Full Text Israel Political Brief August 14, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Decides to Appoint Minister Danny Danon as Ambassador to the UN

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PM and Foreign Minister Netanyahu Decides to Appoint Minister Danny Danon as Ambassador to the UN

SopuPMO, 8-14-15
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon as Ambassador to the UN.

Minister Danon has dealt with public diplomacy and international relations for over two decades. An MK since 2009, he has participated in numerous public diplomacy missions in recent years. He has served as Chairman of World Likud for the past nine years and is responsible for the Likud’s foreign liaison and public diplomacy activity. He previously served as the Jewish Agency emissary in Florida and as such was engaged – inter alia – in encouraging immigration to Israel and in public diplomacy activity at US universities.

Danon graduated magna cum laude from Florida International University with a BA in International Relations and received an MA in Public Administration from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Danon is 44, married and the father of three.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Minister Danon has accepted the important challenge I have assigned him. The UN is an important forum right now and I am convinced that Danny will fight with all his power to present the truth in the international arena.”

Minister Danny Danon: “I thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the trust he has given me to represent Israel at the UN during this challenging period. I will do everything to advance the State of Israel’s just positions.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 13, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Press Conference on the Natural Gas Outline Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Press Conference on the Natural Gas Outline

Source: PMO, 8-13-15
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Thursday, 13 August 2015), made the following remarks at the start of a press conference on the natural gas outline, in which National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz also participated:

“First of all, I would like to thank Minister Yuval Steinitz for leading the work, Professor Sheshinski, Amir Levy, Morris Dorfman, Professor Eugene Kandel, Alex Warshavsky and all those who shared in this difficult and important work.

The outline that has been achieved puts the interests of the State of Israel at the center. It puts the citizens of Israel, Israeli industry, the Israeli economy and Israeli society at the center. I thank Minister Steinitz and this team for reaching an agreement that will bring Israel’s citizens hundreds of billions of shekels in the coming years, hundreds of billions of shekels. This money will serve us in health, education and social welfare.

The gas that will flow to Israel will also lower the cost of living because gas is an energy that is significantly cheaper than others; therefore, this will help us lower the cost of living. It costs less to work with gas. Prices will be lower. This is of unparalleled importance. And, of course, this will also help us in developing industry and the periphery and will thereby help to create new jobs, growth, a lower cost of living, employment, energy security, and a cleaner environment – we do not want to pollute the environment. This is cheaper and cleaner energy.

There is every reason to do this. There is every reason to adopt this outline. We will not get into populism; I said so at the outset. We will extract the gas from the seabed and we will bring it to the State of Israel. I am certain that after every possible inquiry, a majority of Israel’s citizens will be convinced that the outline we have reached is a good outline for the State of Israel.

I will submit this outline to the Cabinet on Sunday. I am certain that we will pass it by a large majority, and rightly so, and we will move forward with it for the benefit of the Israeli economy and Israel’s citizens.

Again, I thank my friends here, everyone, but especially you Yuval. You did good and important work for the State of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 4, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Appoints Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy

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PM Netanyahu Appoints Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy

Source: PMO, 8-10-15
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Fiamma Nirenstein as Ambassador to Italy. She is a former member of the Italian Parliament, a member of European Friends of Israel and a founding member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. In 2011, she was elected Chairperson of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians.

She has published ten books in Italian and two in English. She moved to Israel in 2013 and received Israeli citizenship. Upon her appointment as Ambassador to Italy, she will renounce her Italian citizenship.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I am convinced that Fiamma Nirenstein will bring with her to the position her considerable diplomatic and political experience, and will succeed in deepening relations between Israel and Italy, our close friend, including in the diplomatic, economic, cultural and security spheres. The connection between Jerusalem and Rome is over 2,000 years old. I am pleased to send Fiamma Nirenstein to strengthen this link.”

Fiamma Nirenstein: “I am happy to accept this mission that the Prime Minister has set before me, to strengthen relations between Israel and Italy. I promised the Prime Minister that I would do everything in my ability to strengthen the brave links between the two countries.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 4, 2015: PM Netanyahu’s Address to the Jewish Federations of North America Trab

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PM Netanyahu’s Address to the Jewish Federations of North America

Source: PMO, 8-4-15

Following is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the Jewish federations of North America:

Thank you.

It’s good to be with you today.

I want to thank our hosts, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents.

