such as Victor Hugo and Emile Zola, artists such as Renoir and Rodin, and the list goes on and on – what a contribution to humanity.

However, few know of France’s unique contribution to Zionism.
I previously wrote about how support by the leading countries of the world for Zionism began at the turn of the 20th century. It was anchored in a new vision of the Jewish people, one that developed following the period of enlightenment and revolution in France.

The philosophers of the time emphasized the natural rights and freedoms of each and every person. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the greatest philosophers and intellectuals of the Enlightenment of the 18th century, well understood the unique status of the Jewish people.

The Jews, he wrote, represented an irregular situation: Athens, Sparta and Rome had been destroyed and had passed from the world, their peoples disappearing from the planet, but Zion did not lose its children. And Rousseau, who espoused rights for everyone, then took care to add the following sentence. He said, “I will never believe that I am hearing a serious argument by the Jews as long as they do not have a free country, and their own schools and universities where they can express themselves and argue without fear – only then can we know what they have to say”.
With this statement, Rousseau was among the first people to tie personal freedom with national freedom, and this perception only grew stronger during the 19th century: that only the national rehabilitation of the Jewish people in the Jewish homeland would lead to a real resolution to the problem of the Jewish people. It would return the Jews to a normal status, not only as a nation, but also as individuals, just as Rousseau thought.

Even Napoleon, it is said, shared the desire to see the Jews return to their land, at least that is what the Zionist leaders believed when they quoted a statement attributed to Napoleon in 1799, when his army was only 40 kilometers from Jerusalem. “Hasten, Jews! Now is the moment… to claim… your political existence as a nation among the nations”. This attitude was strengthened later by French writers and poets who visited Israel, like the well-known French poet Lamartine, who wrote with great emotion, “This is Judea; this is the place of the Jewish people”.

Mr. President, the Speaker of the Knesset rightly mentioned the impact the Dreyfus trial and the rising anti-Semitism at the end of the 19th century had as one of the factors that motivated Herzl to pursue political Zionism, but just as important was the impact of positive factors on the Jewish people, such as Emile Zola, who stood forcefully against anti-Semitism, and French President Clemenceau, who enthusiastically supported the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel at the Versailles Conference in 1919.

This was also the attitude of the wonderful French journalist, Albert Londres. Londres visited Israel in 1929, after he passed through many Jewish communities in Europe. He saw the poverty of the Jews in the East and he also saw their lack of security in the West. Londres arrived in Israel and wrote, “Whoever sees the children of Abraham in the Carpathians or on the Vistula River, and 15 days later arrives on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean discovers that they have become the children of Theodor Herzl and feels a thrill of amazement. A Jew had a dream; he saw his miserable brothers and sisters tear off their chains, take flight, cross the sea and rejuvenate their image on the land of their forefathers – they were slaves, now they will be free. In their souls, shame has been replaced by pride. Confidence will take the place of fear, and each of them can shout from their windows, ‘I am a Jew, this is my glory'”.

Londres, who was perhaps the greatest journalist in France during the modern era, certainly of the 20th century, was perceptive and in 1929 recognized clearly the depth of Arab resistance to Jewish settlement as it was taking shape in the Land of Israel. He visited in Tel Aviv, wandering the streets, becoming enthused by what he saw, and he wrote, “In 1908, there was not a single home here. In 1929, there are nearly 5,000. ‘I shall rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt’ is written on the town’s seal”. Then he added, “From the day the first stone was laid, the Arab answered, ‘I will destroy you and you shall be destroyed'”.

I remind you, my friends, in 1929, there were no so-called “settlements”, as they are called today. The true desire of our enemies was to drive us out of Tel Aviv and indeed out of every place in this land. Well, they did not succeed – not to drive us out of Tel Aviv and not to destroy us. They did not succeed in preventing the establishment of the State of Israel, but even when the country was established, they did not stop trying to achieve their goal. And here, Mr. President, we had the help of France – during the period of the underground organizations, before the establishment of the country, during the first fateful years of its existence, France stood by our side. I think there is one person who can testify to this more than any other and that is our President, Shimon Peres, who played a central role in developing the relationship between Israel and France. Since those early years, there have been ups and down in our relations, but I must say that the fundamental ties between Israel and France have never been undermined.

