- Written by Prime Minister's Media Adviser
PM Netanyahu addresses Conference of Presidents
The combination of the battle against the forces of yesterday and the desire to embrace the opportunities of tomorrow makes countries of the world ask: Which country straddles both? And they come to a conclusion increasingly: Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening (14 February 206) made the following remarks to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:
"First I want to say that the people of Israel feel the grief of stricken families, whether by terror or as we've had today, a horrific accident, road accident. And we send our condolences to the families of those killed, and of course our hopes for the speedy recovery of the wounded.
We live in an era where there are two parallel but contradictory trends regarding the State of Israel. The first one is all too familiar to you and that's the ongoing multinational hostility to Israel. You see it at the UN; you see it at the UN Human Rights Council - I can't believe there is such a term that is so self-contradictory: UN Human Rights Council; the ICC; regrettably the EU. We've had some efforts to change at least the EU. But we know that in many of these multinational forums, Israel is singled out. I hope that one day we'll receive a double standard because right now, we're not enjoying a double standard; we are suffering a triple standard. There is one standard for the democracies - well, there's one standard for the dictatorships. They're usually exempt. The other is for the democracies and there's still a third standard for the democracy called Israel. I think you're all familiar with that and in some senses it's getting worse .
There is an opposing trend, which you've just commented on from one perspective, and I want to thank you for taking the message of Israel and the Jewish people far and wide. But the other thing that is happening simultaneously is this: Small countries like India, China, Japan, Russia - they're all coming to Israel. Scarcely a week goes by that we don't have a delegation from one of these countries of either political office-holders, or more and more, entrepreneurs, heads of companies. The same is happening in the nations of Africa and Latin America - virtually all of them. And they're all coming here. And the reason they're coming here is for two reasons.
The first reason is the concern with the spread of militant Islam, which has become a global plague and there terrorism that it produces. And countries want to have, to benefit from Israel's experience, our intelligence. I mean, military intelligence, special service intelligence, operational experience. They want to partake of that experience to help defend themselves. So one reason they're coming here with increasing numbers is the battle against the forces of yesterday, the forces of medievalism that want to take back our world at least a thousand years.
The second reason they're coming here is because they want to embrace the future, and they see Israel as a thriving, dynamic economy that has fostered innovation, that has great capabilities, and basically when they come for this reason, they come for three reasons: technology, technology and technology. That's why they're coming here.
So because of these two forces, you have this tremendous change where countries in all the continents of the world are coming to Jerusalem, coming to Tel Aviv, coming to Beer Sheba, which has become a center of cyber security for the world - a global center of cyber security. They're coming here because they want cyber security. They want to improve their management of their water resources. They want desalinization. They want recycling. They want agriculture. They want biotech. They want technology - Israeli technology, Israeli technology, Israeli technology.
And the combination of the battle against the forces of yesterday and the desire to embrace the opportunities of tomorrow makes them look around the world and they say, well, which country straddles both meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities? And they come to a conclusion increasingly: Israel.
Now, there's a dissonance between what I've just said. On the one hand, that multinational obsession. It's an obsession. There's no other word for it. You know, when the UN Human Rights Council has over half, close to 60% of its resolutions directed against that one democracy, Israel, more than everything combined - more than Syria, more than Libya, more than Iran, combined - then you know that this is an obsession. So, on the one hand, when you have this obsession and you have the contrary movement that something has to give.
And I've been talking to leaders around the world, and I've asked you to do the same, and I think you have. And I've said, "Look, isn't it about time," I say to these countries, "that the stronger relations between our countries, which are growing ever-stronger literally by the day, when would that be reflected," sir or madam, "in your voting in international, your country's votes in international forums?" And I think that we have to press this point. We shouldn't be shy about it. We shouldn't accept that there is this strange dichotomy and dissonance between the friendship and the alliances that are being built between Israel and the many countries and the way they vote about Israel in international forums. I think that's true of the EU; it's true of the Organization for African Unity; it's true in Latin America. And I think we should press this point home, because as interests shift, as Israel becomes such an important country internationally , it's important that this will be reflected in international forums as well.
Now, there is no place where there has been a more dramatic shift along the lines that I have just laid out than right here in the Middle East. Major Arab countries are changing their view of Israel, and you've just heard one example, that's the public one. That is, that they don't see Israel anymore as their enemy, but they see Israel as their ally, especially in the battle against militant Islam with its two fountainheads: the militant Islamists led by Iran and the militant Islamists led by Daesh. And to this or that extent, all or most of the Arab countries, if not all of them in the Middle East, with the exception of Syria perhaps - strike perhaps, with the exception of Syria, but that's no longer a country - they all feel threatened by this dual threat, more as you go to the Persian Gulf by Iran, and more as you go westward towards Africa from Daesh. But they all see the combination of these two threats and they see Israel as their ally, n ot as their enemy, in confronting these threats. Now, this is something that is forging new ties, many of them discreet, some of them open. And I think there too we can expect and should expect and should ask to see a change.