And I want to thank all of you for taking the time in the middle of a busy day.

Our time today is short, so I’d like to get right to the point.

I want to talk with you about three fatal flaws in the nuclear deal with Iran.

And I also want to dispel some of the misinformation and, regrettably I have to say, the disinformation about the deal and about Israel’s position.

I want to answer some of your important questions.

The most important point I have to make today is this:

The nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb.

It actually paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

Worse, it gives Iran two paths to the bomb.

Iran can get to the bomb by keeping the deal or Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

First let’s understand how Iran gets to the bomb by keeping the deal.

See, the deal allows Iran to maintain and eventually expand a vast and increasingly sophisticated nuclear infrastructure.

This infrastructure is unnecessary for civilian nuclear energy, but it’s entirely necessary for nuclear weapons.

Astonishingly, the deal gives Iran’s illicit nuclear program full international legitimacy.

If Iran keeps the deal, in a decade or so – at most 15 years – the main restrictions on this vast nuclear program will expire. They’ll just end.

The deal’s limitations on the number of centrifuges Iran has and on the quantity of uranium Iran enriches, those restrictions will be lifted.

And at that point Iran will be able to produce the enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and it could produce that arsenal very quickly.

After 15 years, Iran’s breakout time will be practically zero, just a few days.

I think President Obama said as much in an interview with NPR.

By keeping the deal Iran will become a threshold nuclear weapons power.

The deal does make it harder for Iran to produce one or two nuclear weapons in the short term.

But it does so at a terrible price.

Because the deal makes it far easier for Iran to build dozens, even hundreds of nuclear weapons in a little over a decade.

Now, 10 to 15 years pass in no time.

I think it was like yesterday and I remember this very well, all those preparations for the Y2K bug and the celebrations of the new millennium.

That was 15 years ago. It’s a blink of an eye.

We’re told that this deal buys us time, but 10 to 15 years is no time at all.

So by keeping the deal, Iran can get within a decade or so not just to one bomb, but to many bombs.

But Iran has a second path to the bomb, one that would give it a nuclear weapon in far less time.

You see, Iran could violate the deal.

And there’s good reason to think that Iran will do so, that it will cheat.

They’ve done it before. They’ll do it again.

Now, people don’t really contest that, but they argue that Iran will be prevented from cheating because we’ll have good intelligence and unprecedented inspections.

Well, let me start with intelligence.

I have the greatest respect for Israel’s intelligence capabilities.

I have the greatest respect for the intelligence services of the United States and Great Britain.

But it has to be said honestly. For years none of us discovered the massive underground nuclear facilities Iran was building at Fordo and at Natanz.

For years none of us discovered that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor for plutonium production.

So I can tell you from experience, it’s very precarious to bet the deal’s success on intelligence.

Now what about inspections?

Neither intelligence nor inspections prevented North Korea from building atomic bombs despite assurances that they wouldn’t be able to do so.

And while the deal with Iran allows for ongoing inspections of Iran’s declared sites, what about Iran’s secret nuclear activities?

See, under the deal, if a facility is suspected of housing a hidden nuclear activity, inspectors must wait at least 24 days – that’s 24 days! – before getting access to those suspected sites.

Not only that, the inspectors must first share with Iran the critical intelligence that led them to suspect these sites in the first place. That’s actually astounding.

Some have said that 24 days is not long enough to conceal evidence of illicit nuclear activity.

But as leading experts have pointed out, 24 days is more than enough time to clean up a site of all traces of illicit activity.

It’s like the police giving a drug dealer three and a half weeks’ notice before raiding his lab.

Believe me, you can flush a lot of nuclear meth down the toilet in 24 days.

I’ve heard the claim that the deal blocks Iran’s covert path to the bomb.

But no matter how good your intelligence is, no one can credibly make such a claim.

How can you block what you don’t know?

So Iran can keep the deal or Iran can cheat on the deal.

Either way the deal gives Iran a clear path to the bomb, a difficult path to one or two bombs today and a much easier path to hundreds of bombs tomorrow.

Now, here’s the thing – everybody in the Middle East knows what I’ve just said.

And the countries in the region threatened by Iran have already made clear that they will work to develop atomic bombs of their own.

So the deal that was supposed to end nuclear proliferation will actually trigger nuclear proliferation. It will trigger an arms race, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the most volatile part of the planet.