Mr. President, in this house I have said several times that I accept the solution of two states for two peoples in the framework of a genuine peace that puts an end to the conflict, alongside strong security arrangements for Israel. Not all members of this house agree with this statement, but most of us agree on one thing: for the peace to be genuine, it must be a two-way street. The Jews cannot be asked to recognize a Palestinian nation-state without a demand that the Palestinians recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Sir, just hours ago, you met with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. I call on him from here today: let us break the stalemate, come to the Israeli Knesset and I will come to Ramallah. Stand at this podium and recognize the historic truth. The Jews have a connection with the Land of Israel stretching back nearly 4,000 years. The Jews are a people with the right for self-definition. Genuine peace will end all Palestinian claims on the State of Israel, including national claims on the country’s territory and sovereignty.

Mr. President, genuine peace is the aspiration of every person in Israel, and that includes hundreds of thousands of French speakers who immigrated to Israel – they are an integral part of our country, our society, our economy and all fields. This community has made a tremendous contribution to establishing the State of Israel and ensuring its future. Its sons and daughters have strong ties with their brothers and sisters, members of the large Jewish community in France. Unfortunately, the community in France must face anti-Semitic harassment. And I know, my friend Francois, you are acting tirelessly with determination and perseverance to stop this phenomenon.

Yesterday, we visited Yad Vashem together and I saw how closely you studied the depictions of the horrors and I witnessed your emotion. I also remember our emotional visit to Toulouse after the horrifying massacre at the Jewish school there. I would like to tell you again here: no attempt to frighten us or destroy us or uproot us from this place – no such attempt will succeed. The State of Israel is strong, am Israel chai [the people of Israel live].

My friend Francois, welcome to our country.
Bienvenue á la Knesset, Bienvenue á Jérusalem.

Israel Political Brief November 18, 2013: Netanyahu, Hollande Make Landmark Speeches in Knesset



Netanyahu, Hollande Make Landmark Speeches in Knesset

Source: Arutz 7, 11-18-13

PM demands Abbas visit Knesset, publicly recognize Israel as a Jewish state; Hollande supports French Jews – and “dual”Jerusalem….READ MORE

Israel Musings November 18, 2013: France backs Israel’s position on Iran nuclear weapons deal



France backs Israel’s position on Iran nuclear weapons deal

By Bonnie K. Goodman

French President Francois Hollande landed in Israel on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 on a three-day visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres where the main topic of conversation was the Iran nuclear weapons talks and…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief September 8, 2013: EU sending diplomats to Israel to talk about new settlement guidelines



EU sending diplomats to Israel to talk about new settlement guidelines

Source: JTA, 9-8-13

The European Union will send to Israel a diplomatic team to talk to Israeli officials about implementing the EU’s new settlement guidelines….READ MORE

Israel Musings August 9, 2013: Israel decides to refuse any EU agreements with settlement guidelines



Israel decides to refuse any EU agreements with settlement guidelines

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israel decided on August 8, 2013 that it will boycott any agreement with the European Union (EU) unless they drop major stipulations of the guidelines they published last month which cuts off funding and projects to any area beyond Israel….READ MORE

Israel Musings July 30, 2013: EU faces backlash from Israel for sanction guidelines beyond 1967 borders



EU faces backlash from Israel for sanction guidelines beyond 1967 borders

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israel is retaliating back at the European Union for issuing guidelines against the areas beyond the 1967 borders. On Friday, July 26, 2013 Israel prevented European Union workers from entering the West Bank for projects to aid Palestinians. Israel…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 18, 2013: Full text of the European Union’s guidelines for Israel’s settlements and areas beyond the 1967 borders



Full text of the European Union’s settlement guidelines

New directives prohibit Israeli companies located beyond the 1967 lines from receiving prizes, grants, or financing

Source: Times of Israel, 7-18-13

The Times of Israel has obtained a copy of the new European Union directive concerning EU funding for entities established beyond the 1967 border lines including the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.

Israel Political Brief June 13, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Auschwitz: Israel will defend itself



Netanyahu at Auschwitz: Israel will defend itself

Source: USA TODAY, AP, 6-13-13

In a defiant speech coming from the place symbolizing the suffering of Jews during World War II, Israel’s prime minister warned on Thursday that the Jewish state will do everything to prevent another Holocaust and to defend itself….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 12, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Inter-Governmental Consultations in Poland הצהרת ראש הממשלה בוורשה, פולין



Remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Inter-Governmental Consultations in Poland

Source: PMO, 6-12-13

Prime Minister Tusk,

My friend Donald.