It used to be said that if we have, if we can have some kind of progress, political progress with the Palestinians, that would bring about better relations with the Arab world. I think it could actually be the other way around. I think the better relations with the Arab world could help bring progress with the Palestinians. I think that is very clear given the, what I regret to say is the dysfunctionality that I often see in Palestinian politics, and I think that the encouragement of Arab states, leading Arab states, for a more realistic position on the part of the Palestinian Authority might contribute to a stabilizing situation and even advancing to a better future.
So I think that, I think we live in a time of great change, rapid change, but what I want to bring to your attention is this change that you are a party to and you just witnessed. I want to say too that most recently we've had a summit in Cyprus of Israel, Greece and Cyprus, and we spoke about finding ways to cooperate in energy. This is another astounding change. Israel can be an energy-exporting country. It's a good thing we discovered the gas fields late in the game, so we had to first learn to live by our wits and by our ingenuity. But Israel has gas and we, today I appeared before the Supreme Court. I asked to appear before the Supreme Court. It's the first time an Israel prime minister has asked to appear before the Supreme Court in our history. I have to tell you, it's the first time in my life that I appeared in court period. So, it's good to close this historic day in a meeting, in this meeting with dear friends. And I think that we ha ve opportunities. We have opportunities to change our relations with the countries of the world, the countries of the Middle East and the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean. And we're working vigorously, including with your help, to realize that potential.
Now, having said that, and I can say having welcomed and working constantly to expand our relationships and our alliances, I want to say emphatically that we have no illusions that America remains the best friend of the State of Israel. The United States and Israel are the greatest allies. And I deeply appreciate the support of President Obama, the Congress, the American people. We're working together today on an MoU. I hope that we can complete it soon, and we certainly will welcome Vice President Biden, who will come to visit us. I think it's another reflection of this deep friendship between our countries. And I think the American people understand that in this turbulent Middle East and this turbulent world, America has no better friend than Israel and Israel has no better friend than the United States of America.
But of course we have one other friend that is always there, and that's the friendship of the Jewish people. I am committed to the unity of the Jewish people. I am committed to the simple principle that all Jews must feel at home in Israel. And I think as we've demonstrated recently, including in the Kotel arrangement - I want to thank Avichai and Natan Sharansky for the help that they have done there - we want to make sure that all Jews feel welcome here. And in that spirit, I want to say: You are always welcome here; your help is deeply appreciated; your friendship is unassailable; and your loyalty to the future of our people is indisputable. And for all that, I want to thank you. Thank you all."
Photo : PM Netanyahu addresses Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon
- Written by Zaka
ZAKA takes part in first UN conference since receiving consultative status last week
ZAKA Representatives Participate In
UN Disaster Management Conference In Geneva
For The First Time Since The NGO Received Consultative Status.
Jerusalem, February 2, 2016 - Just a week after receiving official consultative status at the United Nations following a four-year struggle for recognition, ZAKA Search and Rescue representatives are participating in a four-day United Nations Disaster Management Conference in Geneva entitled Humanitarian Networks and Partnership Week (1-4 February, 2016).
The conference, which focuses on the first few critical days of an international mass casualty incident, aims to establish working groups to examine how best to respond to issues including, among others: search and rescue, caring for volunteers at the disaster site, media at the disaster site, building a multi-national platform for information exchange in times of emergency, etc.
The official consultative status awarded to ZAKA on January 26, 2016 by the UN allows the Jerusalem-based international humanitarian volunteer organization to take an active role in discussions, conferences and meetings related to mass casualty incidents. It is hoped that this new status will allow ZAKA to expand its humanitarian efforts around the world and increase best practice sharing with other international emergency forces and organizations.
ZAKA International Rescue Unit commander Mati Goldstein (l) and his deputy Dano Monkotovitz attending the UN Disaster Management Conference in Geneva. Credit: ZAKA
- Written by Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem Marks International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust
Activities to take place in Israel, abroad and online
The Annual Symposium for the Diplomatic Corps has been canceled
President Obama to attend a Righteous Among the Nations Ceremony at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., United States
Yad Vashem is honoring the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust with a series of high profile events, both in Israel and abroad.
The Knesset will display a Yad Vashem special traveling exhibition, entitled "The Anguish of Liberation as Reflected in Art, 1945-1947." To see a selection of images from the exhibition, please visit our website.
Washington D.C., USA
On January 27th a unique ceremony honoring Righteous Among the Nations will be held at the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. The event, hosted by the Israeli Embassy, Yad Vashem and the American Society for Yad Vashem, will mark the first time that a ceremony presenting the medal and certificate of honor to Righteous Among the Nations will be held in the United States. The Righteous Among the Nations to be honored include two Americans, Master Sargent Roddie Edmonds and Lois Gunden, and Polish citizens Walery and Maryla Zbijewski, all of whom have been recognized posthumously by Yad Vashem for risking their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. The medals and certificates will be accepted on their behalf by their next of kin. President Barak Obama will deliver the keynote address at the event. Remarks will be offered by Israel’s Ambassador to the US, H.E. Ron Dermer; Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council and Holocaust survivor who was rescued by Righteous Among the Nations; Lenny Wilf, Chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem and Holocaust survivors.