That’s a real nightmare!

But the deal’s dangers don’t end there.

See, the deal gives Iran also a massive infusion of cash and Iran will use this cash to fund its aggression in the region and its terrorism around the world.

As a result of this deal, there’ll be more terrorism.

There will be more attacks.

And more people will die.

It’s been said that most of the money that Iran will get will not go to Iran’s terrorism and aggression.

Well, let’s suppose that’s true.

Let’s suppose that Iran just takes 10% of the money for terrorism.

That’s 10% of nearly half a trillion dollars that Iran is expected to receive over the next 10 to 15 years. That’s a staggering amount of money.

And that would turn any terrorist group sponsored by Iran into a terrorist superpower.

So for all these reasons –

Iran’s two paths to the bomb and the cash jackpot Iran stands to receive –

For all these reasons, this is a very dangerous deal, and it threatens all of us.

My solemn responsibility as Prime Minister is to make sure that Israel’s concerns are heard.

It wasn’t long ago, certainly not that long ago, that the Jewish people were either incapable or unwilling to speak out in the face of mortal threats, and this had devastating consequences.

I’ve been very clear – the days when the Jewish people could not or would not speak up for themselves, those days are over.

Today we can speak out. Today we must speak out.

And we must do so together.

Here in Israel, Isaac Herzog, the Leader of the Labor Opposition, the man who ran against me in this year’s election and who works every day in the Knesset to bring down my government, Herzog has said that there is no daylight between us when it comes to the deal with Iran.

This is simply not a partisan issue in Israel.

Sure, some people disagree, but overwhelmingly across the political spectrum, a huge majority of Israelis oppose the deal.

So this is not a partisan issue in Israel.

It shouldn’t be a partisan issue in the United States either.

Nor is it a personal issue.

This isn’t about me.

And it’s not about President Obama.

It’s about the deal.

I’m asking you to rise above partisan politics as we in Israel have risen above it.

Judge the deal on its substance and on its substance alone.

The more people know about the deal, the more they oppose it.

And the more people know about the deal, the more the deal’s supporters try to stifle serious debate. They do so with false claims and efforts to delegitimize criticism.

Yet there’s one claim that is the most outrageous: that those who oppose this deal want war.

That’s utterly false.

We in Israel don’t want war. We want peace. Because it’s we who are on the front lines.

We face Iran’s terror on three borders. We face tens of thousands of Iranian rockets aimed at all our cities. We face Iran, whose regime repeatedly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

We face Iran whose terrorist proxies try to kill Jews every day.

We know that Iran is not only the leading state sponsor of terrorism, it’s also the leading state sponsor of anti-Semitism.

Israelis are going to be the ones who pay the highest price if there’s war and if Iran gets the bomb.

The claim that we oppose this deal because we want war is not just false. It’s outrageous.

Israel wants to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and Israel wants peace. This deal will advance neither goal.

I don’t oppose this deal because I want war.

I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war, and this deal will bring war.

It will spark a nuclear arms race in the region and it would feed Iran’s terrorism and aggression. That would make war, perhaps the most horrific war of all, far more likely.

Don’t let the deal’s supporters quash a real debate.

The issue here is too important.

Don’t let them take your voice away at this critical moment in history.

What we do now will affect our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren – in Israel, in America, everywhere.

This is a time to stand up and be counted.

Oppose this dangerous deal.

Thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 30, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement in Wake of the Stabbing at the Pride Parade in Jerusalem Transcript

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Statement by PM Netanyahu in Wake of the Stabbing at the Pride Parade in Jerusalem

Source: PMO, 7-30-15
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this evening issued the following statement:

“A despicable hate crime was committed this evening in Jerusalem. In Israel everyone, including the gay community, has the right to live in peace, and we will defend that right. I welcome the Israeli religious leadership’s condemnation of this terrible crime, and I call on all those in positions of leadership to denounce this contemptible act. In the name of all of Israelis, I wish the wounded a full and speedy recovery.”

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 14, 2015: Israeli Security Cabinet Unanimously Rejects Nuclear Deal with Iran

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Security Cabinet Unanimously Rejects Nuclear Deal with Iran

Source: PMO, 7-14-15

The Security Cabinet unanimously rejected the nuclear agreement with Iran and determined that Israel is not bound by it.