I very much appreciate your warm hospitality to me, to the ministers of the Israeli government and to my delegation. I appreciate your friendship to my country, to my people and to me, personally.

You know Donald.  I think I’ve made about half a dozen visits to Poland.  Each time I come here, I am impressed with the tremendous increase in the standard of living, in the achievements of Poland as a country and as a society, against sometimes very difficult odds.  But you have shown great initiative, great success, and it reminds me of my own country.  And each time that we meet, I am impressed both with your friendship to me personally, but also your deep sympathy to the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

You know, I told you over our meetings that my  late father was born in Warsaw in 1910.  This was when my Grandfather came here to be the head of Hebrew studies in the great, the most eminent Jewish school of Warsaw at the time.  My father studied in that school.  Warsaw was a great center of Jewish learning, of Jewish culture, of Jewish life.  So the histories of our two peoples are intertwined over a thousand years – in great achievement, great beauty as you just said correctly and also great tragedy.

The murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis on Polish soil is a crime that has no parallel in history.  Tomorrow, I will participate in the opening ceremony of the Jewish exhibit at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  We will never forget the victims of the Holocaust; we will never forget the ultimate crime against humanity; we will never forget the crime perpetrated against our people; and we will never forget our obligation to prevent this from ever happening again.

I would like to thank you, Donald, personally, and the Polish government for your support of this important project of remembrance, and also for your support of the Jewish Museum in Warsaw.  I know your own personal involvement in this and it is something that is important to set history right and to give justice to those who deserve it.  I think this is a moral act and an important act in today’s world which seeks to deny the Holocaust.  We know that during those years of horror, the Nazi invasion brought terrible suffering to the Polish people, and we stand here today when both our peoples have overcome adversity.

Today, we see a strong and free Poland and a strong and free Israel.  We are two confident, prosperous democracies.  There are different counts of how many genuine democracies are in the world, but there is no question that Poland and Israel are among them, and I think not coincidently we are two prosperous, free democratic societies that have a common invested interest with each other.  We are both shaped by our past, and we are both focusing together on shaping our future.

And the future in this fast changing technological world belongs to those who innovate.  That is why I am here today in Warsaw.  I believe we have much to gain by strengthening our cooperation.  We have free economies and a proven capacity for enterprise and technological achievement.  This is the key to competitive advantage in today’s world and in tomorrow’s world.  We cooperate in all these areas: in the economy, in science, in trade, and on the level of people – youth exchanges as you mentioned, education, culture.  And we also cooperate in diplomacy and security.  On security and on defense matters, you correctly said that we have constantly improved our cooperation and we will continue to do so.

And in the quest for peace, we share a common desire.  Both Poland and Israel want peace.  Everyone in Israel wants peace.  I want peace.

To achieve peace, we must negotiate peace.  This is why we both support the efforts of the American Secretary of State John Kerry to restart the peace negotiations.  We want to see this American effort succeed.  Israel is ready for the resumption of direct negotiations for peace without pre-conditions.  I think it is time to stop squabbling over preconditions.  I think it’s time to stop negotiating about the negotiations.  I think we have to start peace talks immediately.

My goal is to see a historic compromise that ends the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians once and for all.  This will entail a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, with iron clad security arrangements for Israel – recognition, security, demilitarization.  I believe that these are the elements for peace.  I don’t pose them as preconditions for negotiations.  I look forward to enter those negotiations without preconditions without delay.  I am ready for such a peace.  I hope the Palestinians are ready too.

Prime Minister,

We both agree on the importance of preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapons capability.  We agree that the pressure on Iran must be significantly increased.  Recently, as we just spoke, we have all seen what happens when a rogue regime enters the nuclear age.  In East Asia, vis-à-vis North Korea, tough talk and sanctions were not enough. The same is true of Iran, which is much more dangerous than North Korea.  To stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions, sanctions alone will not be enough.  They must be coupled with a credible military threat.  The Iranian regime must understand that, one way or the other, it will be prevented from completing its nuclear weapons program.

And as for the so-called “elections” taking place in Iran this week – some election.  They decide who the candidates are.  That’s an interesting concept but we’re not going to adopt it.  So as for these so-called elections taking place in Iran this week, well unfortunately, they will change nothing of significance.

This regime will continue to be led by one man, one ruler, who will continue Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.  This is a regime that sponsors terrorism around the world, that actively participates in the murder in Syria, that is building ICMB’s to reach Europe and America, and that seeks to control the energy markets of the world and the flow of Middle East oil.  On top of all this, this is a regime that is building nuclear weapons with the express purpose to annihilate Israel’s six million Jews.

