Full Text Israel Political Brief January 1, 2016: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Session Marking 40 Years Since the Late President Chaim Herzog’s Speech to the UN



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Session Marking 40 Years Since the Late President Chaim Herzog’s Speech to the UN

Source: PMO, 1-5-16
Chaim Herzog was one of our preeminent delegates and representatives to the United Nations. The 40 years that have passed since the dramatic day of November 10, 1975, did not blunt the impression of deep polarization that characterized that day. On the one hand, the United Nations displayed an unprecedented low moral standard, and on the other hand is Ambassador Herzog’s proud and admirable stand.

I will start with the UN Resolution which stated, and I quote, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. Any reasonable person understood that Zionism was not the only target of this ridiculous attack. Those poisonous arrows equally, and in fact first and foremost, targeted the State of Israel, which is the embodiment of the Zionist idea.

These two targets were perceived as a single one. The Arab countries, the producers of petroleum, were hostile towards Israel since the day of its establishment, and they joined forces with the Soviet Union. They brought countries from Asia and Africa into their ranks and brought their slanderous campaign to its peak, which only intensified after our victory. Their failure to defeat us on the battlefield through the use of arms jumpstarted a new effort to try and undermine the just and moral foundation for Israel’s existence, thereby gradually leading to the country’s destruction.

It was an absurd group – an absurd display and an absurd group. A group of anti-democratic countries that trample on human rights, encourage terrorism and that are infected with anti-Semitism. This group was terribly hypocritical in vilifying Israel – a democratic country that upholds freedom and democracy as sacred values and extends its hand in peace to all its neighbors.

There was another party that provided a platform for this libel about racism – I am talking about the United Nations naturally. The United Nations was formed after World War II to promote friendship among the nations and prevent tragedies similar to the ones that had transpired during the years of the war.

Unfortunately, the United Nations quickly transformed into an organization that reinforces the divisions between countries and blocs. In many cases, not only did it not facilitate conflict resolution, it deepened conflicts by adopting resolutions that almost always sided with only one side, that of tyranny versus democracy. This is what the automatic majority in the UN means and it was true in this case as well. The outrageous comparison between Zionism and racism was a turning point, not so much in the history of the UN, but rather in the history of global anti-Semitism.

Until then, hatred of Jews found expression in different countries or lands, for instance in medieval England, Spain during the inquisition, France during the Dreyfuss trial, Ukraine and Russia during the waves of pogroms and in Germany and Europe during the horrifying years of the Holocaust. However, this case created a new situation. It was the first time that our enemies used a global mechanism, a worldwide mechanism, a respected international mechanism which is supposed to represent the entirety of humanity to delegitimize and dehumanize the Jewish state.

Throughout the decades, our enemies described us as the adversaries of humanity, disinheritors of nations, murderers of children and poisoners of wells. Thirty-five countries objected to this characterization and voted against the UN resolution. They well understood the absurdity in calling the Jewish state racist. Four decades later, we are still deeply grateful to them.

They were led by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was one of our strongest and staunchest supporters. He stated very clearly that Israel is a democracy, and the fact of the matter is that tyrannical regimes take advantage of every opportunity to destroy the thing that threatens them most, namely, democracy. Moynihan, who was a very special man, stood by the side of another very special man, our ambassador to the United Nations.

Herzog’s speech to the UN in response to those who initiated the resolution denounced the denouncers. He first mentioned Kristallnacht in Germany, which preceded the annihilation of our people and occurred on exactly the same day 37 years beforehand. Herzog condemned the hatred and ignorance, the arrogance and the slander which were the foundations for the resolution comparing Zionism to racism. He promised, and I quote, “This episode will strengthen Zionism while weakening the UN.”

Tearing up the resolution at the UN podium was an act of planned spontaneity. It was a repetition of an act by his father, Rabbi Herzog, who tore up the White Paper as a public protest during the British Mandate against its restrictions. Chaim Herzog’s profound words stirred empathy for the Zionist cause throughout the Jewish world. The impression made by his speech remains to this day. I can add that it also affected me deeply. I spoke to Chaim Herzog on many occasions, including prior to his term as the Israeli Ambassador to the UN and also during my tenure. I went to see him for some Biblical discourse with someone whom I considered a great rabbi in telling the truth about Israel.

