Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, yesterday (Wednesday, 27 February 2013), met with Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris and told him: "Welcome to Israel; it’s an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Sri Lanka and Israel. I hope to discuss this with you today, along with other problems. We face great challenges of security and peace, with peace being peace with the Palestinians.














Undersecretary Sherman manages the American negotiations with Iran and reaffirmed President Obama's commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons

 President Peres used the opportunity to congratulate the incoming Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel:

 "I disagree with the skepticism surrounding Hagel – I have no doubt of his deep commitment to Israel's security. I am sure that the new Secretary of Defense will continue the current administration's deep commitment to the State of Israel."The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, conducted a work meeting with Wendy Sherman, the Undersecretary of State who manages the negotiations with Iran. Sherman, who arrived from the negotiations in Kazakhstan to Israel, briefed President Peres on the developments in the negotiations and reaffirmed the commitment of the United States of America to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear armed state. President Peres said, "After your in-depth briefing I am remain convinced that President Obama will do all he can to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and that under his leadership the American administration will not cease in their attempts to find a solution to the Iranian threat." Undersecretary Sherman thanked President Peres and said, "America has no better friend than you. I know that President Obama and Secretary Kerry so look forward to coming here and to the region and to talking about all the things we work on together for peace and security."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply condemns Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement about Zionism and its comparison to fascism. "This is a dark and mendacious statement the likes of which we thought had passed from the world," Prime Minister Netanyahu said.




Today in Almaty negotiators from the P5 +1 will sit down with Iranian negotiators to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme.   The facts are straightforward. Iran is flouting six United Nations resolutions and it continues to play games with the IAEA.   The Iranian regime’s claims that its nuclear programme is intended for purely civilian purposes are not credible given its ongoing efforts to expand its enrichment capacity.  We, and our international partners, are clear that Iran cannot be allowed to get nuclear weapons.

The key question is how we stop Iran getting nuclear weapons.  The UK believes that we need to carry on the current route – engaging with Iran and holding out the prospect of a better future if Iran takes the concrete steps needed to reassure the international community, and pressure through tough economic sanctions until Iran does so.













President Peres to Senator Rubio:

"We can and we must renew the peace negotiations with the Palestinians"

Senator Rubio to President Peres:

"There is no more important relationship for the United States, perhaps in the world but certainly in the region, than Israel. It's one that has bipartisan support and I'm proud to say that Republicans and Democrats are united on that."

"The hour has come for every country in the world, and especially the European Union, to add Hezbollah to the list of terror organizations – it is time to call Hezbollah what it really is – a murderous terror organization."


"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"

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, delivered the main speech this morning 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."

This is a very grave report which proves that Iran is continuing to make rapid progress toward the red line that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sketched in his 27 September 2012 UN speech. Today, Iran is closer than ever to achieving enriched material for a nuclear bomb. Preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons is the first subject that Prime Minister Netanyahu will discuss with US President Barack Obama during the latter's expected visit in less than a month.

The news item carried today by "Yedioth Ahronoth" regarding the issue of reparations to Ghetto workers does not reflect reality, and certainly not the position of the Israeli government. We do not know of any linkage between the handling of reparations to Holocaust survivors and the issue of settlements.

 Israel works hand in hand with the relevant authorities in Germany, including the Chancellor's Office, in order to swiftly resolve in an appropriate manner the dossier of Ghetto workers.The governments of Israel and Germany have been engaged for several years in a close dialogue on a wide range of issues reflecting the excellent relations between the two countries.


 







Following the voting, on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page<https://www.facebook.com/HEBPMO>, which continued for approximately 48 hours, the logo that combines the Israeli and US flags was chosen (see attachment). The official logo was selected from among three which were designed by graphic artists chosen by the Government Advertising Agency.

The winning logo received 66.8% of the thousands of votes; the remaining votes were divided among the other two possibilities. The winning logo will appear on all official signs and documents pertaining to the visit.