We will not allow this to happen.  We will never allow another Holocaust.

On Syria, both our countries are concerned about the terrible carnage occurring in that country.  Israel is not a party to the internal conflict in Syria.  But Israel will defend itself if attacked, and we reserve the right to act if our national security is threatened.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Poland and Israel agree that terrorism must be defeated.  Recently we have seen terrorist operations on European soil.  In Bulgaria, innocent tourists were murdered in a brutal attack initiated, planned and carried out by Hezbollah.  In Cyprus, local authorities arrested a Hezbollah operative that was in the process of planning an identical attack.  Hezbollah-Iranian terrorist activity is not limited to Europe.  We see it across the globe –in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia even in the United States of America.

Today, Europe faces the question of whether to officially define Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.  What a question.  If Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization, I don’t know what a terrorist organization is, but it’s not just an Israeli problem.  Hezbollah has murdered innocent civilians on European soil.  And Europe cannot, must not, be indifferent to this.

Prime Minister Tusk, Donald,

Both Poland and Israel have fought hard for independence and freedom.  We take neither for granted.  Working together I think we can enhance our freedoms, provide greater prosperity for our peoples, and strive for security and peace for all.  I know that in you, we have a partner for all these great tasks which are a common mission of our peoples.

Once again, I want to thank you for your hospitality and friendship, and I look forward to welcoming you and your ministers, well as we say, next year in Jerusalem.

Thank you again for your hospitality.  Thank you.

הצהרת ראש הממשלה בוורשה, פולין

Source:  PMO, 6-12-13

יום רביעי ד’ תמוז תשע”ג

צילום: לע”מ לחץ להגדלה
צילום: לע”מ


ראש הממשלה טאסק, ידידי דונאלד, אני מעריך מאוד את קבלת הפנים החמה שהענקת לי, לשרי ממשלת ישראל ולחברי משלחתי. אני מעריך את ידידותך כלפי מדינת ישראל, כלפי עם ישראל וכלפיי אישית.

כפי שידוע לך, דונאלד, דומני שביקרתי בפולין לפחות שש פעמים. בכל פעם שאני בא לפולין אני מתרשם מהשיפור המשמעותי ברמת החיים פה ובהישגים של פולין הן כמדינה והן כחברה, לפעמים כנגד סיכויים קשים. הפגנתם יוזמה גדולה והצלחה רבה, וזה מזכיר לי את ישראל. כל פעם שאנחנו נפגשים אני מתרשם גם מידידותך כלפיי וגם מההזדהות העמוקה שלך כלפי העם היהודי והמדינה היהודית. במהלך המפגשים שלנו, סיפרתי לך שאבי המנוח נולד בוורשה ב-1910. זה היה כשסבי הגיע לפולין כדי לשמש מנהל לימודי העברית בבית הספר היהודי הנודע של ורשה. אבי למד באותו בית ספר. ורשה הייתה מרכז גדול של למידה יהודית, תרבות יהודית וחיים יהודיים. תולדות שני עמינו היו שזורים זה בזה במשך אלף שנה – בהישגים אדירים, וכפי שאמרת, יופי אדיר, וגם בטרגדיה אדירה.

לרציחתם של מיליוני יהודים בידי הנאצים על אדמת פולין אין אח ורע בהיסטוריה. מחר, אשתתף בטקס הפתיחה של הביתן היהודי באושוויץ-בירקנאו. לעולם לא נשכח את קורבנות השואה. לעולם לא נשכח את הפשע הנורא ביותר נגד האנושות. לעולם לא נשכח את הפשע שבוצע נגד עמנו. ולעולם לא נשכח את מחויבותנו למנוע הישנותה של טרגדיה כזאת.

אני מבקש להודות לך באופן אישי, דונאלד, ולממשלת פולין, על תמיכתה בפרויקט זיכרון חשוב זה, וגם על תמיכתך במוזיאון היהודי בוורשה. אני מודע להתערבותך האישית בפרויקט זה, וזה דבר חשוב לעמוד על דיוקה של ההיסטוריה ולהעניק צדק לאנשים שמגיע להם צדק. מדובר במהלך מוסרי וחשוב בעולם של היום, עולם שבו מנסים להכחיש את השואה.

