ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES
- February 26, 2015
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 26, 2015
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 25, 2015
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 11, 2015
Source: MFA, 12-15-14
I very much appreciate the Secretary of State’s efforts to prevent a deterioration in the region. Attempts by the Palestinians and several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks (Monday, 15 December 2014) in Rome:
“I would like to send my condolences to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and to the Australian people over the loss of innocent life. International Islamic terrorism knows no borders; therefore, the struggle against it must be global.
This afternoon I met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. This was our first meeting since he was elected Prime Minister and it was very good. Israel and Italy have much in common and many joint interests and we decided to expand cooperation in very many areas and on all levels.
I come here from a serious conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry. We discussed a range of issues including Iran, Syria, the war against ISIS and others. Of course, we also discussed at length the Palestinian issue. I very much appreciate the Secretary of State’s efforts to prevent a deterioration in the region. I said that the attempts of the Palestinians and of several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation and will endanger Israel; therefore, we will strongly oppose this.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 15, 2014
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 8, 2014
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 19, 2014
Source: WH, 11-18-14
I strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack on worshipers at a synagogue in Jerusalem, which killed four innocent people, including U.S. citizens Aryeh Kupinsky, Cary William Levine, and Mosheh Twersky, and injured several more. There is and can be no justification for such attacks against innocent civilians. The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the victims and families of all those who were killed and injured in this horrific attack and in other recent violence. At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward towards peace.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 18, 2014
Source: PMO, 11-11-14
יום שלישי י”ח חשון תשע”ה
Photo by: GPO Click Here to Enlarge Picture
Photo by: GPO
Greetings to all of you, my friends, all of you who are attending the General Assembly 2014. Greetings from Jerusalem – the eternal and united capital of the Jewish people.
Michael are you speaking or am I speaking?
Thank you, Michael, and thank you all.
I want to thank my friend of many decades, Michael Siegal, for the kind introduction, and I want to thank you, Michael, for the exemplary work you’re doing as Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federations.
And I also want to acknowledge and salute DeDe Feinberg, Chair of the Executive Committee;
Jerry Silverman, the JFNA President and CEO;
and the hundreds of leaders and professionals who are there tonight, for the terrific job you do to strengthen the Jewish communities of North America and to strengthen support for Israel.
Your communities have stood resolutely by our side as Israel has defended itself time and again against enemies bent on our destruction, including during this past summer in Operation Protective Edge.
You led solidarity missions; you raised money to help those in need; and you held rallies in support for Israel. And as our soldiers defended Israel on the battlefield, you helped defend Israel in another battlefield – in the court of public opinion. And you did that by doing something very simple – you just told the truth. You told the truth about Israel’s just battle against Hamas terrorists.
I want to say two words to you: Thank you. Thank you for standing up for Israel. Thank you for standing up for the truth.
I also want to recognize Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, a true hero of the Jewish people. Natan, like you, works day and night to strengthen the Jewish future.
And finally, I want to recognize Ron Dermer, Israel’s exceptionally talented ambassador in Washington.
Thank you, Ron, for all you are doing to strengthen the bonds between Israel and the United States and between Israelis and Americans – American Jews and American non-Jews.
And by the way, Ron, you can tell Vice President Biden that I know we’re still buddies. We’ll always be buddies.
The Vice President said yesterday that we don’t always agree. That’s true.
But we definitely agree that Israel has no greater friend and ally than the United States, and that the United States has no greater friend and ally than the State of Israel.
I deeply appreciate the unique and special friendship between Israel and the United States of America, as well as the great friendship between Israel and the state of Canada.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s important to have friends like the United States and Canada because, it’s important for any country to have such alliances, but especially for a country like Israel that faces many challenges unlike any other nation on Earth.
But none of these challenges is more important than the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Our goal must not be merely to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons today. We must also prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons tomorrow.
Iran is openly committed to Israel’s destruction. And even as Iran negotiates a nuclear deal with the leading powers in the international community, its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, brazenly calls for Israel’s annihilation. These are not my words, these are his words: Israel’s annihilation.
He just did it again three days ago on his Twitter account. That’s apparently the Iranian regime’s idea of modernity – tweeting about the annihilation of Israel.
But I’m afraid these aren’t mere words. These aren’t mere words; they’re not just statements thrown out in the air, which is harmful enough. The regime in Iran’s wild rhetoric is also backed by murderous action.
Iran arms, trains, finances the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It has supplied them, and its main terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, with tens of thousands of rockets to fire on Israeli citizens. Iran perpetrates murder and mayhem throughout the Middle East – in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and elsewhere. It has spread a reign of terror across five continents – from Bangkok to Burgas, and even an attempt in Washington, DC.
