Browsing Posts published in February, 2013

(Communicated by the Office of the President)

President Shimon Peres, this morning (Thursday, 21 February 2013), delivered the main speech at the state memorial ceremony for Joseph Trumpeldor, 93 years after his death. President Peres used his speech to call upon the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of proscribed terror organizations in light of its involvement in the bombings in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Nigeria:”

A short distance from here a terrible tragedy is unfolding. In Syria, the president is shooting his own people, the children of his country. On our border, in Lebanon, Nasrallah, wrapped in a cloak of religiosity, is pushing Lebanon into a bloody war. It is time to call Hezbollah what it really is – a murderous terror organization. The United States of America and other countries have already included Hezbollah in its list of terrorist organizations. Now, after it has been proved that Hezbollah was behind the terror attack in Bulgaria, on European soil, and murdered innocent civilians, and as reports increase of its involvement, along with Iran, in attacks in Cyprus and Nigeria, the time has come for every country in the world, and especially the European Union, to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations.”

President Peres continued and said, “The sword of Hezbollah threatens the peace of Lebanon more than the security of Israel. Nasrallah, through his actions, stains all of Lebanon. Lebanon must decide which way she faces – to fire or to peace. In fire they will carry the burden of the fire they ignite, in peace Lebanon can return to herself as a multicultural country. We extend our hand in peace to the country of the cedar trees and regret that Nasrallah seeks the opposite, fire in the trees of Lebanon.”Addressing the wider Middle East President Peres said, “In countries across the Middle East there are great storms, in Iraq, Yemen, Libya there are civil conflicts raging and in other countries violence is increasing. These situations have nothing to do with Israel – these are fires ignited from within. Israel has always sought peace, a country seeking to put out the flames. We are saddened by the suffering of millions of innocent people, they are the victims, the refugees, the homeless and hungry, we are willing to extend our hand in humanitarian support if called upon.

We must also remain vigilant of the flow of weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Weapons from Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)

Israel strongly condemns North Korea’s nuclear test, and joins the international community in expressing the grave danger that this act poses to regional stability and international peace and security.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear test, together with its ballistic missile launch in December 2012, is part of its extensive ongoing nuclear and missile programs. These reflect North Korea’s negative role in the region and raise grave concerns regarding proliferation of nuclear and ballistic technologies.

These actions by the DPRK, in violation of its international obligations, must be met with a swift response by the international community. A clear message must be sent to the DPRK and to other countries, that such activities are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.

PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Investigation into the Terrorist Bombing in Wake of the Bulgarian Government Announcement

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Netanyahu, today (Tuesday,  February 5th, 2013), issued the following statement in wake of the Bulgarian government’s announcement regarding the 18 July 2012 terrorist bombing in Burgas:

“I would like to thank the Bulgarian Government for its thorough and professional investigation of the 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas in which six innocent civilians – five Israelis and one Bulgarian – were murdered.

The Bulgarian findings announced today are clear: Hezbollah was directly responsible for the atrocity. There is only one Hezbollah. It is one organization with one leadership.

This is yet a further corroboration of what we have already known, that Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons are orchestrating a worldwide campaign of terror that is spanning countries and continents.

The attack in Burgas was only one of a series of recent terrorist operations against civilians in Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, India, Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia. All this is happening in parallel to the deadly support given by Hezbollah and Iran to the murderous Assad regime in Syria.

The attack in Burgas was an attack on European soil against a member country of the EU. We hope that the Europeans draw the necessary conclusions as to the true character of Hezbollah.”

Funeral of the late Mayor Edward Koch

Address by Amb. Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel
Monday, February 4, 2013 at Temple Emanu-El

Mrs. Thaler, President Clinton, Mayor Bloomberg, family and friends,

I stand here today, conveying these heartfelt condolences, not only on behalf of the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanhayu, but on behalf of all the people of Israel.

While President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu, and even myself, had the pleasure of knowing Ed Koch personally, I stand here on behalf of our entire country who felt as if they did as well.  He was one of us.

We owe Ed Koch a great debt of gratitude for his long-standing support, friendship, unconditional love and commitment to the Zionist movement and to the Jewish homeland.

With his unique combination of charm, ‘chutzpa’ and deep conviction, he became a clarion voice for Israel and one of the most important and influential American Zionists of our time.

What he did for New York and Israel, was way beyond the confines of an office.  Ed Koch never let us down. Never.

Our quintessential Mayor literally “bled for the Jewish state” when he was lightly hit in the head by a rock, during his 1990 trip to Israel at the time of the First Intifada.

It made headlines, but the real story is what followed, when he joked to the man next to him that ‘the stone was meant for you.’  Standing next to Ed at that time was Jerusalem’s mythological mayor Teddy Kollek. The two had become lifelong friends, with Ed Koch calling Kollek “the mayor of all mayors.”

Mayor Koch might have gotten a little more than he bargained for but, it was his warm heart, not his battle scars that defined his relationship with Israel.

The bond that Ed shared with Teddy, between two mayors, two leaders, is the one New York and Jerusalem share. It is what Israel and the United States share.

In addition to his contribution in the political arena, Ed served as an important role model, and source of inspiration, to many mayors and community leaders all over the world.

He took an active role in shaping the image of New York, leaving behind him a distinct legacy for the advancement and promotion of the performance and image of the City.

“Koch,” his name used as a term of endearment, was a major catalyst in what later became known as the “branding of New York” as the capital of the free world, as an eclectic urban fascination for the entire world to celebrate and experience.

During his tenure, as well as during his post City Hall years, he was an icon and a champion in turning the “Big Apple” into the strongest brand name in modern urban history.

