ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF
ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS
PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at Masa’s Tenth Anniversary Event
Source: PMO, 11-14-13
יום חמישי י”א כסלו תשע”ד
Toda raba, toda raba; thank you.
I want to thank all of you. By the end of this Masa, I’ll be thanking you in Hebrew and you’ll all understand. But you understand anyway.
I want to welcome my good friend Natan Sharansky; the Deputy Minister of Education, Avi Wortzman; the Director, the Head of the Directorate of Masa, Aaron Abramovich; and the new Director-General Liron. She worked for me, and she’s great. And all the members who are here, from Masa and from the Jewish Agency, and most of all, all of you from Masa.
Now I’m going to talk about Masa, and masa means journey. The Jewish people are on a great journey. That journey began here, in this land, almost 4,000 years ago, when Abraham came here. And we’re here, and we are going to stay here, forever.
Now, there are those who don’t want us to stay here. And they are openly declaring their intention to destroy the Jewish state. They’ll never achieve that, because we won’t let them. Leading them is the regime in Iran. And Iran is pursuing a plan to build nuclear weapons for that purpose. Now, I’m not impressed with the reports that we hear that Iran has not expanded its nuclear facilities. And the reason for that is they don’t need to. They’ve got enough facilities, enough centrifuges, to develop and to complete the fissile material which is at the core of an atomic bomb. They have that, and the test today is not whether they add to the capacity they already have. The question is will the international community rollback what they have. Rollback means that they dismantle centrifuges and that’s not included in the proposed deal in Geneva. That’s what we seek to do. I understand that there’s an argument that people make. They say: “If we don’t strike this deal…”. This bad deal with Iran, from our point of view, from the international community, that’s a bad deal. But people say: “If we don’t strike this bad deal with Iran, Iran will walk away from the deal.” Well, I have news for you. They’re not going to walk away from this deal. It’s a dream deal for them. In fact what has to be done is to get a good deal for us, not for Iran. A good deal for security; a good deal for peace. And you’re not going to achieve that with smiles; you’re going to achieve that with pressure – sustained pressure of sanctions. That’s what’s required. This is part of our journey. This is part of our effort. But I guarantee you one thing. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons.
Now, we’re celebrating, we’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of Masa, and in this decade, 85,000, eighty-five-thousand young Jews, young men and women came here from so many countries into these Israel programs. And this year 11,000 participants, more than triple the annual figure before Masa program are here. I don’t think all of you fit here, but you came here from all over the world. You came here from Russia, from France, from the United States, from Great Britain, from Brazil, from Canada, from South Africa, from the Ukraine, from Venezuela, from Turkey, from many, many lands.
You came here from many lands to this land, and this is your land. And you decided to devote a year of your lives to live in Israel and you can see the dynamism of this country, the energy, the initiative, the diversity, the beauty, and you’re learning to be part of this land, part of our people, part of Israel. You are.
You’re working with wonderful programs to protect the environment, to help elderly Holocaust survivors, to work with youth at risk, to meet your counterparts, your young Israeli counterparts who are here working with you. In fact, I want to tell you, I have personal knowledge about this. I know firsthand because my younger son Avner is here with Gar’in Atid and they love working with you. Avner, why don’t you come up with the Gar’in. תבואו, עלו לבמה, come on. Come on.
No, the Gar’in too. Come on, come on, all of you with Gar’in Atid. Come over. Come on. בואו.
בואו הנה, בואו. לצד הזה.
So the last time Avner and I stood on a stage is when he won the Bible championship, and now these are the champions who are here, and there. All of you, you are all champions, champions of Masa. And I know, because he tells me, you know, at the times that he’s allowed to go home. He comes home and he says, Abba, these are great kids and this is a wonderful program. And he brings the kids who are with him from abroad and they’re wonderful kids, and they get to know Israel and they get to be the ambassadors of Israel.
Now, I want to tell you something. Twenty percent, that’s the statistic, I checked it, 20% of you who are here are going to come back permanently, as olim, and Avner just whispered in my ear, he said, say it. [Avner: “It’s not enough”]. It’s not enough. We want more. We want more of you to come. This is your home. And I want you to know, whatever you decide after this masa, whatever you decide, I hope as many of you decide to come back here and join us permanently, but I want you to know that Israel, wherever you are, is always your home. This is the meaning of Masa.
So congratulations to all of you, and we’ll see you here, again and again and again.
Toda raba; thank you