Iran’s savagery abroad is also matched by its brutality at home. The ayatollah regime executes political opponents, religious and ethnic minorities, gays, feminists and journalists. And executions have increased, not decreased, under the supposedly moderate Rouhani regime.
This is how Iran acts without nuclear weapons; now imagine how Iran will act if a deal is made that leaves it as a threshold nuclear power.
It’s obvious that Iran wants to remove the sanctions that have had such a devastating impact on its economy. But it should be equally obvious that Iran is not prepared to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return.
Unfortunately, instead of holding firm and demanding that Iran dismantle its program, the international community is reportedly, and I hope these reports do not prove to be true, but the international community is reportedly willing to leave Iran’s nuclear program largely intact. They hope to rely on intelligence and inspectors to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
I believe this would be a bad deal and a huge mistake.
We must recognize the limitations of our own intelligence gathering capabilities. Remember – for years, both Israel’s intelligence and US intelligence failed to discover Iran’s secret enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom. And given that record, there is no reason to believe that our intelligence facilities will be perfect in the future.
As for inspectors, they weren’t able to stop North Korea from getting the bomb. And if the ten year run-around that Iran has given the International Atomic Energy Agency is any indication, inspectors won’t stop Iran from getting the bomb either.
The IAEA itself has reported just last week that Iran continues to conceal the most suspicious aspects of its nuclear program from the international inspectors that are already in Iran.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Some people have suggested that Iran can help America solve the problems of the Middle East.
But Iran is not part of the solution.
It’s a huge part of the problem.
The Islamic State of Iran is not a partner of America.
It’s an enemy of America.
And it should be treated as an enemy – by keeping tough sanctions on the regime; by making clear that the international community is determined to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb.
See, the worst thing that can happen now is for the international community to agree to a deal that leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear power and removes the sanctions.
That would be a disaster of historic proportions. It would embolden all of Iran’s terrorist proxies throughout the region; it would trigger a nuclear arms race between Sunnis and Shi’ites that would endanger the entire planet. And it would pose, needless to say, a grave danger to the State of Israel.
Israel cannot allow a regime committed to its destruction to develop the weapons to achieve that goal.
But the alternative to a bad deal is not war.
It means giving existing sanctions and even stronger sanctions more time to work to achieve the goal of fully dismantling Iran’s military nuclear capabilities.
To remove sanctions before that goal is reached is to remove any hope of a genuine diplomatic solution.
That is why avoiding a bad deal and maintaining strong pressure on Iran should be the policy of all responsible governments. So too, all responsible governments should help President Obama in his effort to degrade and defeat ISIS.
But as I said to the United Nations a few months ago, to defeat ISIS and allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle and lose the war.
The greatest threat facing our world is to have the forces of militant Islam get the bomb.
That must never be allowed to happen, for Israel’s sake, for the peace in the Middle East, for the peace and security of the entire world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we work to prevent the ultimate danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, we must also act forcefully to confront Palestinian terrorism and incitement.
In recent weeks, we have seen a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks against Jews across the country, including here in Jerusalem.
These attacks have been accompanied by a systemic campaign of incitement, including libels about Israel trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount and even wild allegations that we are planning to destroy Muslim holy sites.
These are false accusations. They’re absolute fabrications. Israel is fully committed to the status quo.
Last week, I spoke to King Abdullah of Jordan, and I reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintain the religious status quo on the Temple Mount.
I will continue to make every effort to restore calm, to restore quiet and security, so that all may enjoy the religious freedom guaranteed by Israeli law.
But I regret to say that the Palestinian Authority, which should also be working to calm tensions, has joined Hamas and other radical Islamists in fanning the flames.
President Abbas himself called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount. He used the words: “by any means possible.”
See, this – the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, where Jews have visited peacefully for years – President Abbas says we should not set foot there. That’s changing the status quo.
President Abbas publicly praised the Islamic Jihad terrorist who tried to murder Rabbi Yehuda Glick, declaring that the would-be assassin would, and here’s his quote: “would go to heaven as a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places.” That’s the end of the quote.
And just today President Abbas accused Jews of “contaminating,” his word – contaminating the Temple Mount.
Once again, this incitement to violence is coupled with revisionist history intended to delegitimize the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
The official Facebook page of Fatah, just turn it on, you’ll see it, you have to Google this to believe this. The official Facebook page of Fatah denies that the Jewish people have any connection to the Temple Mount or that there was ever a Temple Mount at all – a temple on the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem, the ancient City of David, like the Land of Israel, is simply erased by the Palestinians from their history books.
Unfortunately, the international community does not hold the Palestinians responsible for this sort of incitement and denial of history, and I think that’s tragic, because these distortions and this incitement are so corrosive to the effort to reach a genuine peace.