Nine years after he made his speech, I stood at the podium in the UN and delivered my inaugural speech under similar circumstances, though not identical. Iran, supported by Libya and Syria, submitted a proposal to expel Israel from the organization. Chaim Herzog’s devotion, his allegiance to the truth and his profound knowledge of the justness of our path inspired me to say similar things. I said: “We all must decide on which side we belong.

We can continue tolerating the attempts to turn this organization into a parody of itself. We can let it deteriorate until it resembles one of the ridiculous parliaments that gather in Damascus, Tripoli and Tehran, whose representatives, not surprisingly, are the living spirit behind today’s attempt to expel Israel; or alternatively we can tell them: Please check your fanaticism at the door.”

Those years were characterized by an effort to overturn that despicable resolution, an effort that intensified later. Indeed, at the end of 1991 the resolution was overturned, 16 years after it was adopted. The end of the Cold War resulted in the decline of the ideological conflict between the Soviet bloc and the Western countries. It introduced other changes in the international sphere that enabled overturning that UN resolution. Members of Knesset, I would like to mention the obvious: Even after it was overturned, we did not achieve peace and tranquility, far from that. The hostile attitudes towards Israel in UN institutions continue to this day.

There are parties in the UN who condemn us every opportunity they have. The pattern of automatic voting against Israel continues. Over the past year, the UN General Assembly adopted close to 20 resolutions against Israel, compared to only one against Iran, for example.

The same distortion exists in the UN Human Rights Council, which stands out in its discriminatory attitude towards us. Since the establishment of the Council in 2006, millions of people have been massacred around the world or have fled conflict, but this Council adopted 61 resolutions against Israel, more than all the resolutions it adopted against all the other countries combined.

This absurdity is very clear and it has nothing to do with what we do or do not do. As a country that upholds the rule of law, we do not fear legitimate criticism, but when it comes to the UN, its tendency to slander Israel is obsessive, distorted and immoral. Not only is it doing us an injustice, it also abandons those who truly suffer the evils of tyranny, aggression and terrorism, those whom the UN disregards. In fact, it is Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, which defends itself against vicious terrorism, that is strongly condemned.
We saw this just recently following the defensive military operations that were forced on us: Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge. The UN condemned us, initiated investigations against us, and thereby abuses its role and provides support for terrorism.

This distorted reality will not discourage us. Our roots are stronger than any lie or slanderous incitement. Members of Knesset, I must reiterate that many countries in the world realize this. A strange duality exists here. On the one hand, they vote for these ridiculous resolutions and on the other hand, they wish to cooperate with us. This is a dramatic transformation in the nature of our relations with the countries of the world. Powerful countries like China, Japan, India, Russia, African countries and Latin American countries wish to learn from our experience in fighting militant Islamic terrorism and from our technological capabilities in so many diverse areas.

Our relations with these countries are growing stronger, and I tell their leaders, “It is time that our good relations will also be reflected in your votes in the UN.” This message is beginning to sink in. We should repeat it in our meetings with foreign representatives. This has already begun to occur in some important votes, including the impressive majority of countries that voted against resolutions singling out Israel in the International Atomic Energy Agency and in several other votes.

As for the UN – there is still a long way to go.
That moment when Chaim Herzog tore up those false allegations against us engraved on our memories. It demonstrated his profound belief in the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, truth over the lie. We believe that, in the end, the people of Israel will prevail and Chaim Herzog played an important part in preserving this belief.

Full Text Israel Brief May 1, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech During his Visit to Independence Hall Tel Aviv



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks During his Visit to Independence Hall

Source: PMO, 5-1-14
יום חמישי א’ אייר תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, made the following remarks during his tour of Independence Hall in Tel Aviv:

“The Declaration of Independence sets, as the cornerstone in the life of the state, the national Jewish identity of the State of Israel. To my great regret, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right. They seek to undermine the historic, moral and legal justification for the existence of the State of Israel as the nation-state of our people.