 

Israel Political Brief July 14, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement Responding to the Iran Nuclear Deal — Transcript

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Statement by PM Netanyahu

Source: PMO, 7-14-15

Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:

“The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday.

The leading international powers have bet our collective future on a deal with the foremost sponsor of international terrorism. They’ve gambled that in ten years’ time, Iran’s terrorist regime will change while removing any incentive for it to do so. In fact, the deal gives Iran every incentive not to change.

In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing.

Amazingly, this bad deal does not require Iran to cease its aggressive behavior in any way. And just last Friday, that aggression was on display for all to see.

While the negotiators were closing the deal in Vienna, Iran’s supposedly moderate President chose to go to a rally in Tehran and at this rally, a frenzied mob burned American and Israeli flags and chanted ‘Death to America, Death to Israel!’

Now, this didn’t happen four years ago. It happened four days ago.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, said on March 21 that the deal does not limit Iran’s aggression in any way. He said: ‘Negotiations with the United States are on the nuclear issue and on nothing else.’

And three days ago he made that clear again. ‘The United States’, he said, ’embodies global arrogance, and the battle against it will continue unabated even after the nuclear agreement is concluded.’

Here’s what Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah, said about sanctions relief, which is a key component of the deal. He said: ‘A rich and strong Iran will be able to stand by its allies and friends in the region more than at any time in the past.’

Translation: Iran’s support for terrorism and subversion will actually increase after the deal.

In addition to filling Iran’s terror war chest, this deal repeats the mistakes made with North Korea.

There too we were assured that inspections and verifications would prevent a rogue regime from developing nuclear weapons.

And we all know how that ended.

The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly what Iran’s President Rouhani said today: ‘The international community is removing the sanctions and Iran is keeping its nuclear program.’

By not dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, in a decade this deal will give an unreformed, unrepentant and far richer terrorist regime the capacity to produce many nuclear bombs, in fact an entire nuclear arsenal with the means to deliver it.

What a stunning historic mistake!

Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran and Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction.

We will always defend ourselves.

Thank you.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 3, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Responds to the UNHRC Decision Transcript

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PM Netanyahu Responds to the UNHRC Decision

Source: PMO, 7-3-15
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, responded to the UN Human Rights Council decision:

“The UN Human Rights Council is not interested in the facts and is not really interested in human rights.

On the day on which Israel was fired at from Sinai, and at a time when ISIS is committing vicious terrorist attacks in Egypt, as Assad slaughters his people in Syria and as the number of arbitrary executions per annum climbs in Iran – the UN Human Rights Council decides to condemn the State of Israel for no fault of its own, for acting to defend itself from a murderous terrorist organization.

Israel is a stable democracy in the Middle East that upholds equal rights for all its citizens and acts in accordance with international law.

Those who fear to openly attack terrorism will – in the end – be attacked by terrorism.

The council that has hitherto adopted more decisions against Israel than against all other countries cannot call itself a human rights council.

The State of Israel will continue to defend its citizens against those who call for its destruction and take daily action to achieve this goal.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 1, 2015: PM Netanyahu’s Address at US Independence Day Celebrations at the US Ambassador’s Residence

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PM Netanyahu’s Address at US Independence Day Celebrations at the US Ambassador’s Residence

Source: PMO, 7-1-15

Sara and I are delighted to be with all of you. This is a great day because on the 4th of July, all Israelis unite with our American brothers and sisters. It’s our celebration too. That’s because the history of our two countries is remarkably intertwined. The Founding Fathers of America were inspired by the Bible, and specifically by the Book of the Exodus, by the dream of building freedom in a new Promised Land. And as you stand in the Chamber of the American Congress, you see right across you the image of one man – Moses, with a quote from the Bible.

And since the establishment of the United States, that’s two and a half centuries, the vision of justice and the vision of peace espoused by the Prophets of Israel served as a guiding light for Americans from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King to many others seeking to form a more perfect union.

But just as our heritage inspired America, America inspired us. If you read the Founding Fathers of Zionism, you see how powerful and inspirational the American Revolution was – the ideas of freedom and liberty. They reverberated everywhere for people seeking liberty, but they reverberated powerfully for the Zionist movement and the ideas of reestablishing our land, our promise, our justice here.

Zionism has always been about freedom, about national freedom, the Jewish people returning to our ancestral homeland to rebuild our one and only sovereign state. But it’s also been about personal freedom. We built the State of Israel on the same democratic foundations upon which the United States was built.

