Israel Responds to the Bombings in Boston
President Shimon Peres, this afternoon (Tuesday, April 16th), at his residence in Jerusalem, hosted a reception for the foreign diplomatic corps in honor of Israel’s 65th Independence Day. The reception was attended by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the members of the diplomatic corps, and leaders of Israel’s faith groups.
In their remarks, President Peres and PM Netanyahu sent their condolences to the victims and their families of the terrorist attack on the marathon in Boston, expressed Israel’s solidarity with the American people and condemned the bombings.
Following Monday’s tragic bombing, first responders and doctors performed heroically in saving many lives. Alastair Conn, the chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital, told reporters Monday that the hospital received training from an Israeli team of experts two years ago. Israel routinely offers disaster assistance to countries all around the world, as well as, in this case, training for hospitals and cities to prepare for large scale incidents.
Said Conn, “About two years ago in actual fact we asked the Israelis to come across and they helped us set up our disaster team so that we could respond in this kind of manner.”
President Shimon Peres:
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
“Permit me to express our solidarity with the bereaved families in Boston today. Three people lost their lives, 140 were wounded and I want to send on behalf of all of us, our condolences to all the families and wish a speedy recovery to all the injured. When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family. We feel a part of the people who paid such a high price. God bless them. Today the real problem is terror and terror is not an extension of policy, their policy is terror, their policy is to threaten. Terrorists divide people, they kill innocent people.”
PM Benjamin Netanyahu:
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
“Yesterday, a day of enjoyment in Boston was turned into a day of terror. We send our condolences to President Obama, the American people and the bereaved families. On this day and on any day, Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the American people. We are partners in freedom and in seeking a better future for all humanity.”
Press Conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States President Barack Obama at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem
Prime Minister Netanyahu: Mr. President, Barack, it’s a great pleasure to host you here in Jerusalem. You’ve graciously hosted me many times in Washington, so I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to reciprocate. I hope that the good will and warmth of the people of Israel has already made you feel at home.
President Obama: Very much so.
PM: We had an opportunity today to begin discussing the wide range of issues that are critical to both our countries, and foremost among these is Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Mr. President, you have made it clear that you are determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. I appreciate your forthright position on this point. I also appreciate that you have noted, that you have acted to thwart this threat, both through determined diplomacy and strong sanctions that are getting stronger yet. Notwithstanding our joint efforts and your great success in mobilizing the international community, diplomacy and sanctions so far have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program. And as you know, my view is that in order to stop Iran’s nuclear programs peacefully, diplomacy and sanctions must be augmented by a clear and credible threat of military action.
In this regard, Mr. President, I want to thank you once again for always making clear that Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threats. I deeply appreciate those words because they speak to the great transformation that has occurred in the life of the Jewish people with the rebirth of the Jewish state. The Jewish people only two generations ago were once a powerless people, defenseless against those who sought our destruction. Today we have both the right and the capability to defend ourselves. As you said earlier today, the essence of the State of Israel, the essence of the rebirth of the Jewish state, is the fulfillment of the age-old dream of the Jewish people: to be masters of our fate in our own state, and I think that was a wonderful line that I will cherish, because it really gets down to the essence of what this state is about.
That is why I know that you appreciate that Israel never cede the right to defend ourselves to others, even to the greatest of our friends, and Israel has no better friend than the United States of America.
So I look forward to continue to work with you to address what is an existential threat to Israel, and a great threat to the peace and security of the world.
Mr. President, we discussed today the situation in Syria. We share the goal of seeing a stable and peaceful Syria emerge from the carnage that we have witnessed over the last two years. That carnage is already resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 people and the suffering of millions. We also share a determination to prevent the deadly arsenal of weapons within Syria from falling into terrorist hands. And I have no doubt that the best way to do that is to work closely with the United States and other countries in the region to address this challenge; and that is what we intend to do.
Finally, Mr. President, your visit gave us an opportunity to try to find a way to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians. My new government was sworn in two days ago. I know there have been questions regarding what the policy of the new government will be towards peace with the Palestinians. So let me be clear: Israel remains fully committed to peace and to the solution of two states for two peoples. We extend our hands in peace and in friendship to the Palestinian people. I hope that your visit, along with the visit of Secretary of State Kerry will help us turn a page in our relations with the Palestinians. Let us sit down at the negotiating table. Let us put aside all preconditions. Let us work together to achieve the historic compromise that will end our conflict once and for all.