One of my main missions as Prime Minister of Israel is to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of our people. To this end, it is my intention to submit a basic law to the Knesset that would provide a constitutional anchor for Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.  I believe that the most basic component in our life as a nation will receive constitutional status similar to the other main components that are the foundation of our state, as determined in the basic laws.

The State of Israel will always preserve the full equality, in personal and civil rights, of all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, in a Jewish and democratic country. And indeed, in Israel, individual and civil rights are assured for everyone, which sets us apart in the large expanse of the Middle East and even beyond.

I find it astonishing that among those who call on Israel to make concessions in Judea and Samaria due to the self-evident desire to avoid a binational state, there are those who oppose defining the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. One cannot favor the establishment of a Palestinian nation-state in order to maintain the Jewish character of the State of Israel and – at the same time – oppose recognizing that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People. Supporting the establishment of a Palestinian nation-state and opposing the recognition of the Jewish nation-state undermines – over the long-term – the State of Israel’s very right to exist.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 10, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the State Memorial Service for the Late David Ben-Gurion



PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the State Memorial Service for the Late David Ben-Gurion

Source: PMO, 11-10-13

יום ראשון ז’ כסלו תשע”ד


Photo by GPO


David Ben-Gurion died 40 years ago, just one month after the end of the Yom Kippur War. The depression and despondency experienced by the people of Israel at the time mingled with grief over the death of the bold and active leader, who navigated the path of the Zionist enterprise with dedication from its most decisive moment.
It was at that low point after the Yom Kippur War that we well remembered what we were taught by Ben-Gurion – the return of the people of Israel to their land involved dealing with difficulties and complex challenges and it was not our fate or our destiny to give up, but rather to emerge victorious and ensure the existence of the people of Israel in their land forever.

“In establishing the country”, wrote Ben-Gurion, “we ascended a steep mountain. We do not have the option anymore of standing still – either we will roll down to the abyss or we will advance and climb the mountain to the pinnacle”. Throughout his entire life, Ben-Gurion aspired to climb to the pinnacle, and he called on us to follow in his footsteps.

He dedicated 73 of his 87 years to advancing Zionist goals, since the age of 14 when he founded an organization with his friends in Poland to encourage immigration to Israel and to learn Hebrew. Until his last days, he continued working towards the Zionist ideal.
I think that the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the state – these were the crowning glory of his life’s work, but he did a great deal both before and after that. Let us remember his determined leadership of the people at other fateful crossroads which were no less crucial to our existence. He made fateful decisions related to administering the State and military systems during the War of Independence to emerge victorious; he bore the responsibility for and took the initiative to establish the IDF and fortify its strength against our enemies.

In a speech he gave in 1956 before senior IDF officers, which was only published decades later, Ben-Gurion said, “In the circle of the Middle East, if we are not strong enough to face all our neighbors’ armies, we may be obliterated from the face of the Earth, but we also live in the circle of the world and nothing is decided only by the forces in the Middle East”. Of course he was right on both points – we must fortify our strength as it guarantees our existence. It is what differentiates our fate from that of our people during the generations that preceded us.

At the same time, we look around us and see the international reality, in which we must also operate. But in this regard too Ben-Gurion added something: despite the importance he attributed to the deeds and words of nations, he said that at the end of the day, what matters is what the Jewish state will do. He expressed it a little differently – I am paraphrasing him – and he was right.

In this regard, for example, when he made his most fateful decision, the nations – including our closest friends – objected, but he determined that in this case, what was important was what the Jewish state would do before it was a state – so that it could be a state: to recruit others as much as possible at fateful crossroads, to act as needed in accordance with what was important, what was necessary, what was critical for the Jewish state, to ensure its future and existence.

Ben-Gurion believed in extending a hand in peace to the Arab countries, to all our neighbors, parallel with putting together a powerful deterrent force – again, combining our inner strength with a broad perspective. This combination was noticeable in other areas as well – by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and strengthening its status through mass immigration; by instilling a perception of nationhood – which must continually be strengthened against sectionalism; by working against harming institutions on which the state was dependent for its very existence, including the legal and law enforcement systems; by strengthening the values of the pioneer spirit, while providing a personal example when he decided to settle here, at Sde Boker, and help in making the Negev flourish.