The Prime Minister's Office would like to note that between the Government of Israel and all its agencies, and the Government of Australia and the Australian security agencies, there is excellent cooperation, full coordination and complete transparency in dealing with current issues.



Pursuant to the many reports, the Prime Minister's Office would like stress that the late Mr. Zygier had no contact with the Australian security agencies.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 18 February 2013), sent the following letter to Pope Benedict XVI:

"Your Holiness,

On behalf of the people of Israel, I want to thank you for all you have done as Pope to strengthen relations between Christians and Jews and between the Vatican and the Jewish State. I thank you also for courageously defending Judeo-Christian values and the roots of our common civilization during your time as pontiff. I have no doubt that these values, which were so essential to building the modern world, are no less critical to securing a future of security, prosperity and peace.

For the first time the "Presidential Medal of Distinction" will be awarded to a serving President of the United States of America by the President of the State of Israel

 The recommendation: "President Obama has made a unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens."

President Peres to the delegation:

 "There is no other solution but to enable the Palestinians to have a state of their own."

 "We're excited to welcome President Obama and to continue the unique relationship between the United States and Israel."Senator Ben Cardin to President Peres:

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.

 DPRK's 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 DPRK and to other countries, that such activities are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.  

 

 

 
















President Peres on Iran:

 "President Obama is serious that the United States has to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power not just because of Israel but for the safety and security of our time."

 President Peres on relations with American:

 "There is no more important link than our relations with the United States of America, it's essential that we maintain it."

 The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, met with a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations this morning at his residence in Jerusalem. President Peres welcomed the delegation and said, "It's a pleasure to see you here in Jerusalem at such a meaningful time. We are now trying to build a government and decide on the new agenda, and of course anticipating the visit of President Obama. There is no more important link than our relations with the United States of America, it's essential that we maintain it and keep it bipartisan."

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, reacted to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI this evening and said:

 "I am saddened by the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to step down and wish him a long and healthy life. Pope Benedict has the depth of great thinker. The sincerity of a great believer. The passion of a peace maker, and wisdom to relate to changes in history, without changing his values. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Jerusalem and the Holy Land I welcomed him with a word common to both our faiths – shalom – and under his leadership the Vatican has been a clear voice against racism and antisemitism and a clear voice for peace. Relations between Israel and the Vatican are the best they have ever been and the positive dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people is a testament to his belief in dialogue and cooperation."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 10 February 2012), made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

"I welcome President Obama's intention to visit Israel. This will be a very important visit that will emphasize the strong alliance between Israel and the US. I think that the importance of this alliance stands out even more given what is happening, in light of the great revolutions, the earthquakes that are taking place around us throughout the Middle East, from the Atlantic Ocean and North Africa and eastwards to Iran. The President and I have discussed this visit. We agreed that we will discuss three main subjects: Iran's arming itself, Iran's attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons, the unstable situation in Syria and its consequences for the security of the region and, of course, for Israel and the US, and efforts to advance the peace process between us and the Palestinians. These issues, and others that will come up, are weighty concerns and require the most serious consideration on Israel's part. I also believe that they require as broad a national unity as possible; the harnessing of all forces in the State of Israel, and this is the nature of our efforts at this time to form a government.

 STATEMENT BY SECRETARY KERRY

 Bulgarian Announcement on Hizballah’s Role in Burgas Attack

 The United States commends our close friend and NATO ally Bulgaria for its thorough and professional investigation into the July 18, 2012, Burgas terrorist attack.

  The finding is clear and unequivocal: Lebanese Hizballah was responsible for this deadly assault on European soil. We condemn Hizballah in the strongest terms for an attack which bears striking similarities to other disrupted plots of the last year. The United States is acting decisively and comprehensively to curtail Hizballah’s destabilizing actions in Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, and the Middle East, and we are prepared to do all within our power to assist the Government of Bulgaria in bringing those responsible for the Burgas attack to justice.