When I first came to New York as Consul in the year 2001, it was the post-Koch era, but that didn’t stop Ed from continuing to be an accessible and valuable resource to us all, Israeli diplomats as well as leaders in the Jewish community.

He would often call to discuss issues in the news, wanting to get the facts straight, and always curious and eager to know more.

Ed Koch was one of a kind and a true friend of Israel. Before he died, he made it known that he wanted his gravestone to be inscribed with the most famous prayer in Judaism: “Shema.” It is a declaration of faith, a pledge of allegiance to one God and to the nation of Israel.

The Shema is said upon arising in the morning and upon going to sleep at night. It is said when praising God and when calling upon Him. It is the first prayer that a Jewish child is taught to say and it is the last words a Jew says prior to death.

The prayer begins with the most sacred of words:”Shema Yisrael,” literally “Hear, O Israel.” Mayor Koch, whether it was your candid outspokenness or your warm friendship, Israel hears you loud and clear.

May your memory be blessed and may your rest be in peace, dear friend.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

 

(Communicated by the COGAT Spokesperson)

The “Grizim” underground electrical lines that supply electricity from Israel to Gaza’s northern region have been refurbished and upgraded over the past week.

These lines supply 12.5 MW of electricity, which constitutes ten percent of the total amount of electricity supplied by Israel to Gaza every day. Israel supplies most of the electricity used by the residents of the Gaza Strip.

This process has significantly increased the capacity of the electricity lines, thereby providing a more stable source of electricity to the residents of northern Gaza. The northern region of Gaza is home to two large cities; Beit Hanoun, and Beit Lahia, whose populations consist of approximately 70,000 residents.

The “Grizim” electrical lines were replaced or repaired in certain sections to deal with recently discovered instabilities. The work was conducted by a team of 15 electrical engineers from the Israeli Electric Corporation, in coordination with IDF personnel to ensure their safety.

The Israeli government has maintained and even expanded its policy of assisting the civilian Palestinian population residing in Gaza. In the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense (Nov. 2012), additional measures have been implemented that have allowed for expanded imports into Gaza.

 

Earlier today, Monday February 2nd, Ambassador Ido Aharoni spoke at the funeral service for the late Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York City. Joining the Consul General in speaking were President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

 

The following article first appeared in Haaretz.

Ed Koch: One of the most important and influential American Zionists of our time

Hit by a rock on the head in Jerusalem during the first intifada, Ed Koch, the icon of New York, never wavered in his support for Israel.

BY IDO AHARONI

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTSJYutZe26Px5mZnXsv4ktUasTJYhzxAy2wi34Kudm-s2jFfk0

As Israel’s representatives in New York, we were all saddened to hear of the passing of the city’s former mayor, Ed Koch, a dear friend and a great leader. Many will no doubt be taking this opportunity to refresh their memories about his myriad accomplishments and all that he was able to achieve for this great city during a critical time in its history. The outspoken, Bronx-born Jew was full of charm and chutzpah. Undoubtedly, he took an active role in shaping the image of the quintessential ‘New Yorker’.

As mayor, Koch left behind him a distinct legacy for the advancement and promotion of New York. He was a major catalyst in what later became known as the “branding of New York” as the capital of the free world, as an object of eclectic urban fascination for the entire globe to celebrate and experience. During his tenure, as well as during his two very active decades as former mayor, he was an icon and a champion in turning the “Big Apple” into the strongest brand name in modern urban history.

That’s the New York City he left the world. But he left something very special for Israel. When I first came to New York as Consul in 2001, it was already the post-Koch era, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to be one of the most important and influential American Zionists of our time. He never shied away from showing his unwhttp://www.israelpolitik.org/wp-admin/post-new.phpavering support and love for Israel.

Since 2010 when I arrived as Consul General in New York, I had the privilege of working with Ed many times. But I was not the first to have such a close relationship with him. Koch was close to many Israeli leaders over the years, up to the very end. Our offices are decorated with pictures of Koch throughout the years, with Israeli presidents and prime ministers – and Israeli consul generals. His love for Israel was constant and withstood the test of time.

In 1990, when he visited Israel following his third and last term, Koch literally “bled for the Jewish state”: He was hit in the head by a rock during the first Intifada. It made headlines at the time, but the real story is what followed: he joked to the man next to him that ‘the stone was meant for you.’ Standing next to him was Jerusalem’s mythological mayor Teddy Kollek – the two had become lifelong friends, with Koch calling Kollek “the mayor of all mayors.” He might have gotten a little more than he bargained for but it was his warm heart, not his battle scars, that defined his relationship with Israel. His historical role provides a clear answer to his trade mark inquiry: “How’m I doing”? To which we Israelis can reply wholeheartedly: “You did very well, Mayor Koch”.

Ambassador Ido Aharoni is the Consul General of Israel in New York.

Photo Credit: Yaacov Rosenblat, GPO

The Consulate General of Israel in New York was saddened to learn of the passing of former Mayor Ed Koch and has released the following statement:

“This morning we lost a great friend, one who stood not only by the Jewish people and the State of Israel, but also by humanity.  The Consulate General of Israel in New York was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend, Ed Koch. History will remember Ed Koch as one of its greatest leaders, who epitomized everything that we love about the world’s greatest city. He was always outspoken, true to his word and a staunch defender of human rights. The ties between New York and Israel, between the United States and Israel, are as strong as they are today because of towering figures such as Ed Koch.”

PICTURED: New York Mayor Ed Koch Sits with Israeli President Chaim Herzog during Herzog’s Visit to New York, 1983

Photo Credit: Yaacov Rosenblat, GPO