Jewish Political Brief June 3, 2013: Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov Addresses AJC Global Forum

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Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Mammadyarov Addresses AJC Global Forum

Source: AJC, 6-3-13

Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, addressing an audience of more than 1,500 at the AJC Global Forum, spoke about his country’s close ties to Israel and important strategic relationship with the U.S.

“Azerbaijan is a natural bridge that connects various civilizations and cultures,” said Mammadyarov. “Azerbaijan serves as a critical link for outreach to the Muslim world for our partners like the United States and Israel.”…READ MORE

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Jewish Political Brief June 3, 2013: Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos Addresses AJC Global Forum

 

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Greek Foreign Minister Addresses AJC Global Forum

Source: AJC, 6-3-13

H.E. Dimitris Avramopoulos Foreign Minister of Greece

H.E. Dimitris Avramopoulos

“Greece will never allow hate to grow and spread. Hate will be confronted and stopped,” said Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, referring to rising anti-Semitism in Europe. FULL SPEECH

Jewish Political Brief June 2, 2013: Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan H.E. Elmar Mammadyarov Addresses AJC Global Forum

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AJC Global Forum

H.E. Elmar Mammadyarov

Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

Foreign Minister Mammadyarov spoke about the key role his country plays as an important energy producer and the “close and friendly” relationship between his country and Israel that goes “far beyond diplomatic ties.”

Jewish Political Brief June 2, 2013: Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic H.E. Karel Schwarzenberg Addresses AJC Global Forum

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JEWISH POLITICAL BRIEF: JEWISH NEWS

AJC Global Forum

H.E. Karel Schwarzenberg

Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic

Czech Republic

“The Czech Republic will continue to firmly stand behind the government of Israel in its responsibility to provide basic security for its citizens,” Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg told the AJC Global Forum. FULL SPEECH, PRESS RELEASE

Israel Political Brief May 5, 2013: President Shimon Peres: We Left Gaza, so Why Fire Rockets?

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President Peres: We Left Gaza, so Why Fire Rockets?

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-5-13

President Peres addressed the PA peace process during his meeting with Swiss FM Didier Burkhalter Sunday, “The State of Israel wishes to restart dialogue with the PA, but we have the minimal demand of them to put an end to terror and violence towards our….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 2, 2013: Danny Ayalon testifies against former boss Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in fraud trial

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Ayalon testifies against former boss Liberman in fraud trial

Source: JTA, 5-2-13

Danny Ayalon testified that former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman advanced a diplomat’s appointment in return for information….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief April 4, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets Norwegian FM: We Can’t Let Iran Develop Nukes

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Netanyahu Meets Norwegian FM: We Can’t Let Iran Develop Nukes

Source: Arutz Sheva, 4-4-13

Netanyahu said during the meeting, “This model of a country talking, but at the same time developing nuclear weapons; threatening and at the same time developing nuclear weapons and threatening the use of nuclear weapons, we cannot allow this….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 18, 2012: Avigdor Liberman resignation takes effect as indictment postponed

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Liberman resignation takes effect as indictment postponed

Source: JTA, 12-18-12

Avigdor Liberman’s resignation as Israel’s foreign minister officially took effect, and Israel’s attorney general postponed filing an indictment for fraud and breach of trust against him….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 16, 2012: It’s official: Avigdor Liberman’s out as foreign minister

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It’s official: Liberman’s out as foreign minister

Source: JTA, 12-16-12

Avigdor Liberman officially stepped down as Israel’s foreign minister following his indictment for fraud and breach of trust….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 13, 2012: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman indicted for fraud and breach of trust

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Liberman indicted for fraud and breach of trust

Source: JTA, 12-13-12

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was indicted on fraud and breach of trust while other cases against him were closed. Read more »

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement at Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement at November 21 Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense  – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

Source: PMO, 11-21-12

Photo by GPO

“Citizens of Israel,

Eight days ago, Israel embarked on operation Pillar of Defense. The Government decided to launch the operation after the frequency of the terror attacks originating from Gaza increased over the last few months. I announced that we would respond forcibly to these attacks when we see fit. I said that we would exact a heavy price from the terror organizations.

The terror organizations assumed that we would avoid offensive action against them; they were wrong. We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities. I must say that we did this with the strong support of the leading authorities of the international community.

In particular, I wish to thank President Obama for his resolute support for Israel’s actions, for this operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also thank him for supporting the Iron Dome systems. I thank Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and express my gratitude to the Egyptians for their efforts in achieving this cease-fire.

In a phone call I had this evening with President Obama, I agreed with him that we should give the cease-fire a chance in order to enable a lull in the situation and allow for the citizens of Israel to return to routine. However, Israel obviously cannot sit idly while our enemy reinforces itself with weapons of terror. Therefore we decided, President Obama and myself, that the United States and Israel would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.

