Source: PMO, 8-14-12
Welcome to the Land of Israel; welcome to the State of Israel; welcome home.
Today we have with us 127 immigrants who are joining the Israel Defense Forces. Well done. You are coming here to defend the State of Israel, the people of Israel, the future of the Jewish people. We defend the Jewish people here in the State of Israel, and you are joining the IDF ranks. I take my hat off to you, as does Natan Sharansky and the entire nation. Well done to all of you.
Ninety-three children are here with you today out of 350 immigrants. In the ten years Nefesh B’Nefesh has operated, they have brought 33,000 new immigrants to Israel, mostly from North America. This is a tremendous achievement – tremendous – and it is yours. It is not that the country does not have any tasks to carry out; there are many. However, we have a dynamic, developing society, a strong country, a country with confidence in itself, and we must defend this country as you are doing by joining the IDF, as well as by other means.
Today, I decided to appoint MK Avi Dichter to serve as the Minister for Home Front Defense. He previously served as Minister of Internal Security; he was also the head of the Shin Bet. I remember him from 40 years ago when we served together in the IDF Special Forces. He has many virtues and he is now charged with a very important mission: to continue doing what he has been doing his whole life – contributing to the security of the country.
Because I attribute great importance to home front defense, my government has invested a great deal in it, as no other government before ours has. We have done a great deal already, but there is a great deal more to do and Avi Dichter, as Minister of Home Front Defense, will do so in his new position. I am certain that you join the entire nation in congratulating him on this important new appointment.
I would like to say a few words to you in the language that is still customary for you – in English. I am certain that in time, Hebrew will become no less customary.
Welcome to Israel. Welcome home.
I was given a list of all the places you come from. You come from California, from New Jersey, from Ohio, and from over two dozen states across America. And I understand you also come from Alberta and from Quebec.
But the truth is you all come from one place – Israel. This is the land where we all come from. This is the land where our ancestors lived. And this is the place where our identity as a people was forged. And this is the country where the Jewish people are building the Jewish future.
I want to talk to the 127 olim who are joining the IDF today. Each of the 350 people who have made Aliyah today have decided to link their personal future with the future of the Jewish State and the Jewish people. But you’ve decided to do something else. You’ve decided to defend the Jewish future.
And to have the opportunity to do so is a great privilege. It wasn’t accorded to previous generations of Jews. In previous times, for almost two millennia, the Jews could not defend themselves. This is the great transformation that occurred in our time – that we can regain our destiny and defend our future – and this is a privilege that you have now decided to practice personally, thereby altering your lives and the Jewish future as well.
I can tell you that the founders of Modern Zionism did not think that when we amass back in our ancestral homeland, and we restore the capacity to defend ourselves, that anti-Semitism would disappear. That is not what they thought. But they thought that we could defend ourselves against anti-Semitic assaults, and those have not been eliminated. They have not disappeared. On the contrary, there is a rise of a new anti-Semitism. As the Jewish State progresses and rises, so does anti-Semitism, but it changes form and we see today a virulent attack on the Jewish people – a virulent new form of anti-Semitism.
And we need to defend ourselves against that and those who give it intellectual support. This is a job that we all have to do, but the most important job is to defend the Jewish State. This we are doing – this you are doing. And I’m proud of you. I think the whole people are proud of you. The friends of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike are proud of you.
And I want to encourage you to progress personally, but also as a group. I’d like to meet all of you in three years time. Wait until you finish your service. Tony this is a request that I make with my colleagues here. I’d like to meet all of you, and when you finish your service to the army, I want to salute you again and I want to encourage you to rise and thrive in the one and only Jewish State.
Welcome to Israel. Welcome home. Thank you very much.