Rather than help advance peace, many in the international community are setting back the cause of peace by convincing Palestinians that they can have a state without making peace with Israel.
Recognizing a Palestinian state without demanding an end to the Palestinian Authority’s pact with Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization is absurd.
Recognizing a Palestinian nation-state without demanding that the Palestinians recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people is unjust.
Recognizing a Palestinian state without demanding an end to incitement in official Palestinian media and schools is reckless.
And recognizing a Palestinian state without demanding robust security arrangements to enable Israel to protect itself and the peace, that is dangerous.
If the issue of Palestinian statehood is brought before the UN Security Council outside the context of a peace agreement with Israel, this should be flatly rejected. If any one-sided anti-Israel resolution is brought before that council, it should be vigorously opposed.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be solved by exploiting the automatic anti-Israel majorities in the UN bodies. You can pass anything there. But that is not the way to achieve peace.
The only way to peace is through direct negotiations that address all the core issues.
Israel is ready for these negotiations; Israel is ready for peace; I am ready for peace. But it must be a genuine peace, a durable peace, and for that, we must have a Palestinian partner who is committed to forging such a genuine peace – a partner who is prepared to confront terrorism and end incitement; a partner who is prepared to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people; a partner who is prepared to address Israel’s legitimate security concerns seriously; a partner who wants a Palestinian state not to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it once and for all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There are many countries in the region today who do want to put the conflict behind us. I think that offers hope.
There are leading Sunni Arab states that are re-evaluating their traditional hostility towards Israel. They increasingly understand that the real threat to them doesn’t come from Israel. It comes from militant Sunni radicals like ISIS and from a nuclear-armed Iran.
And I believe that cooperation with these states – that are more ready to work for peace and security with Israel than ever before – I believe that cooperation with them can help open the door to peace with the Palestinians, and I believe this is possible. But for that, we need the international community to stand by Israel, to demand from the Palestinians to stop incitement and to demand from them to go for peace.
For 66 years, the Jewish communities of North America have been dedicated partners in building the State of Israel.
You have helped us transform Israel into a global technological powerhouse, a wonder of medicine and science and innovation, a vibrant and dynamic democracy.
You have stood by Israel’s side as we forged historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and as we have worked to advance peace with the Palestinians.
And just as you have stood with Israel, Israel stands with you in confronting anti-Semitism; in strengthening Jewish identity; in working to ensure that the next generation of Jews remains just as committed to our remarkable partnership; and in ensuring that all Jews around the world know that they will always have a home in Israel.
We are one people.
We share one history,
And we have one destiny.
Thank you all.
Thank you for standing by Israel, and good bye from Jerusalem.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 11, 2014
Source: Jerusalem Post, 11-10-14
Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly on Monday and said that the United States will never abandon Israel….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 10, 2014
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 29, 2014
Source: PMO, 10-29-14
Photo: Haim Zach, GPO
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your important and moving words. I believe they reflect the feelings of a great many Israeli citizens. When Israel is pressured to make concessions regarding its security, it is easiest to give in. We receive applause and attend ceremonies on lawns, but later the rockets and tunnels come.
As Prime Minister, I stand firm with regard to Israel’s security. I care about the lives of each and every citizen and each and every soldier. I have been on battlefields many times. I risked my life for this country, and I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger it. And it must be understood, our supreme interests, first and foremost security and the unity of Jerusalem, are not the top priority of those same anonymous sources that attack us and me personally. I am being attacked only because I am protecting the State of Israel. If I did not protect the State of Israel, if I did not stand up decisively for our national and security interests, they would not attack me. And despite the attacks I face, I will continue to protect our country; I will continue to protect the citizens of Israel.
I would also like to add that I respect and appreciate our deep connection with the United States. Since the establishment of the country, we have had disagreements with the US and we will have disagreements in the future as well. However, they are not at the expense of the close relationship between our peoples and our countries. We have seen time and again, this year as well, that support for the State of Israel is ever increasing among the American public, and this support reached an all-time high. The strategic alliance and the moral covenant between our countries continues and will continue.
Dear Ze’evi family, my colleagues, Members of Knesset,
It is the way of the world that after a person’s death, as the years pass the lines of their personality fade from our memories and their presence dims in public opinion and public consciousness. This did not happen in the case of Gandhi, Rehavam Ze’evi. In the 13 years that have passed since his horrendous murder here in the heart of Jerusalem, the special figure he represented has become sharper.
Gandhi was a fighter and a man of letters. He walked the length and breadth of the country. Nothing undermined his confidence in the justness of Zionism’s path. He was consumed with a fire to complete his mission – to share his love for the Land of Israel, to contribute to the strength of the State of Israel and to ensure the well-being and security of the people of Israel.