 We strongly urge other governments around the world – and particularly our partners in Europe – to take immediate action to crack down on Hizballah. We need to send an unequivocal message to this terrorist group that it can no longer engage in despicable actions with impunity.

The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and

Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

"The High Representative takes note of the results of the investigation into the Burgas terrorist

attack of 18 July 2012. She commends the Bulgarian authorities on the demanding investigation

process.

The implications of the investigation need to be assessed seriously as they relate to a terrorist

attack on EU soil, which resulted in the killing and injury of innocent civilians. The High

Representative condemns all terrorist acts, wherever they take place, and emphasises that the EU

and Member States are committed to the fight against terrorism, whoever stands behind it. The

terrorists who planned and carried out the Burgas attack must be brought to justice.

 

The High Representative underlines the need for a reflection over the outcome of the investigation.

The EU and Member States will discuss the appropriate response based on all elements identified

by the investigators."



Prime Minister Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, 5 February 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.

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, officially opened the 19th Knesset of Israel and delivered a speech to mark the occasion. Please find below the speech:

 On its 64th birthday the Knesset of Israel has renewed confidence and renewed legitimacy. The eyes of the public are fixed on you, the members of Knesset, in expectation that you will be their loyal representatives for the creation of a better future. In this Knesset are a record number of new Knesset members, 48 in total, and an increasing number of female Knesset members, 27. This is an achievement but still far less than the equality we seek. During the last elections the cynicism waned and the scornfulness reduced. Young people were elected, free from the bonds of the past and with wings to fly anew. Veterans were elected and those with experience who will create a constructive balance between new and experienced. The Knesset is not above the nation, it represents the nation. It should serve the nation more than rule over it.



























The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, sent a parting letter to Secretary of State Clinton thanking her for her friendship and support for the State of Israel during her tenure as Secretary of State and wishing her the very best and every success for the future.

The Ambassador of Argentina in Israel was summoned today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem for a clarification talk. The MFA's Deputy Director-General for Latin America, Ambassador Itzhak Shoham, conveyed Israel's astonishment and disappointment at the Argentinean government's decision to collaborate with Iran after the latter's responsibility for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center was exposed by the investigation conducted by the Argentinean authorities themselves.

President Peres received the official results of the elections to the 19th Knesset from Judge Elyakim Rubinstein and began consultation meetings for the formation of a coalition government
President Peres:
"The responsibility I have, in accordance with the law, is serious and I intend to carry out my duties with full commitment to the law and the citizens of Israel, to allow for the formation of a government that will reflect the will of the people as soon as possible."

President Peres began consultations with representatives of the political parties.  The first to arrive to the President's Residence were Likud-Beitenu and Yesh Atid who recommended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, began consultations this evening with representatives of the parties elected to the 19th Knesset. The first two parties were "Likud-Beitenu" and "Yesh Atid" whose representatives came to the residence to meet with President Peres.

The agreement between Argentina and Iran is received in Isral with astonishment and provoked deep disappointment.

The Argentinian ambassador in Israel will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to provide explanations for this, his   government's latest move. Israel's Ambassador in Buenos Aires, Ms. Dorit Shavit, will request a meeting with the Argentinian Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, in order to clarify the motivations for this move.

Asked about the cartoon in the Sunday Times which has caused outrage in the UK and abroad, Ambassador Daniel Taub commented:

Israelis have a longstanding commitment to free speech and a high threshold for tolerating strong and even provocative criticism. This cartoon, however, bears no relation whatsoever to legitimate political comment. The image of Israel's security barrier,  which is saving the lives of both Jews and Arabs from suicide bombers, being built from Palestinian blood and bodies is  baseless and outrageous. The use of vicious motifs echoing those used to demonize Jews in the past is particularly shocking and hurtful on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but the crude and shallow hatred of this cartoon should render it totally unacceptable on any day of the year.

 


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 28 January 2013), met with a bipartisan delegation from the US House of Representatives led by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA). The Prime Minister said: "We've had very close cooperation on all things, including the developing matters in Syria, very close cooperation between our two governments. I think this is important for the stability of the region, for the security of Israel and it's much appreciated."