From the day the State of Israel was established, it has had to deal with complex challenges in the Middle East, and we can all see that these challenges have become even more complex in the last few years. Under these conditions we are required to navigate this ship, the State of Israel, wisely and responsibly while taking into account all considerations – military and political alike. This is what a responsible government does, and it is what we did here: we made use of our military might while applying political considerations.

Now, I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action and we may very well need to do that. But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire. As Prime Minister, I have the responsibility, and it is the highest responsibility, to make the right steps to ensure our security. That is what I have done and it is what I will continue to do.

During the last week, Israel has lost several victims. On behalf of the entire population, I send condolences to the families, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.

I would like to thank my colleagues, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. We worked together as a team, in full agreement. I also thank the Nine-Member Ministerial Forum, the Cabinet and the Government, for working – each in its field of responsibility – for the citizens of Israel. I also appreciate the factions of the Opposition and the factions in Knesset for standing with us and proclaiming their support.

I thank the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the Chief of Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, the Director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, and all of their people for their exceptional efforts in reaching our accomplishments in Pillar of Defense. On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank the IDF commanders and soldiers, the pilots, the Iron Dome operators and developers, the members of the intelligence services, all the members of the security services and to the reservists, who left their families and immediately signed up for duty.

I appreciate the mayors and heads of regional councils for displaying leadership and level-headedness at the Home Front, and above all – I salute you, the citizens of Israel. We have a strong army; we have a strong people. I am proud to by your Prime Minister

Israel Political Brief November 15, 2012: UN chief to visit Israel as part of truce efforts

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UN chief to visit Israel as part of truce efforts

Source: YNet News, 11-15-12 

Ban to meet Netanyahu, Barak and Abbas in hopes of restoring ceasefire between Israel, Hamas. France says President Hollande in talks with Israeli PM, other world leaders to avert escalation of violence. Lieberman to counterparts: We won’t agree to fragile truce.

Efforts to end Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza are underway: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to visit the region on Tuesday in order to advance a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Ban is expected to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah, but he will apparently not visit Gaza. The UN chief is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The visit was coordinated following a closed-door meeting of the Security Council following the escalation in Gaza. …READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 24, 2012: Avigdor Lieberman Tells Turkish Journalists: ‘No Reason’ to Apologize for Mavi Marmara Incident

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‘No reason’ to apologize for Mavi Marmara incident, Lieberman tells Turkish journalists

Source: JTA, 7-24-12

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Avigdor Lieberman told Turkish journalists that Israel has “no reason to apologize” for the Mavi Marmara incident….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement After Meeting with President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin

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PM Netanyahu’s Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 6-25-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
The meeting continued for over an hour; Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and National Security Advisor Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror (ret.) also attended.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian President Putin will soon deliver statements to the media and, afterwards, will sit down for lunch. They will be joined by Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin.

Russian President Putin was welcomed to the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem Residence by the Prime Minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu.
The Russian President signed the guestbook: “With blessings and appreciation for the attention.”

PM Netanyahu’s Statement After Meeting with President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin

Source: PMO, 6-25-12

President Putin, Vladimir, I want to welcome you and your delegation to Jerusalem.
Mr. President, this is your second visit to Israel as President.  Following your first visit to Israel seven years ago, Israel and Russia significantly upgraded their relations.  You mentioned the considerable expansion in trade, the economy, culture, science, technology and tourism. The foundation for the relations between our two countries is not only common interests, but the more than one million Russian-speaking Israelis.  They constitute a vast human bridge, and, in just a few short years, the Russia-speaking immigrants from Russia and the former Soviet Union have become an integral part of Israeli society.

They are partners in the army, in hi-tech, in science and medicine, in art and culture.  Mr. President, they are also partners in the government.  You know Foreign Minister Leiberman well, but there are many others including:

Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein; Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov; Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver; the chair of our coalition, Zev Elkin; Natan Sharansky, who heads the Jewish Agency; Eugene Kandel, my national economic advisor; and many others.

I must say that, rumors to the contrary, I do sometimes work with people who are not Russian speakers, but there is no doubt that the public of Russian-speakers in Israel truly serves as a living bridge between Israel and Russia.  A lot of people are crossing that bridge.  In the past year alone, over half a million Russian tourists came to Israel.  That’s an enormous number for a country the size of Israel.  It has multiplied by a factor of seven in the three years since we eliminated the need for visas from Russia.

Tourists from Russia come to Israel because they like this country; they like the sun; they like the sea; they like the history, the holy sites, and we look after these as if they were the apple of our eye.  In the Middle East, Israel safeguards freedom of religion.  All this means that Israel is a country in which Russian tourists can feel at home.

Despite all this, I have no doubt that we have barely scratched the surface of what we can accomplish together, and therefore I am certain that your current visit will lead to a further upgrade in agriculture, science, hi-tech, space and in many other areas
Mr. President, you are coming at a time of tremendous changes in our region.  Yesterday, Egypt elected a new President.  Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects the results of its elections.  We look forward to working with the new government on the basis of our peace treaty.  I believe that peace is important to Israel; I believe that peace is important to the Egyptians; I believe that peace is a vital interest for both countries; and I believe that peace is the foundation for stability in our region.