Gandhi dedicated the best years of his life to defending the country and protecting its borders. He knew that the fight against our enemies was not only a security-military campaign, but also a fight to prove the rightness of our path and the justness of our historic rights to the Land of Israel and in the Land of Israel. These two challenges still concern us today, just as they did in the past. Even in the sixty-seventh year of our independence, we still have to deal with significant threats to the security of Israel in a changing Middle East, a Middle East in which radical Islam has raised it head and its proxies compete to see which of them can be the most extreme. It is enough to look at an updated map of Iraq and Syria to see the chaos that is raging there, instigated by the followers of the idea of a caliphate. The black flags are flying and the crimson blood is spilling like water.
In the face of the multitude of threats that surround us, we are determined to protect ourselves as necessary, first and foremost by defending our borders, and of course within our borders. Gandhi contributed significantly to this security doctrine. The more veteran members among us remember the years after the Six Day War. We remember the attacks that came from the Jordanian border, and we came to conclusions. Just recently we built a fence along a different border, our border with the Sinai Peninsula, a fence more than 200 kilometers long, a tremendous engineering wonder that helps us stop terror attacks from Sinai and the penetration of illegal infiltrators to the State of Israel. We are working diligently to strengthen our other borders similarly.
Gandhi was a pioneer in creating a security doctrine and implementing it. When he was Head of the Central Command, he led IDF soldiers in a joint engineering and operational campaign to prevent penetration from the Jordan River. He led IDF fighters in dozens of pursuits of terrorists who sought to break through our eastern defensive line. “In Israel, the commanders led the charge in pursuits; they adhered to their mission, charged forward, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.” And indeed within a few years quiet was restored to the Jordan Valley, which was and remains the State of Israel’s eastern security border.
As to the second challenge, Israel has long faced attacks on its right to exist. Some people deny the strong affinity of the people of Israel for its land, an affinity that was formed 4,000 years ago in the Land of Israel and 3,000 years ago with Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Some people are not willing to recognize the right of our people to a nation-state of their own, who are not willing to recognize the right of the people of Israel to a nation-state for the Jewish people. This was and remains the root of the conflict. There are also quite a few people who accuse IDF soldiers of war crimes, even when we defend ourselves – when we defend ourselves with the highest morality against rocket attacks and terror tunnels, against a blood-thirsty enemy that uses its own children as human shields and does not care that these victims pile up. Or perhaps the opposite is true – the enemy does care and wants more and more victims, and more victims from among its own people. When we defend ourselves against such an enemy, we still face unbelievable hypocrisy and disrespect and baseless accusations.
Quite a bit of this slanderous propaganda was discredited by Gandhi, using his knowledge and expertise which were matchless. He knew very well that the light of Israel had never been extinguished in the Land of Israel, and even when we were exiled from our land we yearned to return of the land of our forefathers. Zionism led to an unbelievable change: It ingathered the exiles back to our homeland; it transformed us into a strong and independent people; and it transformed Israel into a flourishing and prosperous country.
Gandhi said, “The IDF is the only army in history that conquered the Temple Mount and did not destroy or loot the houses of worship on it.” This is a proven fact – only under Israeli sovereignty was the freedom of access to the holy places of all religions upheld. Only under Israeli sovereignty.
So at this session in memory of Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, we will honor his great contribution, a dual contribution: First, his contribution to Israel’s security; and second, his contribution to deepening our national consciousness and proving our justness.
May Gandhi’s memory be blessed.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 29, 2014
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 8, 2014
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 1, 2014
Source: WH, 10-1-14
11:23 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it’s good once again to welcome the Prime Minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu. Obviously, he’s no stranger to the White House. I think I’ve met with Bibi more than any world leader during my tenure as President.
We meet at a challenging time. Israel is obviously in a very turbulent neighborhood, and this gives us an opportunity once again to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and our ironclad commitment to making sure that Israel is secure.
Throughout the summer, obviously all of us were deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza. I think the American people should be very proud of the contributions that we made to the Iron Dome program to protect the lives of Israelis at a time when rockets were pouring into Israel on a regular basis. I think we also recognize that we have to find ways to change the status quo so that both Israeli citizens are safe in their own homes and schoolchildren in their schools from the possibility of rocket fire, but also that we don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.
And so we’ll discuss extensively both the situation of rebuilding Gaza but also how can we find a more sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Our agenda will be broader than that, obviously. I’ll debrief Bibi on the work that we’re doing to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, and the broader agenda that I discussed at the United Nations, which is mobilizing a coalition not only for military action, but also to bring about a shift in Arab states and Muslim countries that isolate the cancer of violent extremism that is so pernicious and ultimately has killed more Muslims than anything else.
