Browsing Posts in Politics

ariel sharon

President Shimon Peres: “My dear friend, Arik Sharon, lost his final battle today. Arik was a brave soldier and a daring leader who loved his nation and his nation loved him. He was one of Israel’s great protectors and most important architects, who knew no fear and certainly never feared vision. He knew how to take difficult decisions and implement them. We all loved him and he will be greatly missed. I send my condolences to the Sharon family, may he rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “The State of Israel bows its head on the passing of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Ariel Sharon played a central role in the struggle for the security of the State of Israel over all its years. He was, first and foremost, a courageous fighter and an outstanding general, and was among the IDF’s greatest commanders. From his youth, he served the people of Israel on the battlefield. He did so as a soldier in the War of Independence, a commander in the [1956] Sinai campaign and the Six Day War, and up to his decisive role in the battle over the Suez Canal that led to the turning point in the Yom Kippur War. He established Unit 101 and took the initiative in the war against terrorism, which became a central pillar of the State of Israel. Upon leaving the military, he continued to work on behalf of the people of Israel both in his many government roles and as the 11th prime minister of the State of Israel. His memory will be enshrined forever in the heart of the nation.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman: “Ariel Sharon served the State of Israel from its establishment until the last moment he could, taking part in the central events that shaped its character. Sharon will be remembered first of all as a great military commander who led many important battles, most importantly the crossing of the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War, as well as the battles of Israel’s War of Independence and the establishment of the special 101 Unit, the Sinai Campaign, and more. Sharon’s political legacy has always been controversial, from his tenure as Chairman of the Ministerial Settlement Committee which strengthened Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, to the disengagement from Gaza which he initiated and implemented. He will go down in the history of Israel as one of the most noteworthy and influential figures.”

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes the European Union decision to include Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations:

“I welcome the fact that the EU has also declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization and I thank the leaders of its member states.

In recent years, the State of Israel has invested great effort in explaining to all EU member states that Hezbollah is the terrorist arm of the Iranian regime and perpetrates attacks around the world. For years, the organization has carried out attacks against innocent civilians across the globe. Recently, it has sought to perpetrate dozens of attacks, some of which were actually carried out, in Asia, Africa, America and Europe, including the reprehensible murder in Bulgaria and an attack that was foiled in Cyprus.

At the same time, thousands of this terrorist organization’s operatives are daily perpetrating war crimes in Syria and participating in the slaughter being carried out there, alongside Assad’s forces; they have murdered approximately 100,000 innocent civilians so far.

 

As far as the State of Israel is concerned, Hezbollah is one organization, the arms of which are indistinguishable. It has imposed terrorist rule on wide sections of Lebanon, has converted them into an Iranian protectorate and is stockpiling tens of thousands of rockets there. These have been placed in the heart of civilian populations and are designed to be fired at population centers in Israel.

I hope that the implementation of the decision will lead to tangible steps against the organization.”

(Communicated by the Office of the President)

Following the decision by the European Union to include Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations President Peres sent special letters to the leaders of the European Union.

President Shimon Peres, today (Monday, 22 July 2013), sent special letters to the leaders of the European Union, following their unanimous decision to include the military wing of Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations.

In the letters President Peres wrote, “I welcome the European Union’s decision regarding Hezbollah, a significant and necessary step towards putting an end to the spread of terror across the globe. The devastating effects of terror are not restricted to the Middle East. As we witnessed in the horrific attack in Bulgaria, Hezbollah strikes all over the world, including within Europe, indiscriminately targeting innocent civilians. Your decision sends a clear message to terror organizations and the countries which harbor them that their murderous actions will not be tolerated.”

 

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Ron Dermer as Israel’s next Ambassador to the US. Over the past four years, Dermer has served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser and previously (2005-2008) served as the economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

Dermer is 42, married and the father of five children. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and holds a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford.

In 2004, Natan Sharansky and Dermer wrote The Case For Democracy: The Power Of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny And Terror, which became a best-seller and has been translated into ten languages.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Ron Dermer has all the qualities necessary to successfully fill this important post. I have known him for many years and I know that Ron will faithfully represent the State of Israel in the capital of our greatest ally – the USA. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I wish him great success.”

 

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)

This is a dark day for UNESCO, a day the organization will want to erase from its history as it demonstrates that it is acting outside the boundary of reality. Today, in the debates held by the World Heritage Committee in Phnom Penh, a Palestinian resolution on Jerusalem was submitted to a vote.