We just had the chance to discuss the current negotiations between the international community and Iran.  We agree that Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is a grave threat first and foremost to Israel, but also to the region and to the world.

Israel believes that the international community should have three clear demands of Iran: Stop enriching uranium inside Iran; remove all the enriched uranium from Iran; and dismantle the underground nuclear facility near Qom.  That is why Israel believes the international community must now do two things:  ratchet up the sanctions against Iran; and also ratchet up the demands that are being made of Iran.

Mr. President, we all aspire to peace.  I look forward to discussing with you ways in which Russia can help Israel and the Palestinians advance peace, even during these challenging times, maybe especially during these challenging times.

There is a slight difference between us that we discussed prior to beginning the press conference.  Mr. President, when you want to visit a neighboring country, you usually fly from Moscow for several hours.  Our neighborhood is much smaller.  Tomorrow, you will meet with President Abbas in Bethlehem, which is a four to five minute drive from here.  Ramallah is only ten minute’s drive from here.  The key to peace is complex, but in the end it is very simple: either President Abbas must come here or I must go to him, and I am willing for either of these possibilities to occur, however we must begin to talk.  I hope you convey this simple message tomorrow during your meeting in Bethlehem.

Regarding our neighbor to the north, a way to end the killing and the terrible suffering of the citizens of Syria must be found, and peace, security and regional stability must be pursued as far as is possible during these turbulent times.

Mr. President, two years ago during my visit to Moscow, I promised on behalf of the State of Israel that we would memorialize the historic role played by the Red Army in defeating the Nazis.  Today, I am pleased to say, we kept that promise.  You just came from Netanya, from the moving ceremony inaugurating that same memorial that recognizes the tremendous contribution of the Red Army in the victory over the Nazis.  For us, memory is a part of our existence.  We fight against Holocaust denial and we join in the fight against the attempt to deny the important role played by the Red Army in defeating the Nazi monster.

This is a fundamental and important part of our heritage.  Approximately half a million Jews fought in the ranks of the Red Army, including thousands of veterans who currently live in the State of Israel.  Each year I meet them on Victory Day.  They proudly wear their medals and I ask them, “For which battle did you receive this?”  One tells me, “In the battle defending Moscow”.  Another answers, “In Stalingrad”.  A third says, “In Kursk”, and there are those who say, “Many places”.  We salute them today.  We salute all those who fought and sacrificed their lives for humankind.
Mr. President, over the past twenty years, a special relationship between our peoples was built, and I am certain that your visit in Israel will greatly contribute to the strengthening and deepening of these ties in the years to come.

Welcome to Israel.  Welcome to Jerusalem.

Isael Political Brief November 30, 2011: Israel releases Palestinian Authority funds

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Israel releases PA funds

Source: JTA, 11-30-11

Israel released $100 million in tax funds it had withheld from the Palestinian Authority.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday the handover of the money, the transfer of which had been frozen on Nov. 1 in response to the Palestinians’ recognition as a state by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural and scientific agency.

Israel, which collects tax and customs on behalf of the Palestinian Authority under interim peace accords from the 1990s, has been troubled by the PA’s lobbying for full U.N. membership as bilateral negotiations remain stalled.

Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that the decision to free the cash, a month’s worth of levies that the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority depends on to pay its civil servants, “followed the cessation of unilateral steps on the part of the Palestinian Authority.”

“In the event of the Palestinian Authority resuming unilateral steps, the money transfer will again be reviewed,” the statement said.

Among those opposed to relinquishing the cash was Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who noted that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has feted terrorists freed by Israel as part of last month’s prisoner swap with Hamas.

But Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beiteinu party is a junior party to Netanyahu’s Likud in the conservative coalition, said Monday that he would not quit the government in protest at a restoration of the PA funds.

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2011: Avigdor Lieberman threatens to bring down government over West Bank outposts

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Lieberman threatens to bring down government over outposts

Source: JTA, 11-21-11

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to bring down the Netanyahu government if it orders the demolition of two West Bank outposts.

Lieberman said Monday at a meeting of his Yisrael Beiteinu party that he would pull his party out of the government coalition, causing it to collapse, if the government goes ahead with the planned demolition of the Givat Assaf and Migron outposts. Both demolitions have been ordered by Israel’s Supreme Court.

Lieberman also threatened to bring down the government if the Cabinet decides to transfer withheld Palestinian tax money to the Palestinian Authority. The Security Cabinet on Sunday decided to continue to withhold about $100 million in tax payments collected on the Palestinians’ behalf.

The money was withheld originally after the Palestinians were accepted as full members of UNESCO, the United Nations scientific and cultural agency, and is continuing to be withheld over Fatah-Hamas unity talks.

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