And we’ll also have an opportunity to discuss the progress that’s being made with respect to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, which obviously has been a high priority for not only Israel, but also the United States and the world community.
So we have a lot to talk about, and I appreciate very much the Prime Minister coming. It’s challenging I think for an Israeli Prime Minister to have to work so hard during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but I know that the Prime Minister’s utmost priority is making sure that his country is safe during these difficult times. And we’re glad that the United States can be a partner in that process.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Mr. President, first I want to thank you. I want to thank you for the unflinching support you gave Israel during our difficult days and difficult summer we had — expressed in so many ways, but also in an additional installment of support for Iron Dome, which has saved so many lives, saved many lives across the border. And I thank you for that, and for the continuous bond of friendship that is so strong between Israel and the United States.
I also want to thank you for this opportunity to meet with you and to discuss the enormous challenges facing the United States and Israel in the Middle East. There’s definitely a new Middle East. I think it poses new dangers, but it also presents new opportunities.
As for the dangers, Israel fully supports your effort and your leadership to defeat ISIS. We think everybody should support this. And even more critical is our shared goal of preventing Iran from becoming a military nuclear power.
As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you’ve worked so hard to put in place, and leave it as a threshold nuclear power. I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen.
Equally, I think that there are opportunities. And the opportunities, as you just expressed, is something that is changing in the Middle East, because out of the new situation, there emerges a commonality of interests between Israel and leading Arab states. And I think that we should work very hard together to seize on those common interests and build a positive program to advance a more secure, more prosperous and a more peaceful Middle East.
I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements on the ground. And I believe we should make use of the new opportunities, think outside the box, see how we can recruit the Arab countries to advance this very hopeful agenda. And I look forward to our discussions on these and many other matters.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much, everybody.
11:29 A.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 1, 2014
Source: MFA, 8-13-14
PM Netanyahu: There is a moral divide that is evident today in the world; on one side you see democracies committing to a real future for their people, and on the other you have Islamist tyrannies that have no inhibition and pursue their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds.
PM Netanyahu with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in Jerusalem
Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Wednesday, 13 August 2014), met with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Following are their statements:
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
“Governor, I want to welcome your delegation to Israel. It’s a pleasure to see you all here, especially at this time. I just said to you that the first thing I want you to do is to send warmest regards to your father. I remember him fondly from my days in the UN. At that time in the UN, I had to address the question of the constant attempts to force a moral asymmetry on the world or a false symmetry on Israel. That’s what you do in the United Nations if you are the ambassador of Israel. And I remember how strongly, firmly and clearly Governor Cuomo, Mario Cuomo, stood with Israel at the time and this is a tradition that continues with you and your delegation.
I want to thank you for coming here, for standing clearly with Israel, representing the American people and the people of New York, and also representing the rejection of this false symmetry that is, has made. Just as you wouldn’t put America and ISIS on the same moral plane, you’d never put Israel and Hamas on the same moral plane. Remember that Hamas celebrating 9/11; they celebrated the murder of thousands of innocent people, including thousands of New Yorkers. They celebrated! They were standing on the roofs cheering while all the people of Israel grieved with the United States. When the United States killed Bin Laden, they accused the United States and condemned the United States of committing crimes. This tells you where Hamas is and Israel is on the other side.
Hamas continues to do these horrible things that ISIS does: They persecute Christians, they persecute gays, they persecute women, they basically reject modernity and there are a terrorist tyranny that is imposed on their people. And where their people reject being used as human shields, you know what they do, Governor? They execute them. This is the kind of moral divide that is evident today in the world, and on one side you see Israel and the United States representing democracies committing to human rights, committing to a real future for our people; and on the other side, you have the likes of ISIS and Hamas, Islamist tyrannies that have no inhibition and pursue their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds.
I thank you for coming here and standing on the right side of the moral divide.”
New York Governor Cuomo:
“Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, Prime Minister, it’s our pleasure. We know that you’re going through a very difficult time right now and Israel is going through a very difficult time. And that is precisely why we’re here: Because we want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, we want to stand in solidarity with you. The delegation that has come forward is unprecedented in some ways. We have both sides of the legislature, the Assembly and the Senate. It’s a bipartisan delegation. We have business representatives, [unclear] leaders, and we all wanted to come as one, in solidarity, in unity, to say to Israel: We understand the situation you’re in, we understand what you are facing and we support your right, your leave to defend your people against terror.
The United States has always been a strong ally of Israel on many, many levels. As New Yorkers, we have many connections, family connections, cultural connections, historic connections, so our relations go very deep. And I speak for all New Yorkers when I say: We stand in solidarity with Israel. The fight that you fight is the fight against terror. Unfortunately in New York, we’ve had a rude awakening to the pain and suffering that terror can cause in 9/11. So we have a special sensitivity in our hearts for what you’re going through now.