And what a remarkable foundation it’s proven to be.

The Middle East is plagued by tyranny. Majorities are oppressed. Minorities are persecuted. Women are subjugated. Gays are lynched. The press, if there is any, is muzzled.

Yet in this turbulent and violent Middle East, Israel stands out as a beacon of freedom and human rights, with unfailing constancy, an island of democracy in a sea of despotism.

The Middle East is imploding all around us. States that have existed for a century are disintegrating. The forces of militant Islam are rushing to fill the void, the militant Sunnis led by ISIS, the militant Shiites led by Iran.

Iran conducts a campaign of aggression in the region and terrorism worldwide. It seeks to build nuclear weapons to advance its mission to export the Islamic revolution, so they say, around the globe. For the mullahs that rule Tehran, Israel is the small Satan and America is the great Satan. They say, Dan, we are you and you are us. And you know something? On this, they are absolutely right. We stand with America. America stands with us.

Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon, Iran’s worldwide campaign of terrorism and aggression must be stopped. So too must the campaign of ISIS, whose savagery is now sweeping the Middle East. We ourselves have felt the reverberations of Islamist terrorism in the last few days. Today I visited the hospital of those Israelis wounded – remarkable heroism shown by a young woman and by a young man. And we grieve for the loss of a brilliant, brilliant young Malachi. We suffer those pains and we see that that terrorism is not only exploding within our own country. We see ISIS at the gates – across the border in the Golan, across the border in Egypt. We send our condolences to the government and people of Egypt for the fallen Egyptians slain by ISIS terror.

We must stand up to all the forces of militant Islam, those led by Iran, those led by ISIS. We should not strengthen one or the other. We should weaken both of them. And as we do this, we will continue our quest for a durable and secure peace with the Palestinians, mindful that we must not let militant Islam gain another foothold.

My friends,

The values we share are at the heart of the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel. Dan, we are family. Let me translate. We are mishpucha. And we are partners.

I take this opportunity to once again express my appreciation to President Obama, the United States Congress and the people of America. I want to thank them for their continual support of the State of Israel. Across the length and breadth of the United States, Americans of all stripes stand with the Jewish state. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again tonight: Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel.

On this day that celebrates freedom both of us know this: Neither one of us can take life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness for granted. Americans and Israelis have paid a high price to protect these sacred principles. We are stronger when we face our great challenges together.

And today the bells of freedom ring across America. They ring loud in Israel too. May we always cherish our freedom. May we always cherish our friendship.

On behalf of all Israelis, I wish all Americans a happy 4th of July. God bless Israel and God bless the United States of America.

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 29, 2015: Security Cabinet Approves PM Netanyahu’s Proposal to Begin Work on an Approximately 30-km. Section of Security Fence along Israel’s Eastern Border with Jordan

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Security Cabinet Approves PM Netanyahu’s Proposal to Begin Work on an Approximately 30-km. Section of Security Fence along Israel’s Eastern Border

Source: PMO, 6-29-15

The Security Cabinet yesterday adopted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to begin work on an approximately 30-kilometer long section of security fence along the State of Israel’s eastern border, from Eilat to the site designated for the Timna airport. The Security Cabinet also approved the necessary allocation of resources for building the section of fence.

The Government of Israel is in contact with the Government of Jordan and emphasizes that the construction of this section of security fence is being carried out on the Israeli side of the border. The fence will not, in any way, infringe on the sovereignty of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its national interests, which will be respected.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, today (Monday, 29 June 2015), at the start of a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, referred to the foregoing decision:

“Yesterday in the Security Cabinet, we made a very important decision to continue a section of fence along our southern border, this time from Eilat, 30 kilometers north to past the Timna airport that is under construction. This is important. It is part of our national security. It joins the fence that we built along the length of our border with Sinai, which blocked the entry of illegal migrants into Israel and – of course – the various terrorist movements. This step also joins the fence that we built on our border on the Golan Heights.

I would like to make it clear that this fence will be entirely within the territory of the State of Israel. It will not, in any way, infringe on the sovereignty of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its national interests.