In each of these aspects, our first Prime Minister was like a ladder planted on the ground with his head reaching the heavens. I quote this because I read it in the weekly Torah portion yesterday. He was a founding father who stood at the heart of the centers of activity, a man of vision who could foresee the future. He believed we would be reborn only if we took advantage of new technologies and science, while at the same time, he understood that this rebirth would have no value if it was not based on our people’s origins, Jewish origins – particularly the foundation of the Torah. He was right in this as well.
In the 40 years since his passing, we continued to fortify our strength, to build our country, to absorb immigrants from around the world, to develop our economy, to reach significant achievements in the fields of education, culture and science. We fulfill his command to strengthen the spiritual component of our national existence.

We ensure that every boy and girl – at least we are working towards this – that every child in Israel connects with our historic and cultural roots and study the Torah, but this did not emerge from thin air. Rather it rests on the physical and spiritual foundations of the vision laid by David Ben-Gurion.

If I had to pick one fundamental principle of his doctrine, a principle that guides me and the members of my government, I would choose these words: “The fate of Zionism will be determined in Zion”. As a sovereign people, we have the right and the duty to defend ourselves and our existence by ourselves. The lesson we learned from Jewish history, especially from the Holocaust, but not only from the Holocaust, is that we will never again be helpless and under the threat of destruction.

What did Ben-Gurion think is the fundamental cause of the Israeli-Arab conflict? He understood that at the heart of the conflict stood the Arab world’s refusal to recognize the existence of a Jewish-Zionist state in the Land of Israel. I can tell you that certain things have changed since then, at least partially, when we signed the peace agreements with Egypt and with Jordan, but many of the Muslim countries, the Arab countries, still refuse to make peace with us, and Iran even threatens us with destruction. However, there is another change as a result of what is happening in the region – and a great many things are happening in the region: there is a crumbling of the systems in the Arab world, and attention should be paid to this because many of the Arab countries, even the most important among them, see eye to eye with the State of Israel on the issue of Iran’s nuclear armament. And I think the leading powers in the world should pay attention to this: if Israel and Arab countries agree about something, that is important. It is no small thing. This indicates an important change in a pivotal field, and it may indicate other things as well.

We are interested in advancing peaceful relations with our Palestinian neighbors, together with the Arab countries, but this all depends on one thing – it depends on many things but at the end of the day it depends on one thing: on Israel’s strength, which has been increasing from Ben-Gurion’s time until today. This is in concert with our neighbors’ understanding – all our neighbors immediate and distant – that Israel will stand up to any party that threatens it with destruction. Israel will react strongly and painfully against anyone who places our security to the test. We do this every week, if not every day.
For the past several months, we have been conducting negotiations with the Palestinians on a number of disputed issues, while being uncompromising with regard to Israel’s essential interests. In every negotiation, there are compromises, and there will be compromises, but mutual ones. However, there are some things we cannot compromise on because they are the foundations on which we stand. We are conducting negotiations with integrity and fairness, but we will not rush them. We are negotiating in accordance with the mutuality shown by the other side.

If I may express my personal hope, I hope for a Palestinian Ben-Gurion to stand before us: one who will give the “Beirzeit” speech to his people; who will declare an end to the conflict in its profoundest meaning – not a recognition of the fact of the State of Israel’s existence, but rather of its right to exist, or of the right of existence for a nation-state for the Jewish people; who will educate his people to peace even if it takes a generation – a process that does not start with statements to foreign leaders, but rather statements in Arabic, in the Palestinian Arab press, in schools – truly standing behind these statements as we truly believe that we need to coexist in peace with our Palestinian neighbors, accepting the principle of two nation-states. This is difficult to say; it is not an easy thing. It was not easy for me either; it cannot be easy for either side. It demands standing up; it demands courage. We wish for someone who will call on his people to adopt the idea that we have spoken of today – both the President and I: we say two nation-states. This is a condition and it cannot be avoided. It requires courage, both on our side and on theirs. I hope a leader on the Palestinian side as brave as David Ben-Gurion will stand up, educate his people to peace and abandon once and for all the hopes and expectations that a Jewish state will dissolve with time, whether through violence, terror or any other way.