We wish you peace, everyone hopes that the killing will stop and we can get to a place of peace. I know that’s your hope. You’ve been quite articulate and eloquent on the subject, but we understand that Israel must defend itself. The discovery of these tunnels I find very troubling indeed. It shows the extensive approach of the enemy, the constant rocket fire and the Iron Dome is successful, but it must stop and we understand that also. So, we pray for peace. We stand with you in defense.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 13, 2014
Source: MFA, 6-26-14
Leaders and Members of Congress,
I am humbled to stand here today in this Rotunda, in this great Pantheon of Democracy, the Congress of the United States.
Here, you give expression to the unbreakable spirit of the American people. It was first expressed 237 years ago when your forefathers signed a document whose words will echo for all time. “Among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Those words resonate with as much meaning today, as they did when America’s first patriots wrote them. They have inspired generations of Americans to dream of a better America. And they have inspired peoples across the globe to dream for a better world.
Many people call me a dreamer. I suppose that’s why I have always felt at home here in America. America that was given the privilege to carry the dreams of humanity. My own first dream was to be a shepherd on a kibbutz. This dream came true. At dawn, I watched the sheep in order not to lose one. At night, I watched the stars in order not to miss one.
The dreams of a young shepherd were interrupted by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s George Washington, who called me to serve the Jewish state at birth. I was 24 years old. yet Ben-Gurion entrusted me with heavy responsibilities. He made me Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. He charged me with securing our young nation’s ability to defend itself. I worked hard. I had little time to study. I didn’t know a word of English.
After our War of Independence, Ben-Gurion suggested I go the United States to learn English. “Study the American dream.” He told me. So I did.
I learned that America is not a land for the idle. It is a home for the daring. The American dream is about hard work, pioneering spirit, can-do attitude. I learned that the two great bodies that sit under this iconic marble dome – the Senate and the House of Representatives – offered a tiny Israel, struggling for life, an unbelievable and unbreakable friendship.
You helped Israel out of its loneliness. You helped Israel overcome our small size in a tough neighborhood. You helped us maintain a resilient democracy, to become strong enough to take risks for peace. Whether through military assistance and security cooperation or through diplomatic and moral support, you sent us a clear message: That we are not alone.
On behalf of all the people of Israel, I want to thank my friend and Israel’s friend, President Barack Obama, for standing by our side with an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.
I want to thank each and every one of you, the American Congress, for your unwavering, bipartisan and generous support. Thank you for helping us weather so many storms, And for giving us confidence to face the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The challenges we face are considerable. Together, we must fight terrorism, advance peace, prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Like President Obama, Israel hopes that the issue of Iran will be resolved peacefully. And like President Obama, we believe that Iran should be judged by actions not words.
The artificial structures in the Middle East built by the previous empires are falling apart. At the same time, the rules governing the world are being rewritten. Security and prosperity are no longer mainly national issues. National economies are dependent on the global economy. National security is increasingly dependent on fighting global terrorism. And national security is now increasingly dependent on fighting global terrorism.
Amidst all the chaoss in the Middle East, it is easy to sink into despair. But I have seen too much in my life to lose hope. I have seen Israel defy the odds, time and again. I have seen Israel defeat superior enemies on the battlefield and send soldiers to rescue hostages thousands of miles from home.
Israel has shown it can defend itself against those who sought our destruction. Israel did and will do, everything in our power to bring home our three kidnapped boys – Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal. I met with their parents. They asked me to speak here on their behalf. To make your voices heard all over the world to help bring our boys home. To sound a call across the world against terror. Let’s raise our voices together against terrorism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have seen the genius of Israelis make our poor Middle Eastern land bloom and turn Israel into a global center of technology. I learned that hi-tech can quench the world’s thirst for water and heal the planet. We increased yields without increasing land. As the grandson of a Rabbi burnt alive with his community by the Nazis in a synagogue in Belarus in 1942 – I know that even the darkest hour cannot prevent a new dawn from arriving.
Today and together, we must tackle the two monumental challenges we face: Terrorism and poverty.
Terror knows no borders and obeys no rules. It kills hundreds of thousands, and turns millions into refugees. We see it in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Gaza and elsewhere. Terrorists act globally. Therefore, they should be fought globally. We must fight not only the acts of terrorism but the roots of terrorism. Not just by military means. But by drying up their financial resources. By sanctioning their suppliers of arms. By delegitimizing their actions. By weaving a modern regional net that can catch terrorists and protect the innocent populations.