Let me conclude, Mr. President, on a personal note: I know how valuable the time and the energies of the American president, of yourself. This is the tenth time that we have met since you became President and since I became Prime Minister. You’ve chosen Israel as your first venue in your foreign visits in your second term. I want to thank you for the investment you have made in our relationship, and in strengthening the friendship and alliance between our two countries. It is deeply, deeply appreciated.
You have come here on the eve of Passover. I’ve always considered it as our most cherished holiday. It celebrates the Jewish people’s passage from slavery to freedom. Through the ages, it has also inspired people struggling for freedom, including the founding fathers of the United States. So it’s a profound honor to host you, the leader of the free world, at this historic time in our ancient capital.
Mr. President. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.
מח’ מידע והפקה – אגף תקשורת
20 מרץ 2013
President Shimon Peres, today (Thursday, March 14th 2013), at his Jerusalem residence, during a meeting with the leaders of the Catholic Church in Poland, welcomed the new Pope. President Peres said, “The newly elected Pope represents devotion, the love of God, the love of peace, a holy modesty and a new continent which is now awakening. We need, more than ever, a spiritual leadership and not just a political one. Where political leaders may divide, spiritual leaders may unite. Unite around a vision, unite around values, unite around a faith that we can make the world a better place to live. May the Lord Bless the new Pope.”
President Peres invited the new Pope to visit Israel and said, “I would like to take this opportunity to invite the newly elected Pope to pay a visit to the Holy Land at the earliest possibility. He’ll be a welcome guest in the Holy Land, as a man of inspiration that can add to the attempt to bring peace in a stormy area. All people here, without exception, without difference of religion or nationality will welcome the newly elected Pope.”
Addressing relations with the Vatican President Peres said, “The relations between the Vatican and the Jewish people are now at their best in the last 2000 years and I hope they will grow in content and depths.”
President Peres also spoke about the outgoing Pope and said, “I have much respect for the resigned Pope, Benedict, I found him a dear friend of our people, a profound thinker and he really contributed so much to bringing together, historically and otherwise, the relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. I’m sure that the new Pope, Francis, will continue. He will remind all of us , as a shepherd of our time, that the Lord loves the poor not only the mighty, that the Lord calls us to peace not for hatred, that the Lord calls us to serve each other, to build a world where people are together without hatred.”
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres was in France yesterday (Sunday, March 10th 2013), conducting a special meeting with the heads of the Jewish community of France and with a delegation of Imams including the heads of the Egyptian, African, Moroccan and Senegalese communities and heads of central mosques. The meeting took place the day before memorial events in France to mark one year since the terrorist attacks in Toulouse.
During the meeting with the Imams, President Peres was pleased by their support for Israel, their moderate approach and tolerance towards other faith communities and their vocal, steadfast opposition to terror in all its forms. At the start of the meeting Imam Chalghoumi talked about the memorial events one year after the terrorist attacks in France (March 11th and March 15th) and said: “Tomorrow, March 11th, is a terrible day of mourning for us, a day on which terror struck from which we all suffered. I wanted to tell you, Mr. President, that we Muslims are victims like the Jews, of the same extremist who went on a journey of murder, who took the lives of children. We are here to say to our brothers the Jews and the French: We are all threatened by terror, hurt by terror and we all call with optimism for peace at the end of this terrible year. We teach the believers that human life is holier than the holy sites! Holier than Mecca, the Vatican or Jerusalem.”
President Peres thanked the Imam for his words and expressed his appreciation. “Whoever was responsible for the murder of French citizens and Jewish children in Toulouse showed the ugly face of terror, and your words show the way of peace. You are leaders of an Islam which seeks peace, as we do. I am very grateful for your words, and I thank you for coming. I see in you brothers in this path, dialogue between us is important and valuable and that is why this meeting between us is so important. We will work together, for all the peoples of the world, for Israeli’s and Palestinians, for peace in the world.”
Imam Chalghoumi addressed the issue of the approach of the Muslim community leadership towards the State of Israel and said that the delegation are interested in bridging the gap between faiths and peoples, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an excuse to hate the State of Israel – we are not interested in that hate and do not believe in it. We visited Israel and saw the country; we want to know Israel as it really is and to get to know people from different perspectives.”
During President Peres’s visit with the Jewish community the leaders of the community in France, including the leadership of the community in Toulouse, updated President Peres on manner in which they have been coping since the murders a year ago. They asked to hear from President Peres about ways in which the peace process with the Palestinians could be re-started, the latest developments with regards to Iran and the general situation in the Middle East in light of the Arab Spring. President Peres and the community leadership also discussed incidents of anti-Semitism in France.
(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
The following article first appeared in Haaretz.
BY IDO AHARONI
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.