My friends, David Ben-Gurion’s doctrine is relevant in many other fields as well. Again in this week’s Torah portion we read, “And you shall spread out powerfully westward, eastward, northward and southward” – I will not refer to westward or eastward, but will refer to northward and southward. We are spreading northward and southward. At a later date, we will hold a Cabinet Meeting in the Galilee, but today we held it here, at this symbolic place, in order to spread southward. We are working to realize David Ben-Gurion’s vision in a manner that combines many of the things he believed in: vision, technology, science. To this I also add roads, trains, fixing the bureaucracy related to lands. Goodness gracious, it never ends, but it is essential.

Moving the IDF bases to the south: this is vital and it is exciting. The cyber headquarters at the university that you, MK Braverman, worked so hard to establish. I mention you as a typical Ben-Gurionite at Ben-Gurion University. I add what I believe in.

I believe that if we invest in government infrastructure and take the components of our national security and add to them 40 kilos in market power, 40 tons, the Negev will flourish. It already is; the change is tremendous. And I promise you here and now, the next decade will lead to tremendous benefits, and I promise you, Shimon, in this decade the population here will not be 8%, which is something that has been fairly static. That’s about to change – 8% of the total population, there is going to be a tremendous change here.
The critical mass of the genius of our people, the enterprise our people exhibits, the open territory here, the space, the sun, the climate which is becoming a positive force – all these are merging together to again – actually for the first time – realize Ben-Gurion’s vision regarding transforming the Negev and Beer Sheva and its surroundings into a region to which the entire world will pay attention, especially with regard to technology and cyber.

I take this opportunity to thank my fellow ministers who are helping in this matter. Today we spoke of incremental steps, but mostly of revolutionary steps that will change what once was and cancel out the simplistic consensus that says that the strong are in the center and the weak are on the periphery. This will be completely erased. And I am convinced that if Ben-Gurion were here with us today, his heart would be filled with pride. He would urge us to buckle down, to implement and work tirelessly as long as the path stretches in front of us, as long as there is much work to be done, but we will do it and faster than you think.

I am convinced that Ben-Gurion would be extremely proud. We will continue to work in the coming years inspired by his vision and his legacy – until they are fully realized.

May the memories of David Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula be blessed and engraved in the heart of the nation forever.

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 15, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at Special Knesset Session Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War



Address by PM Netanyahu Special Knesset Session Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War

Source: PMO, 10-15-13

יום שלישי י”א חשון תשע”ד
Click Here to Enlarge Picture
Photo by GPO


The Yom Kippur War was a time of trial for the State of Israel, which found itself in a fateful battle against those who sought its destruction. The blow that we suffered in the first few days necessitated the mobilizing of all forces in the war effort.

With talks about the “destruction of the Third Temple” in the background, the soldiers of the IDF demonstrated unparalleled bravery on both the southern and northern fronts. Those who forced us into a war we did not seek encountered national unity and the willpower of a determined nation. Within a few days, the IDF soldiers succeeded in turning the tables: we moved from defense to offence, and by the time the cease fire was announced, the IDF was already on its way to Cairo and Damascus.

Today, forty years after the attack that sent shockwaves throughout the country, we salute the heroic soldiers who rescued us from the traps of complacency, vanity and misconception.

Distinguished guests,

The war left a painful wound in our souls and a deep scar in our flesh. The bottom line, however, is that we won a major victory. The lessons of that war have remained with us for the past four decades, and they are interwoven into the lessons we have accumulated from all the other wars and battles we fought.

The first lesson is to never underestimate the threats and never underestimate the enemy. Never ignore the warning signs. One cannot assume that our enemies will necessarily act in accordance with our assessments. They can be surprising and unpredictable. We paid the price of repression and self-deception, and we will never make that mistake again. Israel will always stand guard.

The second lesson is that the option of a preemptive strike cannot be automatically dismissed. Not every situation necessitates such a strike and all options must be weighed carefully, but there are times when the fear of an international response is diminished in comparison with the price we could pay for absorbing a strategic strike for which we will have to respond late, maybe too late.