אנו יודעים שבמהלך אותן שנים נוראות, הפלישה הנאצית המיטה סבל רב על העם הפולני, ואנו עומדים פה היום כאשר שני עמינו התגברו על מצוקות. היום, אנו רואים פולין חזקה וחופשייה וישראל חזקה וחופשייה. שתינו דמוקרטיות, בטוחות ומשגשגות. לפעמים יש חילוקי דעות לגבי מספר הדמוקרטיות האמיתיות בעולם, אולם אין כל ספק שפולין וישראל נמנות ביניהן. זה לא מקרי שיש לנו חברות משגשגות, חופשיות ודמוקרטיות, ולשתיהן אינטרס משותף אחת עם השנייה. שנינו עוצבנו על ידי עברנו, אולם אנו ממוקדים בעיצוב פני העתיד.

במאה זו, המאופיינת בשינויים טכנולוגיים מהירים, העתיד שייך לממציאים. זו הסיבה שאני נמצא כאן היום בוורשה. אני מאמין כי נוכל להפיק תועלת רבה מחיזוק שיתוף הפעולה בינינו. יש לנו כלכלות חופשיות ויכולת מוכחת להישגים טכנולוגיים. זה המפתח ליתרון תחרותי בעולם של היום ובעולם של מחר. אנו משתפים פעולה בכל התחומים הללו: בכלכלה, במדע, במסחר, וגם ברמה האנושית – בחילופי נוער כפי שציינת, בחינוך ובתרבות. אנו משתפים פעולה גם בדיפלומטיה ובענייני ביטחון והגנה. אמרת בצדק שאנו משפרים את שיתוף הפעולה בינינו כל הזמן, ונמשיך כך.

לשתי מדינותינו גם רצון משותף לשלום. ישראל ופולין רוצות שלום. כל אחד בישראל רוצה שלום. אני רוצה שלום. על מנת להשיג שלום יש לנהל משא ומתן לשלום. זו הסיבה ששנינו תומכים במאמציו של מזכיר המדינה האמריקני ג’ון קרי להביא לחידוש המשא ומתן. אנו רוצים לראות בהצלחת המאמצים האמריקניים. ישראל מוכנה לחידוש המשא ומתן הישיר לשלום ללא תנאים מוקדמים. הגיע הזמן להפסיק את הוויכוח על תנאים מוקדמים. הגיע הזמן להפסיק לשאת ולתת בקשר למשא ומתן. הבה נפתח בשיחות באופן מיידי.

היעד שלי הוא להגיע לפשרה היסטורית שתשים קץ לסכסוך בין ישראל לפלסטינים אחת ולתמיד.
זה מצריך מדינה פלסטינית מפורזת המכירה במדינה היהודית, עם הסדרי ביטחון הדוקים לישראל. הכרה, ביטחון והפרזה – לדעתי אלו המרכיבים לשלום. אינני מציב אותם כתנאים מקדימים למשא ומתן. אני מצפה לחדש את המשא ומתן ללא תנאים מוקדמים באופן מיידי. אני מוכן לשלום מסוג זה. אני מקווה שגם הפלסטינים מוכנים.

ראש הממשלה, שנינו מסכימים על חשיבות המאמץ למנוע מאיראן להשיג נשק גרעיני. אנו מסכימים כי יש להגביר באופן משמעותי את הלחץ על איראן. כולנו ראינו לאחרונה מה קורה כאשר שלטון חשוך נכנס לעידן הגרעיני. במזרח אסיה עם קוריאה הצפונית, דיבורים חריפים וסנקציות לא הספיקו.

הדבר נכון גם לגבי איראן, המסוכנת פי כמה מצפון קוריאה. כדי לשים קץ לשאיפות הגרעיניות של איראן, סנקציות לכשעצמן לא יספיקו. יש לשלב את הסנקציות עם איום צבאי אמין. המשטר האיראני חייב להבין שבדרך זו או אחרת, לא יתאפשר לו להשלים את תכניתו להשגת נשק גרעיני. ובאשר ל”בחירות” כביכול המתקיימות באיראן השבוע, אפשר לחשוב – “בחירות”. הם בוחרים מיהם המתמודדים. זה רעיון מעניין אבל לא נאמץ אותו. למרבה הצער, הן לא יניבו שום שינוי משמעותי. המשטר ימשיך להיות מובל על ידי אדם אחד, שליט אחד, שימשיך את המרוץ של איראן לעבר פצצה גרעינית. מדובר במשטר הנותן חסות לטרור ברחבי העולם, נוטל חלק פעיל בטבח בסוריה, בונה טילים בליסטיים בין-יבשתיים במטרה להגיע לאירופה ואמריקה, וחותר להשתלט על שווקי האנרגיה העולמיים ובנפט במזרח התיכון. ובנוסף לכל זאת, מדובר במשטר הבונה נשק גרעיני במטרה מוצהרת להשמיד את ששת מיליוני היהודים בישראל.
לא נאפשר לזה לקרות. לעולם לא נאפשר שואה נוספת.