Arabs are not Israel’s enemies. The terrorists are the enemies of both of us. Terrorists spread danger over the entire region. The region must come together to stop them. The time is ripe to do so.
Religions can play a meaningful role in restoring tolerance and hope. Religion can never permit terrorists to hijack faith and perpetrate violence in the name of heaven. We need more voices like Pope Francis. We need rabbis, priests and imams to preach respect for God in heaven and life on earth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is our duty to offer the young generation a vision more compelling more promising for the future. The population of the Middle East grew 5 times over in the last 50 years. Its economy did not.
Poverty soared. An era of science replaced the era of land. We experience it daily. Israel has little land, even less water and no oil. But we became a start-up nation through hi-tech and hard work. I learned that the turmoil of today can provide a new hope for tomorrow. And my dream today is that the Middle East will become a start-up region. To make that happen, leaders in the region must do their share to open their societies.
Because without free thinking there is no new thinking. And without openness there are no discoveries. Global companies should play a role helping the region become up to date and prepare for tomorrow. Two thirds of the Middle East population is under 25. For some, that is a cause for concern. For me, it’s a source of hope. For business, it’s a great opportunity for investment both economically and socially. Global companies are aware that young people want a different future.
They want free expression and self-expression. They want equal rights, including the equal right to be different.
Our two countries – Israel and America – also have a unique contribution to offer. We’re not the same size but we share the same values and the same dreams. Our dreams keep us young. Our values keep us true.
What Israel already learned from experience, we want to share with our neighbors. In my decades of having the privilege of serving Israel. I saw her become a thriving democracy. A diverse society. A leading defense force. And a cutting edge scientific community.
Together we can help put the region on a more promising course. Through initiatives in health, education, agriculture, water, and science. I hope to dedicate myself to this work in the years ahead.
As for America, it remains indispensable. America is the greatest power in the world today. And the only great power in history that never tried to become an Empire. You became great not by taking but by giving. America is a force for good. A force for progress. A force for peace. The world is fortunate that America continues to lead it. 60 years ago, America looked to the moon to discover a distant land. Today, the United States is leading a major scientific effort to reveal the secrets of the mind. We are partners in this effort. May I say that in my judgment, there may be more to discover in the brain than on the moon.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
America and Israel should continue to work together to advance peace. Wars can be waged alone. Peace calls for a collective effort. Israel went through 7 wars and attained 2 peace agreements. With Egypt – the largest Arab country. And Jordan – our longest shared border. I hope that we will be able to renew peace talks with the Palestinians soon. Israel does not intend to rule over other people. It stands against our values and heritage. Israel is committed to Tikkun Olam, bettering the world, and making peace with its neighbors.
President Abbas is clearly a partner for peace. He spoke bravely in Saudi Arabia, in Arabic, against the kidnappings, against terror, and for peace. But you cannot put fire and water in the same glass. Hamas is clearly not a partner for peace. Hamas fires rockets at our civilians. They oppose peace and support terror. Finding a way forward is hard. But we must not lose hope. There is no better solution than two states for two peoples. A Jewish state – Israel. And an Arab state – Palestine.
Peace between Israel and Palestine can forge a broader regional peace. A bridge should be built to enable an Israeli peace initiative to meet the Arab peace initiative. I have lived long enough to see the impossible become possible. To skeptics, I can say: Believe me. Peace is the most possible impossibility.
In one month, I will end my term as Israel’s ninth President. But I will never give up on the struggle to achieve peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I leave you today with one piece of advice. It is the advice of a boy who dreamed on a kibbutz who never imagined where his blessed life would take him. When Theodore Herzl said: “If you will it, it is no dream.” He was right. Looking back on the life of Israel, our dreams proved – not to be too big – but too small.
Because Israel achieved much more than I could have ever imagined. So I ask only one thing of you, the United States of America, this mighty nation of dreamers. Don’t dream small. You are great. Dream big. And work to will those dreams into a new reality. For you and all humanity. God bless you all. And God bless the United States of America.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 26, 2014
Source: WH, 6-25-14
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Good evening everyone—erev tov. And, thank you so much, Ron, Rhoda, for this lovely evening. It’s a true honor, Ron, to be asked to celebrate one of Israel’s greatest sons and a walking global treasure, my friend President Shimon Peres.
Over the years, Mr. President, you have been many things—a dreamer, a state-builder, a founding father, a prime minister, a peacemaker. Your life has been the life of the state of Israel. You all sometimes hear him called an “elder statesman,” but I know every one of us in this room would kill to have the energy that you have (Laughter), You’ve won the world’s admiration and most of its medals, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and, tomorrow, the Congressional Gold Medal—together, America’s highest civilian honors. And you didn’t just win the Nobel Peace Prize, you earned it, and you earn it every single day. So thank you, Mr. President, for your tireless efforts to make this world a better place—for your tireless commitment to the state of Israel and tikkun olam.