A preemptive strike is one of the most difficult decisions a government is required to make, because it will never be able to show what would happen had it not taken action. At the same time, the major difference between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War lies first and foremost in the fact that in the Six Day War we initiated a preemptive strike to extricate ourselves from the noose imposed on us by our enemies, while in the Yom Kippur War, despite the warning signs, the government chose to absorb the full force of the enemy’s attack.

The third lesson is the strategic importance of buffer zones. Our presence in the Golan and the Sinai enabled us to prevent infiltration deep into the territory of Israel. Following this experience, no one could comprehend forfeiting these buffer zones, even in peace arrangements. Therefore, it was clear that in the peace negotiations with Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula would have to be demilitarized. Such demilitarization, which has existed for almost 40 years, is essential. Without it, I doubt that the peace would hold. This demilitarization has been in place for almost 40 years, since the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt.

And there is a fourth lesson as well. Peace is achieved through strength. In the Yom Kippur War, despite the enemy’s excellent opening terms, our neighbors learned that they could not defeat us by force. This understanding is a result of the war. Five years later, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, signed a peace treaty. A peace agreement would later be reached with Jordan, and we are making genuine efforts to achieve peace with our Palestinian neighbors.

Peace can only be achieved if the hostile countries around us understand that Israel is powerful enough and that it will not disappear and will not be uprooted. The Yom Kippur War changed the face of Israeli society, necessitating a very painful and ongoing soul-searching. The failures, the debacles and the weaknesses entailed an in-depth and fundamental correction. This is an ongoing effort and we work on it constantly. It is first and foremost because of that war, but as I said earlier, in retrospect, Israel emerged stronger from the war.

Forty years ago there were less than three and a half million people living here. Today, we are more than eight million. Our economy expanded, and it is stable and prosperous. Just to clarify – our population has more than doubled, our economy is 25 times larger. It is as if you took the Israeli economy during the Yom Kippur War and placed 25 such economies side by side – this is the State of Israel today. Israel is a creative and advanced state, with a free and vibrant society, a society of remarkable achievements. And we continue to move forward and reach new heights. Our greatest achievement, however, was gained during the agony and despair of that terrible attack on Yom Kippur. Sporadic rumors about the falling of friends and acquaintances turned into a massive flow, and all forces needed to be mobilized to bear the terrible grief.

My brother Yoni participated in the battles on the Golan Heights. I wish to read you a portion of a letter he wrote to my parents, the first letter after the fights: “It was undoubtedly the most difficult war we have ever known. It was, at the very least, more intense and more terrifying, with more casualties, more successes and more failures than the battles and wars I have known. But it is because of the initial failures – failures in the military assessment, in the interpretation of the intelligence, in war doctrines, in political assessments and in the complacency of the entire nation – that the victory was so great. The army is strong and good and it has proven its abilities beyond any doubt. And when I say the army”, he wrote, “I mean not only the regular army, but the entire people. The soldiers succeeded, at a very heavy cost, to ward off the enemies, but it is the people who won the war”.

He was right, but the price we paid was unbearably high, the highest since the War of Independence. More than 2,100 of our finest sons fell in the Yom Kippur War, and thousands of others were injured. Some still bear the scars, some are with us here today.

Today, the 11th of Cheshvan, marks the passing of Rachel the Matriarch, the mother of the nation, who shares in the agony of her sons in their time of trouble. The Prophet’s promise to Rachel echoes in our ears: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for there is reward for your accomplishment.”

We mourn the loss of our sons and our friends and we send our best wishes for recovery to the wounded. There is reward for their actions. Thanks to their courage and perseverance, our independence and the existence of our nation from generation to generation were secured. May their memory be blessed.