 Readout of the President&#39;s Call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

President Obama spoke today by telephone with Prime Minister Netanyahu to congratulate him on his party’s success in winning a plurality of Knesset seats in Israel’s recent election. The President indicated that the United States looks forward to working with the next government. He also reiterated his commitment to the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and pledged to work closely with Israel on our shared agenda for peace and security in the Middle East.

is agreement undermines the investigation of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

The agreement between Argentina and Iran is received in Israel with astonishment and provoked deep disappointment. The Argentinian ambassador in Israel will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to provide explanations for this, his government's latest move. Israel's Ambassador in Buenos Aires, Ms. Dorit Shavit, will request a meeting with the Argentinian Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, in order to clarify the motivations for this move.

On January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we honor the memories of the 6 million Jews and millions of other innocent victims whose lives were tragically taken during the Holocaust over sixty years ago. Those who experienced the horrors of the cattle cars, ghettos, and concentration camps have witnessed humanity at its very worst and know too well the pain of losing loved ones to senseless violence.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"Today, we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day . I welcome Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Board of Directors, Avner Shalev. This day was established at the initiative, and as a result, of systematic action by Silvan Shalom, who was then Foreign Minister, and I welcome the work of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who has struggled for the commemoration of the Holocaust, and who has struggled against the new anti-Semitism that is flooding the world.

The Cabinet, today (Sunday, 27 January 2013), by a vote of 16-3-1, approved Minister Benny Begin's recommendations on formalizing the status of Bedouin settlement in the Negev.

Minister Begin's recommendations were formulated in the wake of unprecedented consultations he held among Negev Bedouin, during which he and the Construction and Housing Ministry Authority on Formalizing the Status of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev officials met with over 1,000 Negev Bedouin, as well as their relevant groups and organizations.



















President Peres on the Iranian threat:

"President Obama is leading a serious, responsible and just coalition against Iran – the Iranian nation is feeling the impact of economic sanctions"




















President Peres:

"Iran is a serious threat and it must understand that the world is serious in its intentions and that all options are on the table"
 
Mr. Yukiya Amano

I am doing my utmost to carry out the responsibility given to me.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Friday, 25 January 2013), met with a bipartisan delegation of members of the US House of Representatives led by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). The Prime Minister and the House members discussed developments in the region, including the Iranian nuclear issue, the chemical weapons in Syria and the situation in the Palestinian Authority.
HA'ARETZ
1. DRAMATIC ACHIEVEMENT FOR YAIR LAPID; DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE LIKUD
Elections that had been portrayed as relatively sleepy end in surprise. According to television exit polls, Netanyahu's strength was significantly weakened and his ability to form a stable right-wing government is limited. Slight rise in turnout to 66.6%.

We fought for our survival but never gave up our democracy. We are a unique country; neither war nor trouble can overcome freedom. Today is a celebration of that democracy."




















"Tomorrow at 08:30 in the morning I am going to vote – I do it with a great sense of excitement and pride, as a citizen who loves his country."

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, sent a message to all the citizens of Israel on the eve of the elections calling on them to vote. In a message that was also uploaded on to the president's Facebook page, President Peres calls upon all Israeli's to take advantage of their democratic right to vote:

Some of the most eminent British and Israeli biological scientists came together yesterday for the annual UK Israel Life Science Council meeting. Hosted by the University of Haifa, the conference is the third meeting of the council, launched in 2010 to improve scientific collaboration between the two countries. 