באשר לסוריה, ישראל ופולין מודאגות מהטבח הנורא המתחולל במדינה מיוסרת זאת. ישראל אינה צד בסכסוך הפנימי בסוריה. אולם ישראל תגן על עצמה אם תותקף, ואנו שומרים לעצמנו את הזכות לפעול במקרה של איום על ביטחוננו הלאומי.

גבירותיי ורבותיי, פולין וישראל מסכימות כי יש להכריע את הטרור. ראינו לאחרונה פעולות טרור על אדמת אירופה. בבולגריה נרצחו תיירים חפים מפשע במתקפה אכזרית שנהגתה, תוכננה ובוצעה על ידי החיזבאללה. בקפריסין עצרו הרשויות המקומיות פעיל חיזבאללה בעיצומן של הכנות לקראת מתקפה זהה. פעילות הטרור של איראן-חיזבאללה אינה מוגבלת לאירופה בלבד. אנו רואים אותה בכל רחבי הגלובוס – במזרח התיכון, באפריקה, באסיה ואפילו באמריקה. היום, אירופה ניצבת בפני השאלה האם להגדיר באופן רשמי את החיזבאללה כארגון טרור. איזו שאלה!
אם חיזבאללה אינו ארגון טרור, אינני יודע מהו ארגון טרור. החיזבאללה אינו רק בעיה של ישראל. חיזבאללה רצח על אדמת אירופה. אסור לה, אל לה לאירופה להיות אדישה לכך.

ראש הממשלה טאסק, דונלד, פולין וישראל לחמו שתיהן רבות למען עצמאות וחירות. איננו לוקחים אף אחד מאלה כמובן מאליו. אם נפעל יחד, נוכל לחזק את חירותנו, להיטיב עם עמינו ולחתור לביטחון ושלום לכולם. אני יודע שאתה תהווה שותף לכל המשימות הללו שהן משימות המשותפות לשני עמינו. אני מבקש להודות לך שוב על קבלת הפנים ועל הידידות. אני מצפה לקבל את פניך ואת פני שריך, כפי שנהוג אצלנו לומר – בשנה הבאה בירושלים.

תודה רבה שוב על קבלת הפנים.


Jewish Political Brief June 3, 2013: Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov Addresses AJC Global Forum



Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Mammadyarov Addresses AJC Global Forum

Source: AJC, 6-3-13

Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, addressing an audience of more than 1,500 at the AJC Global Forum, spoke about his country’s close ties to Israel and important strategic relationship with the U.S.

“Azerbaijan is a natural bridge that connects various civilizations and cultures,” said Mammadyarov. “Azerbaijan serves as a critical link for outreach to the Muslim world for our partners like the United States and Israel.”…READ MORE

Jewish Political Brief June 3, 2013: Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos Addresses AJC Global Forum




Greek Foreign Minister Addresses AJC Global Forum

Source: AJC, 6-3-13

H.E. Dimitris Avramopoulos Foreign Minister of Greece

H.E. Dimitris Avramopoulos

“Greece will never allow hate to grow and spread. Hate will be confronted and stopped,” said Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, referring to rising anti-Semitism in Europe. FULL SPEECH

Israel Political Brief June 3, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Poland in spite of labor dispute



Netanyahu to visit Poland in spite of labor dispute

Source: Jerusalem Post, 6-3-13

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is going ahead with plans to visit Poland next week, even though Foreign Ministry officials are not providing any preparatory or logistical support for the visit because of an ongoing labor dispute….READ MORE

Jewish Political Brief June 2, 2013: American Jewish Committee AJC Global Forum Day 1 Highlights



AJC Global Forum

Sunday, June 2, Highlights

Source: AJC, 6-2-13

The 2013 AJC Global Forum opened Sunday evening with moving addresses from three key foreign ministers who personally, and whose countries, have deep, ongoing ties with AJC….READ MORE

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