Exactly as Israel had warned in the recent past, the Palestinians are exploiting their admission to UNESCO as a member state in order to hijack the agenda and drag this important UN agency into the abyss of politicized manipulation. The resolution, which was adopted against the better judgment of the majority, is nothing but a heap of statements disconnected from reality. There is no linkage between the resolution’s language and the actual situation on the ground, as the text only reflects the clichés of the anti-Israel bubble which the Palestinians cultivate within UNESCO at the expense of the worthy causes the organization is supposed to promote around the world.

Israel will uphold its commitments and its sovereign responsibility by continuing to ensure freedom of worship to all faiths in Jerusalem, even as UNESCO insists on turning its back on reality and wreaking damage to the interests of member-states through the regurgitation of the dictates of Palestinian propaganda.

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Sec. Kerry: I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for, first of all, his extraordinary hospitality yet again. We had an extremely friendly, very productive, long discussion last night. I think it’s fair to say that we made progress, that we were pleased with the substance of the discussion and agreed, each of us, to do some homework. And we’re going to do our homework over the course of the next weeks, and today we’re going to continue some of that discussion with a view to seeing how we can really pull all of the pieces together and make some progress here.

And I want to thank the Prime Minister for his good faith efforts here. It’s been serious; it’s been focused; and I would characterize it as very productive.

We have been talking about some economic initiative, but I think both of us, and the Prime Minister just said this: we want to make it absolutely clear that whatever steps we take with respect to economics are in no way a substitute, but they are in addition to the political track. The political track is first and foremost; other things may happen to supplement it.

Secondly, with respect to Iran, I have reiterated to the Prime Minister, as I did yesterday to the President, President Obama could not be more clear: Iran cannot have and will not have a nuclear weapon. The United States of America has made clear that we stand not just with Israel, but with the entire international community in making it clear that we are serious, we are open to negotiation, but it is not an open-ended, endless negotiation. It cannot be used as an excuse for other efforts to try to break out with respect to a nuclear weapon. And we are well aware and coordinating very, very closely with respect to all of our assessments regarding that. But President Obama doesn’t bluff. He’s made that very clear to me, and we hope the Iranians will come back to the table with a very serious proposal.

PM Netanyahu: Thank you, John. It’s good to see you again in Jerusalem and to work at our common goal for peace. I am determined not only to resume the peace process with the Palestinians, but to make a serious effort to end this conflict once and for all. This has economic components. We welcome any initiatives that you and others will bring forward in this regard, but it also has a political component – political discussions that will address a myriad of issues, foremost in our minds the questions of recognition and security. This is a real effort, and we look forward to advance in this effort with you.

We’ve been talking about several other issues, and I’ll only mention two. First, we’ve been talking about Syria and the human tragedy there, but the fragmentation of that country is creating a situation where one of the most dangerous stockpiles of weapons in the world is now becoming accessible to terrorists of every shade and hue. This is of great concern for both of us, for both the United States and Israel, and we are talking about addressing this problem specifically.

And last and certainly not least, we’ve been talking about Iran. I think everybody understands that Iran has been running out the clock, has been using the talks to continue to advance its nuclear program. We’ve just heard by Iranian state television about a new production facility for nuclear material and two new extraction sites. I think we also understand what it means for the world to have rogue states with nuclear weapons. Iran cannot be allowed to cross into that world. It cannot be allowed to continue its nuclear weapons program, and we must not allow it to continue to do so in defiance of the entire international community.

These are the three most obvious subjects we have been talking about. You may not believe it, but we have actually talked about a few others as well, and it’s good to see again, John.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that he had good talks with US President Barack Obama on the issue of regional cooperation and the importance of Israeli-Turkish relations. The Prime Minister expressed regret over the deterioration in bilateral relations and noted his commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he saw Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent interview in a Danish newspaper and expressed his appreciation for the latter’s remarks. The Prime Minister made it clear that the tragic results regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life. In light of the Israeli investigation into the incident, which pointed out several operational errors, Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also noted that Israel has already lifted several restrictions on the movement of civilians and goods to all of the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, and added that this will continue as long as the quiet is maintained. The two leaders agreed to continue to work on improving the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.

President Obama, who just left Israel for Jordan, issued a statement which read “The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security.” The statement went on to read “I am hopeful that today’s exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities.”

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, 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.”

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