Members of the council, including council co-chair Prof. Raymond Dwek CBE FRS and Lord Professor Robert Winston, enjoyed presentations from seven major research projects. The projects receive BIRAX grants for their research and form the BIRAX Regenerative Medicine Initiative, a five-year multimillion-pound programme initiated by the UK Israel Life Sciences Council that represents one of the most ambitious and innovative bi-lateral medical science collaborations between two countries anywhere in the world.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last night (Saturday, 19 January 2013), in his Jerusalem office, met with US Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Christopher Coons (D-DE). They discussed the changes in the Middle East including the need to intensify sanctions against Iran, which is continuing to advance its nuclear program, and the advanced contacts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

President to Peres to Senator McCain:

 "We appreciate the American position on Iran, that it cannot be permitted a nuclear weapon, if possible by civilian means but that all options are on the table."

Senator McCain to President Peres:

 "Israel is an island of hope and a beacon to people all over the world who see Israel as a model and as an example of democracy and freedom."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Thursday, 17 January 2013), spoke with French President Francois Hollande and expressed his appreciation for the French military action in Africa. The Prime Minister expressed his regret over the loss of life among the French forces and told the French President, "You took a brave step against extremist Islamic terrorism. In my meetings with African leaders I learned how much it threatens the future of the continent. While there are countries for which the threat of terrorism is thousands of kilometers away from the homes of their citizens, we in Israel are familiar with the threat of global terrorism from up close. For us it is only a few hundred meters away from our homes."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Friday, 11 January 2013), met with a group of US Senators led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "It's very good to see you, in Jerusalem again. You're old friends and we're in challenging times, great turbulence in our region, great challenges to our security, America's security and our common interests. My priority, if I'm elected for a next term as Prime Minister, will be first to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I think that was and remains the highest priority for both our countries. I appreciate the American support and your support for that end".

 Sen. McConnell said: "As everybody in Israel knows, there are a lot of things we disagree on in America, we've had big battles over deficit and debt, but there's broad bi-partisan support for Israel, and our agenda in this part of the world is the same as your agenda. You're one of our best friends and we're happy to continue that relationship".

East Room
THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Please have a seat.  A little more than four years ago, I stood with Mr. Tim Geithner and announced him as my first nominee to my Cabinet.  We were barely two months into the financial crisis.  The stock market had cratered.  The housing market had cratered as well.  Bank after bank was on the verge of collapse.  And worst of all, more than 800,000 Americans would lose their jobs in just that month.  And the bottom was not yet in sight.
So I couldn’t blame Tim when he tried to tell me he wasn’t the right guy for the job.  (Laughter.)  But I knew that Tim’s extensive experience with economic policy made him eminently qualified, and I also knew that he could hit the ground running.  As Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, he had just spent several sleepless and chaotic weeks immersed in the complexities of the crisis, and had been working closely with his Republican predecessor at Treasury to save the financial system.



“The real danger to world peace is not the Jews who build their ancestral capital, rather the nuclear weapons in Iran and chemicals weapons in Syria which might fall into the wrong hands. Israel understands these threats and copes with them and I urge other countries to join the challenge. Israel wants real peace, we are ready for peace and ready to compromise for peace,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Taglit Birthright Israel's Mega event, held in Jerusalem this evening, Monday 7.1.12, in celebration of the projects Bar Mitzvah year.

















At the event, a social network campaign, including a video and Facebook application, was launched by President Peres and the actor Eyal Kitzis.
 
President Peres said:
 
"Vote for your reality. I call upon every young person with the right to vote for the first time, don't miss the opportunity."

39 student bloggers in the fields of Journalism arrived in Israel from the United States last week to discover the country through the eyes of journalists. Throughout their 10 day journey they met with Israeli media personnel, visited various media outlets and created a blogging project to document their trip and experiences. On Thursday last week, they met with a group of young bloggers of the website "MaVeZe" which offers an outlook and provides unique content to the Y generation. The young students discussed the way Israel is viewed and reviewed by the world and how the participants now see Israel as opposed to its presentation in the American Media. These young adults will soon integrate into the labor market and will carry with them the importance of serving as "ambassadors" to Israel where ever they may go.