Israel Brief September 12, 2013: The Yom Kippur War: Forty Years Later



The Yom Kippur War: Forty Years Later

Source: Chabad.org, 9-12-13

In the summer of 1973, weeks before the surprise outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, urgently requested that thousands of Jewish children gather at the Western Wall and other locations across….READ MORE

Israel Brief September 9, 2013: IDF Seminar Marks 40th Anniversary of Yom Kippur War



IDF Seminar Marks 40th Anniversary of Yom Kippur War

Source: Arutz Sheva, 9-9-13

A seminar was held today (Monday) to mark the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. The event, which was hosted by the Military Colleges at the Palmachim base was attended by President Shimon Peres, Minister of Defense Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon….READ MORE

Israel Brief October 28, 2012: Tel Aviv rally marks 17th anniversary of assasinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s death



Tel Aviv rally marks anniversary of Rabin’s death

Source: JTA, 10-28-12

About 20,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to pay tribute to the memory of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin….READ MORE

Gilad Shalit Timeline: 1,934 Days in Hamas Captivity




Gilad Shalit timeline: 1,934 days in Hamas captivity

Source: YNet News, 10-11-11

IDF soldier was captured on June 25, 2006 by Gaza terrorists who raided his tank Israel News

Israel and Hamas have agreed on a deal to swap IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive for five years, for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.



Here is a timeline of events since Shalit was captured:


June 25, 2006 – Hamas operatives launch raid into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing two soldiers and capturing Shalit.


June 28 – Israeli troops invade the Gaza Strip.


Sept 15 – Letter from Shalit reaches his family via Egyptian mediators brokering a prisoner swap deal.


Oct 1 – Worst internal Palestinian fighting in a decade raises fears of a civil war in Gaza.


Nov 26 – Ceasefire in Gaza announced, ends five months of Israeli air strikes and incursions that fail to free Shalit.


June 14, 2007 – Hamas takes over Gaza from Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. At least 100 die in fighting.


June 25 – Israeli TV airs audio tape from Shalit’s captors asking for medical treatment and release of Palestinians.


Sept 8 – Israeli special forces disguised as Hamas gunmen abduct Hamas commander to be used as “bargaining chip.”


Dec 26 – Hamas says Shalit won’t be freed unless Israel frees 1,400 Palestinian prisoners, many long-term.


April 24, 2008 – Hamas leader offers Israel six-month truce in Gaza but says fate of Shalit separate issue.


May 12 – Israel says ceasefire deal must include Shalit. Ceasefire talks falter 10 days later over Israel’s refusal to reopen Gaza’s border crossings.


June 9 – Israeli television says Shalit’s family receives hand-written letter from their son.


June 17 – Israel and Hamas agree to Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.


July 4 – Hamas suspends prisoner swap talks in dispute over Israeli blockade and cross-border rocket fire from Gaza.


Sept 25 – Hamas rejects list of prisoners Israel is ready to free in exchange for Shalit, saying it wants more.


Dec 19 – Fragile six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expires as they fail to agree on terms to extend truce.


Dec 27 – Israel launches 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are killed.


Jan 18, 2009 – Israel and Hamas cease fire in Gaza.


Feb 14 – Gaza truce deal stalls after Israel insists on Shalit release as condition to ceasefire.


Sept 30 – Israel and Hamas confirm deal to exchange proof that Shalit is alive for release of 20 female Palestinians.


Oct 2 – Video is handed over and authenticated in which Shalit looked “pale but in good health”. A Red Cross convoy carries women to freedom in the West Bank and Gaza.


Nov 25 – Israel rejects a demand for the release of several Hamas commanders as part of any exchange for Shalit, signalling talks have hit a snag. Israel has long balked at granting amnesty to Palestinians jailed for attacks that killed Israelis.


June 27, 2010 – Shalit’s parents begin a 12-day march from their northern home to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau’s Jerusalem residence to press for a prisoner swap.


April 9, 2011 – The Israeli military says that Tayser Abu Snima, a top Hamas militant, killed in a raid, was “directly and physically involved” in Shalit’s capture.


June 23 – The International Committee of the Red Cross calls on Hamas to provide proof that Shalit is still alive five years after his capture.


July 4 – Defence Minister Ehud Barak halts the handover of 84 bodies of Palestinian militants to Palestinian authorities, hours after the military said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had approved the move. The stop order is to ensure no harm would be done to negotiations on any future swap deal to secure Shalit’s release.


Oct 3 – Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails join a hunger strike to protest against worsening prison conditions, the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs says. Netanyahu toughened restrictions on Palestinian prisoners as part of an effort to force Hamas to free Shalit.


Oct 11 – Israeli and Hamas officials say a deal has been reached to swap Shalit for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.


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