- Written by Office of the President
President Peres :
"Ben Gurion decided to relinquish land for the sake of ensuring a Jewish majority. Without a Jewish majority, the future of the Jewish homeland is not guaranteed. This choice remains relevant to this day. "
"Yesterday the P5+1 did not come to an agreement, and rightly so. A deal which does not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power must not be signed."
President Peres delivered a special address by the grave of David Ben Gurion during the state ceremony marking 40 years since his passing. President Peres evoked David Ben Gurion's legacy of safeguarding the security of Israel's citizens through an uncompromising drive towards peace with our neighbors and addressed the crucial decisions facing the State of Israel today.
President Peres said, "We are gathered here today to honor the memory of David Ben Gurion, but also to remind ourselves that we must carry on along his path. A vision to provide security to our citizens, to make the desert bloom, to establish long-lasting peace with our neighbors and to be a moral nation. His legacy will continue to enlighten our path and guide us. We are grateful to history for placing a man like him at the crossroads of the most important and difficult decisions of our people's history for two thousand years. We remember that great opportunities often emerge from trying times. Today again we face important decisions. Today again we may not leave our destinies to the winds blowing through our region. In order to keep control over our destinies, we must keep the initiative in our hands. We must turn the vision of two states for two peoples into a reality, and prevent a deterioration of our situation which would lead to a bi-national state. A bi-national state which would not guarantee a Jewish majority would endanger the survival of Israel as a Jewish homeland and a democratic country."
President Peres continued and said, "Ben Gurion carried the heavy burden of this responsibility at the birth of our country. He made a decision – surrendering territories in order to guarantee a Jewish majority. Without a Jewish majority, the future of the Jewish homeland is not guaranteed. Many changes have come to pass since then, but this choice remains relevant to this day. It is the same as it was 66 years ago. Then as today, the differences between us and the Palestinians can be bridged. Neither us nor our neighbors have a better alternative. I know that there is mistrust between us. But the purpose of peace is to convert a history of mistrust into a reality of trust. It can be done. Peoples are difficult to change, but relations between people can be changed."
The President addressed the latest round of negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program in Geneva and said, ""Yesterday the P5+1 did not come to an agreement, and rightly so. A deal which does not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power must not be signed. The wording at hand does not answer this requirement. Preventing a nuclear Iran was the P5+1's very purpose and I hope that it remains so. This is also the unyielding position of the State of Israel. We are not opposed to diplomacy to achieve this goal. But there is no point in a deal which would not prevent Iran from becoming nuclear. I believe that our government's position, expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is right.
The Prime Minister, Chief of Staff, government ministers, members of Knesset, representatives of the diplomatic corps, the police, soldiers and school children were all present at the ceremony.
Photo Credit: Mark Neiman/GPO
- Written by KKL
KKL-JNF is a strategic partner to the 3rd Israel Congress, to be held in Berlin on November 10th, 2013. Israel Congress provides a platform for the exchange of ideas in strengthening relations between Israel and Germany in a broad range of fields.
About Israel Congress
Photos provided by KKL
- Written by Simon Wiesenthal Center
A few weeks ago, Rabbi Hier led a 60-strong delegation including Holocaust survivorsto meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican and on that occassion raised the issue of continuing threats from terrorists and rogue nations, like Iran. He also shared, “Seventy-five years after the infamous Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) pogrom, a poll commissioned by the respected Ebert Foundation estimates that 150 million Europeans still harbor anti-Jewish sentiment.
Today, Europe’s Jews are facing a growing wave of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish hatred unseen since World War II.
This weekend, as the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pivotal event which marked the beginning of the destruction of European Jewry, the work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has never been more urgent.
Every day the SWC is on the frontlines combating anti-Semitism:• In what TheNew York Times called, “A major victory for the Wiesenthal Center”, the SWC successfully shut down a 50-year-old German magazine, Der Landserdedicated to whitewashing the stories of World War II.
• SWC officials demanded action from Hungarian political leaders, in a meeting in Budapest, over rising anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism.
• Travel advisories were issued for countries such as Denmark and Sweden because of ongoing threats to Jews.
Teaching the Legacy of the Holocaust:
• Since 1988, the Center’s landmark traveling exhibition on the Holocaust, Courage to Remember, has travelled to six continents around the world. This year alone, it has been shown in Cuba, Kenya, India, Thailand, the Philippines and across the US in high schools, colleges, police departments, libraries, art galleries, county fairs, the US Army and Navy Academy to name a few.
Fighting Holocaust Denial:
• On International Holocaust Memorial Day, Genocide, our Academy Award®-winning documentary, narrated by Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles, was beamed, in Farsi, into Iran, across Europe and the Middle East via satellite and the Internet, in response to the Iranian regime’s state policy of denying the Shoah.
Introducing new generations to Anne Frank’s Story:
• “… The most extensive exploration of Anne Frank in any museum outside Amsterdam,” The New York Times wrote about the new exhibit on the life of Anne Frank, Anne, narrated by Academy Award®-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld, which tells the story of Anne Frank to visitors of the Museum of Tolerance in a highly interactive, immersive environment.
Preserving the Memory of the Holocaust:
• The SWC has fought against Lithuanian campaigns to promote historical equivalency between communist and Nazi crimes and against those who have glorified World War II Nationalists who actively participated in the persecution of Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust.
Pushing to bring Nazi War Criminals to Justice:
• Operation Last Chance II, launched in Germany, is a massive European campaign to find remaining unprosecuted Nazi war criminals through posters and rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Nazi war criminals.
Witness to the Truth:
In 2013, over 50,000 visitors to the Museum of Tolerance have heard Holocaust survivors tell their first-person accounts each day.