President Peres and I became friends after we met in 2009 in New York, and he invited me to Israel later that year to speak at the incredible conference that he convenes. And since then, I’ve been extremely privileged to meet with him many times and to benefit not only from his extraordinary wisdom but also from his unbelievable kindness. On more than one occasion, when from very far away, he sensed that perhaps I was having a bit of a rough patch, he would call or write or find some other special way of letting me know that he was there, and that I was in his thoughts. What a wonderful man. Thank you.
Someone once asked Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv, how it is that you become mayor of a city in Israel—and he said, first, you build the city (Laughter). So, if someone asks President Peres how he came to lead the state of Israel, well—first, you build the state of Israel. And that is just what you have done, more than any other man alive. And, that makes him a great gift to all of us—the last of Israel’s founding lions.
From the moment that President Truman made the United States the very first country to recognize the Jewish state, 11 minutes after Shimon’s great mentor David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence in Tel Aviv, the relationship between our two proud democracies has grown like a mighty oak. As President Obama reaffirmed when he met with President Peres today, the United States’ commitment to the peace and security of Israel is unbreakable and unshakable. Our peoples share a friendship that’s rooted in our common values: liberty, democracy, human rights, and human dignity. You can see it in this room tonight, where we’ve all gathered—leaders and citizens from across America’s political spectrum, united in our love and support for Israel. And so much of that, too, is because of the personal efforts—over a lifetime—of Shimon Peres.
Now, everyone here knows that he’s eminently quotable. He’s the inventor of the “Peres-ism” (Laughter). I’m sure all of you have your favorites. There’s the one that every campaign manager should know, and I quote, he actually said it today, “Polls are like perfume—nice to smell, dangerous to swallow” (Laughter). Especially apt in this room. But the one that most stays with me is pretty simple. He said, “There are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people.”
Shimon Peres is someone who believes that despair is a sin and service is a duty. And, serve is what you have done your entire life—from your early days on the kibbutz, making the desert bloom, and throughout your decades of dedication to Israel. That’s the spirit in which Shimon Peres has worked with every American president since John F. Kennedy. That’s how he’s earned admirers the world over. And that’s why he remains so committed to advancing the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, including through his meeting with President Abbas and Pope Francis at the Vatican this month.
Mr. President, you set an example for us all. And so, we too will stay true to the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Because ultimately, the only path out of this tragic conflict is a secure, democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state (Applause).
Tonight as well, all of our hearts are hurting for the three Israeli students who were kidnapped in the West Bank, one of whom, as you all know, is also an American. President Obama and all of us in the U.S. government are deeply concerned. We have offered every assistance, and, as parents—in my case of a sixteen year old boy—we all feel this very personally. So, we pray for their safe return and for the strength for their families through this agonizing vigil. And, continued cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians is also critical—both to ensure that the search succeeds and to prevent the situation in the West Bank from further destabilizing.
One might argue that these are difficult days. But there are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people—and President Peres reminds us never to count ourselves among them. What counts is working to bend history in the direction of hope.
So, in the book that I know as Psalms, and that many of you know as Tehillim, Moses beseeches the Lord, quote, “establish thou the works of our hands upon us.” Many of us were raised on that prayer, though some of you learned it in the original. And I hear in it not only a cry to heaven, but a call to action here on earth. That’s a call you have answered, Mr. President, every day of your life. And, we are all inspired by the work to which you have put your able hands. This room is full of people deeply moved by your service, your courage, and your determination to pursue progress, security, and peace.
So, tonight, we celebrate the next chapter in the life of Shimon Peres. We join you in recommitting ourselves to the cause of peace. And, together, we ask for that ancient blessing: Establish thou the works of our hands, oh Lord. On behalf of President Obama and all of your friends here in the United States, we wish you, like Moses, “Ad meyah v’essreem!” May you live to 120! (Laughter) Thank you.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 25, 2014
Source: MFA, 6-25-14
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 25, 2014
Source: WH, 6-10-14
The people of the United States join me in offering Reuven Rivlin congratulations on his election as the next President of the State of Israel.
Over more than six decades, the United States and Israel have developed a unique relationship based on shared democratic values, our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our partnership in scientific research and innovative technology. President-elect Rivlin has a long and dedicated record of public service and we look forward to continued strong ties, to the benefit of both our nations, under Mr. Rivlin’s presidency.
As President Shimon Peres nears the end of his term, he can look back on a remarkable legacy of courage, conviction, and compassion. He has dedicated his extraordinary life to the cause of peace, and I look forward to welcoming him in Washington later this month where he will receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 10, 2014