I think that this is a very important step. I am also pleased that the members of the Security Cabinet approved the sources of financing.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 22, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry report

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Statement by PM Netanyahu on the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry report

Source: MFA, 6-22-15
Israel does not commit war crimes. Israel is defending itself from a murderous terrorist organization that calls for its destruction and which has perpetrated many war crimes. We will not sit, and have not sat, idly by.
Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the laws of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies, and it will continue to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with highest international standards.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 22 June 2015), at the Knesset, issued the following statement:
“The report on Operation Protective Edge issued by the commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council is biased. The commission that wrote this report was appointed by a council that calls itself the ‘Human Rights Council.’ In effect, it does everything but look after human rights. This is a body that condemns Israel more than Iran, Syria and North Korea combined. It first appointed to head the commission a man who was caught inciting against the State of Israel and who also took money from the Palestinians. It first began to investigate events in the region from the day after – the day after – the kidnapping of the three youths, who were murdered. It is on this basis that one needs to consider its findings, conclusions and recommendations.
Israel is defending itself and is doing so in accordance with international law. We are not the only ones who say this. Last week we issued a detailed, professional report that evaluated our actions, in accordance with international law, against terrorists that fire at civilians and hide behind civilians. This is also backed up by the report issued by senior US and European generals who claimed, and reached the conclusion, that Israel defended itself in accordance with the standards of international law. But they say, ‘above and beyond’. One of the senior generals said that there is no country that acted like the State of Israel and went beyond the letter of the law to observe international law.
Israel does not commit war crimes. Israel is defending itself from a murderous terrorist organization that calls for its destruction and which has perpetrated many war crimes. Any country that wants to live would have acted this way. But the commission expects a country, the citizens of which have been attacked by thousands of missiles, to sit idly by. We will not sit, and have not sat, idly by. We will continue to take strong and determined action against all those who try to attack us and our citizens, and we will do so in accordance with international law.”

* * *
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement today (Monday, 22 June 2015):
“Israel is a democracy committed to the rule of law. Time and again it is forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists who commit a double war crime: They deliberately target civilians while deliberately hiding behind Palestinian civilians. The Palestinian civilians they use as human shields include children, and they deliberately target our civilians while deliberately putting their civilians in harm’s way.
In defending itself against such attacks, Israel’s military acted, and acts, according to the highest international standards.
The report in hand was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution; it was given an obviously biased mandate; it was initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson who received money from the Palestinians and was forced to resign.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has a singular obsession with Israel. It has passed more resolutions against Israel than against Syria, North Korea and Iran combined. In fact, it has passed more resolutions against Israel that against all the countries of the world combined.
So, Israel treats this report as flawed and biased, and it urges all fair-minded observers to do the same. Such fair-minded observers recently investigated Israel’s conduct in the Gaza campaign. They include senior generals from the United States and NATO countries. They found that not only did Israel uphold the highest standards of international law, in the laws of armed conflict, they said that Israel exceeded the highest standards.
Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the laws of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies, and it will continue to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with highest international standards.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 21, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu remarks meeting with French FM Fabius rejects France’s Palestinian peace initiative

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PM Netanyahu meets with French FM Fabius

Source: MFA, 6-21-15

Peace will only come from direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. It will not come from UN resolutions that are sought to be imposed from the outside. President Abbas believes he can avoid such direct negotiations.
PM Netanyahu meets with French FM Fabius

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 21 June 2015), met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and told him at the start of their meeting:

“Mr. Foreign Minister, the history of the French and Jewish people is long and interconnected. It was the French Revolution that brought about the emancipation of French Jews, and it gained them full civic rights. And Jews began to participate in French life in all areas: In culture and literature, in economics, in politics. We were inspired in many ways by the principles of ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité.’ Theodor Herzl and the founding fathers of Zionism drew much inspiration from the experience of France.

France was also our closest ally in the formative years of the state. We will never forget the crucial support that was offered to us in times of need. And I believe today France also has a crucial role to play. We urge France to stand firm and prevent a bad deal that will pave Iran’s path to the bomb.

The new US State Department report on Iranian involvement in terrorism is another wake-up call. Iran’s subversion and aggression is rampant, both in and beyond the Middle East. Its terror network now encompasses over 30 countries in many continents. And under the imminent nuclear agreement, Iran will not only receive a clear path to nuclear weapons, it will also receive many, many billions of dollars, enabling it to upgrade its terrorism worldwide and of course its aggression in the region.