- Written by FRA
Assessment of manifestations of antisemitism according to country (% of respondents who said that a given form of antisemitism is ‘a very big problem’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ in the country)FRA is today presenting the first comparable figures on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU. On 8 November, the eve of the anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogroms that took place 75 years ago, it needs to be acknowledged that while Member States have made sustained efforts to combat antisemitism, the phenomenon is still widespread. This report, which covers responses from 5,847 Jewish people in the eight countries in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population in the EU live, will thus be a vital tool for EU decision makers and community groups to develop targeted legal and policy measures.“Antisemitism is a disturbing example of how prejudice can persist through the centuries, and it has no place in our society today. It is particularly distressing to see that the internet, which should be a tool for communication and dialogue, is being used as an instrument of antisemitic harassment,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “While many EU governments have made great efforts to combat antisemitism, more targeted measures are needed.”Key findings: 66% of respondents consider antisemitism to be a major problem in their countries, while 76% said the situation had become more acute over the last five years. 21% of all respondents have experienced an antisemitic incident or incidents involving verbal insult, harassment or a physical attack in the 12 months preceding the survey. 2% of respondents had been victims of an antisemitic physical attack over the previous year. Under-reporting: 76% of victims of antisemitic harassment did not report the most serious incident to the police or any other organisation. Under-recording: limited data-collection mechanisms in many EU Member States mean that antisemitic attacks remain under-recorded. Antisemitism is considered the fourth most-pressing social or political issue across the countries surveyed (see Table 1 in report). Three-quarters of respondents consider online antisemitism to be a problemThe survey also showed significant differences between countries, which frequently demonstrates their differing histories and traditions, and also patterns of immigration in recent decades. For example, In the UK, 9% of respondents said they had often heard the statement “Jews are responsible for the current economic crisis,” while this figure rose to 59% for Hungary. The survey found that while in Latvia only 8% of survey respondents said the Israeli-Arab conflict had a large impact on how safe they felt, the figure rose to 28% for Germany and was as high as 73% in France.In response to the findings of the survey, FRA has formulated a number of suggestions for decision makers, including: EU Member States need to record Jewish people’s experiences of fundamental rights violations effectively and comprehensively. Public figures should publically condemn antisemitic statements. The EU and its Member States must work urgently to find effective ways of combating the growing phenomenon of online antisemitism, for example exploring the option of establishing specialised police units that monitor and investigate hate crime on the internet, as well as encouraging reporting of antisemitic web content to the police.Background: hate crimeAntisemitic attacks are a form of hate crime. Today’s survey report is published together with FRA's annual antisemitism overview, which brings together statistical data on antisemitic incidents collected by governmental and non-governmental sources. Together, the two reports complement the Agency’s considerable body of work on hate crime. This includes data on the experiences of groups such as lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgender people, Roma and other ethnic minorities. FRA’s annual Fundamental Rights Conference, in Vilnius on 12-13 November 2013, will focus on hate crime. Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in EU Member States: Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism Antisemitism: Summary overview of the situation in the EU 2001–2012Notes to editors 5,847 Jewish people aged 16 or over took part in the survey. The results cover eight Member States in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population of the EU live. The survey was carried out online in accordance with expert recommendations.- The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights ( FRA) is mandated to provide evidence-based advice to EU and national decision makers, thereby contributing to more informed and better targeted debates and policies on fundamental rights.
- Written by Prime Minister's Media Adviser
The changeover ceremony for the position of National Security Adviser was held today (), in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Jerusalem office. IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Mossad Director Tamir Pardo, ISA Director Yoram Cohen and Atomic Energy Commission Director Dr. Shaul Horev participated in the ceremony. US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro spoke and awarded outgoing National Security Adviser Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror a US flag that had flown over the US Embassy in Israel.
Outgoing NSC Advisor Amidror said: "I thank the Prime Minister for offering me the position, for having boundless trust in me, for giving me almost complete freedom to do what I thought best, for listening to my words and for backing my actions. He patiently listened to my arguments and was open to my views. It is important to remember that Israel has one clear existential danger and everything must be done to remove it; if possible, by negotiations and if it is not possible by negotiations, then in another way. The second thing is, today the Middle East is a place in motion. There have already been many upheavals and many more are to be expected in the future. This dangerous situation, perhaps the most dangerous in the 40 years in which I have been dealing with these issues, requires much caution and much thought."
Incoming National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen said: "I take up this office with a deep sense of mission. I thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your decision to appoint me to lead the National Security Council and serve as your National Security Adviser at a time when the world around us is in ferment and the State of Israel faces security challenges in all major and significant spheres. In the previous 30 years I have served the State of Israel in the framework of the Mossad. After long years of operational work abroad, as an operations officer and commander, as well as staff work in Israel, I view the position of National Security Adviser as a natural continuation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have taken care that my taking up this office should be proper, successful, smooth and meaningful so that I might do well in my post. Anyone who is familiar with the logo of the Mossad knows that it has a menorah, which is, in effect, the values compass for all of us in the service of the State of Israel. Above it is written 'Where there is no counsel, the people fall.' [Proverbs ] This is what I have done over the past 30 years and below it is written 'But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.' [Proverbs ] Thus I will endeavor to do."
Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated incoming National Security Adviser Cohen and thanked outgoing National Security Adviser Amidror: "The main thing is that, in the end, the thread of our existence depends on us and we will not let it be cut by anyone. The question is – how do we make certain that the most challenged and threatened state on the face of the earth not only continues to survive but continues to defend itself, to build up its strength, to prosper, and to ensure its future. This is our mission. Yaakov Amidror has greatly contributed to the State of Israel. He has helped me very much. I know that Yossi Cohen will continue this work. Yossi has a very long resume and I am certain this commitment and this professionalism will find expression."