Yad Vashem will commemorate the day with a special online event. The IRemember Wall provides people all over the world with a unique opportunity to engage in a unique commemorative activity. Each participant's Facebook profile will be randomly linked to the name of one of the over 4.5 million men, women and children currently found in Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names,and then posted to the wall together with the photo and name of the Holocaust victim. Additionally, thousands of Yad Vashem Instagram followers receive personal stories and pictures of survivors from Auschwitz-Birkenau . Educational resources, online exhibitions and materials and a range of social media will all be readily available to help thousands of people around the world commemorate the day in a meaningful way.
Yad Vashem's exhibition, "Art from the Holocaust: 100 Works from the Yad Vashem Collection" will be inaugurated by Chancellor Angela Merkel at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. The exhibition will be on display from January 26-April 3, 2016. A selection of the artworks featured in the exhibition may be viewed on Yad Vashem's website.
Yad Vashem historians, researchers and educators will travel to participate in various events and ceremonies around the world marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in many countries including Belgium, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Slovakia, Malta, Russia.
· United Nations – New York, USA
Jane Jacobs-Kimmelman, Director of the International Relations Section at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies, will attend an NGO briefing at the United Nations in New York to present Yad Vashem's approach to Holocaust education and how the International School is working with educators around the world.
· Foreign and Commonwealth Office – London, United Kingdom
Prof. Dan Michman, Head of Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research and Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair for Holocaust Studies, will deliver a lecture on the Righteous Among the Nations at a memorial service organized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in cooperation with the Israeli embassy.
· European Union – Brussels, Belgium
Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of the Yad Vashem Libraries will present a keynote lecture about Antisemitism at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Brussels.
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education.
- Written by President’s Spokesperson
President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu address Israeli ambassadors
Pres Rivlin: "Your mission is not limited to defending Israel against propaganda attacks and international pressure. Diplomacy has been and remains a vital component of the proactive advancement of the State of Israel, and the safeguarding of its vital interests."
President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday (31 January 2016) addressed a conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Israeli ambassadors, consuls general and mission heads from across the world, including those due to depart for their posts in the coming weeks.
During his visit to the MFA, the President toured the situation room, and visited the wall of remembrance to the memory of those who were killed during diplomatic service abroad.
In his address, the President said, "Israel is today a strong country. The Israel Defense Forces, and security services know the field of operations well and understand the growing and increasingly complex challenges, while the international arena in which you represent the State of Israel is more complex than ever. The Israeli foreign service as a whole, and you as its most preeminent representatives, make up an essential and central component in the safeguarding of Israel's national resilience."
The President stressed, "Your mission is not limited to defending Israel against propaganda attacks and international pressure. Diplomacy has been and remains a vital component of the proactive advancement of the State of Israel, and the safeguarding of its vital interests. The power of diplomacy has not depleted, something that today remains evident even - or perhaps especially - amid the complexities of the Middle East."
The President spoke in relation to the comments made by the French Foreign Minister regarding the renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians in an international conference. President Rivlin noted, "In the last few days we have the comments made by the French Foreign Minister relating to an international peace conference. In relation to this I wish to say - it is proper that the dialogue between us and our close allies on all issues relating to the security of Israel and its citizens should be conducted in a direct manner, not above Israel's heads in a conference with many participants."
He added, "It must not be allowed in the current absence of a political process, that we will be condemned to passivity. The improvement in the state of the relations between the two peoples is a distinct Israeli interest which must go alongside the active and assertive defense of the State of Israel and its citizens. Such a policy proves that Israel is cautions, not reactionary, and that the security of its citizens together with efforts for peace stand at the forefront of our national priorities. This mission, of conveying Israel's intentions to the world for their understanding rests upon your broad shoulders as it rests on the shoulders of Israel's leaders. In the complex reality with which we are dealing, the State of Israel needs a strong Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose voice, recommendations, and analyses are heard clearly internally and externally. We must work to ensure that the foreign service, you, in your professional standing, receive the trust and opportunity to build bridges and bonds which enable not only the communication of Israel's spirit and innovation, but also personify these values."
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Sunday, 31 January 2016) issued the following statement at a Foreign Ministry conference for Israeli ambassadors:
"We are working systematically and level-headedly against all threats, including the threat from Hamas, with both defensive and offensive measures. Of course, if we are attacked from tunnels from the Gaza Strip, we will take very strong action against Hamas, much stronger than we took in Operation Protective Edge."
Photo : PM Netanyahu address Israeli ambassadors
Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon
- Written by MFA
Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds to EU resolution
The EU continues to apply a double standard in relation to Israel, ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility for the diplomatic stalemate and the incitement feeding the current wave of Palestinian terrorism
Following diplomatic and political efforts by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union softened the language of its resolution. However, the EU continues to apply a double standard in relation to Israel, ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility for the diplomatic stalemate and the incitement feeding the current wave of Palestinian terrorism. Out of 200 border conflicts in the world today, the EU has chosen to discriminate against Israel. This approach prevents the EU from being an honest broker in the conflict.