Mr. Minister, today in Jerusalem a Palestinian terrorist brutally stabbed a policeman. On Friday a Palestinian terrorist shot dead an Israeli citizen. Not only has the Palestinian Authority refused to condemn these acts of violence, it continues unabashedly with its campaign of incitement against Israel and Israel’s civilians. Official Palestinian propagation of violence and hatred are par for the course. It must be unequivocally condemned by all those who seek to advance peace.

Six years ago at Bar-Ilan University I laid out my vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. In this vision, a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state. And while I place no conditions on entering talks, I know that the twin foundations of peace are mutual recognition and security. Mutual recognition means that the Palestinians must finally recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. I find it frankly inconceivable that while the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian nation-state, they refuse to accord us the same privilege, recognizing a Jewish nation-state. And if they continue to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state, what kind of peace are they offering us?

I think the other pillar, the need for security, is self-evident for anyone that follows developments in this region. The Middle East is undergoing a period of unprecedented volatility and violence. States that have existed for almost a century are disintegrating before our eyes. And Islamist extremists are rushing to fill up the vacuum. ISIS leads the Sunni radicals. Iran heads the Shiite militants. And Israel faces terrorist armies amassed on our borders in the North and in the South.

A peace that isn’t anchored in iron-clad security arrangements on the ground, in which Israel can defend itself, such a peace will simply not survive and we will not agree to it. Our concerns are not pretexts or excuses. They are genuine. A peace deal that ignores these realities will be swept away by the winds of extremism and violence that blow throughout the Middle East.

Mr. Foreign Minister, peace will only come from direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. It will not come from UN resolutions that are sought to be imposed from the outside. President Abbas believes he can avoid such direct negotiations. He wants to avoid the give and take of negotiations. And why does he go that route? Because even though the Palestinians ran away from the negotiations again and again and again, it is Israel that is being blamed.

Last year, the Palestinians slammed the door on Secretary Kerry’s framework for negotiations. They slammed the door on Prime Minister Barak. They slammed the door on Prime Minister Sharon. They slammed the door on Prime Minister Olmert. They slammed the door on me.

They attempt to impose terms on Israel, but they will fail. And this attempt will not merely fail, it will drive peace away. First, Israel will resist the imposition of terms from the outside. And second, the Palestinians will never agree to negotiate if they think the international community will give them what they want without negotiations. I think there is no magic shortcut. Peace demands a commitment to direct negotiations without preconditions. Peace demands a sustained effort to overcome obstacles. I am ready for such an effort.”

The Prime Minister also said: “We’ve been informed by the Government of Egypt that it is dispatching an ambassador to Israel. This is an important piece of news. We appreciate it. It’s something that has been, that is deeply welcomed in Israel and I think it’s very good for cementing the peace that exists between Egypt and Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 17, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Archaeological Team Responsible for the Discovery of a Clay Jar from the Time of King David

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Meets with Archaeological Team Responsible for the Discovery of a Clay Jar from the Time of King David

Source: PMO, 6-17-15


Photo by Haim Zah, GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, met with the archaeological team responsible for the discovery – at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Elah Valley – of a rare inscription, on a clay jar, from the time of King David. The archaeologists told the Prime Minister about the jar and noted that up until five years ago there were no known inscriptions from the Kingdom of Judah in the 10th century BCE. The team pointed out that four have been discovered in recent years – two from Khirbet Qeiyafa, one from Jerusalem and one from Beit Shemesh, thus attesting that writing was more widespread than previously thought.

Among those attending today’s meeting were Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology, Saar Ganor from the Israel Antiquities Authority, and other IAA personnel who were involved in the excavations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This is an amazing find and a very important discovery. It attests to what happened here, in this country, in the time of King David.”

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

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PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

Source: MFA, 6-3-15

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

 PM Netanyahu meets Canadian FM Nicholson

Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

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

“Rob, welcome to Jerusalem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PM Netanyahu’s Condolences to the Biden Family

Source: PMO, 5-31-15

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

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

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

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks to Celebrate Israel 2015 in NY

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

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

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

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

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

Source: PMO, 5-17-15

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

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

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

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

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

Source: PMO, 5-15-15

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

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Copyright: GPO/Avi Ohayon

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 34th Government of Israel

(Knesset website)

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

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

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

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

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

Source: PMO, 5-13-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

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

April 25, 2015

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