In advance of elections for the 19th Knesset, which are scheduled for 22 January 2013, the National Library of Israel
http://web.nli.org.il/sites/nli/english/Pages/default.aspx has launched a special site <http://web.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/Hebrew/collections/treasures/elections/Pages/default2.aspx> (in Hebrew), which features election propaganda and media coverage from every Knesset election since the establishment of the state. The site includes thousands of election slogans and advertisements, campaign photographs of politicians, party platforms, speeches, press releases, articles and reports, etc. Digital files of Internet campaigns from the 2006 and 2009 elections are to be uploaded soon.

   











 

This is the third time that Israel has served on the Board of Directors of this prestigious and important organization, after a break of over 40 years.

Israel’s term as member of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board begins on 1 January 2013. This is the third time that Israel has served on the Executive Board of this prestigious and important organization, after a break of over 40 years.

UNICEF, which operates in approximately 200 countries, is a humanitarian rescue organization that is concerned with children’s health around the world, and supplies them with clean water, proper nutrition, education, humanitarian relief in disaster zones and more.

This weekend, December 28-29, we are conducting a small-scale Israeli-Palestinian Public Negotiating Congress at Habima Square, Tel-Aviv.
The Concept:
 A delegation of 6 Israelis, from all walks of life and the entire political spectrum, meets a similar Palestinian delegation to negotiate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The negotiations are conducted in front of an audience which is invited to participate in the peacemaking process. The assembly has 5 sessions, over one weakened, to reach peace agreements.
The Palestinian delegation includes five ex-prisoners: Ali, who is the head of a Palestinian municipality, served 30 years in an Israeli jail. Wael, Riad and Mahmud are entrepreneurs and businessmen who served a total of 22 years. Ibrahim is a peace activist and a businessman. Along with his many other activities, Ibrahim took part in tailoring the deal which helped to free the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

The upcoming national elections in Israel will be held on Tuesday, 22 January 2013.

Israel's elections reflect the strong democratic tradition of the State of Israel. Election campaigns are a lively affair, accompanied by vigorous debate of the issues. Israelis take great interest in political affairs, including internal policy and foreign relations, and actively participate in the electoral process.

Basic information

Israel is a parliamentary system. The Prime Minister, who heads Israel's government, is chosen after the elections from a member of the newly-elected Knesset, Israel's parliament. National elections to the Knesset are held once every four years, unless circumstances call for early elections.

The framework of the Israeli electoral system is defined in Article 4 of the Basic Law: The Knesset, which states: "The Knesset shall be elected by general, national, direct, equal, secret and proportional elections, in accordance with the Knesset Elections Law."  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, December 23 2012), held a special discussion, on learning the lessons of Operation Pillar of Defense, with the main agencies that deal with the home front. Attending the discussion were ministers and director-generals from the relevant ministries: Home Front Defense, Defense, Health, Finance, Interior, Social Welfare and Social Services, and Public Security, as well as the heads of IDF Home Front Command, the Israel Police, the Fire and Rescue Service and Magen David Adom.

 Participants presented the main lessons from Operation Pillar of Defense especially points for strengthening and improvement.

The Cabinet, today (Sunday, 23 December 2012), approved NIS 1.5 million in financing to establish a chair in the name of Binyamin Ze'ev (Theodor) Herzl

at Masaryk University  in Brno in the Czech Republic. This is after a chair in the name of Thomas Masaryk was dedicated last January at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

 The Herzl chair will deal with research into leadership, research of the Zionist idea and the State of Israel's place in the family of nations.The establishment of the chair was agreed upon during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meetings with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas during the 17 May 2012 consultative meeting between the Israeli and Czech governments.

2012 – A RECORD YEAR FOR INCOMING TOURISM WITH 3.5 MILLION ENTRIES RISE IN REVENUES FROM TOURISM: NIS 36 MILLION

VOLUME OF TOURISM FROM RUSSIA INCREASES BY 20% AND IS NOW EQUAL TO THAT OF USA

TOURISM MINISTER STAS MISEZHNIKOV: “THESE ACHIEVEMENTS ARE A REFLECTION OF THE INTENSIVE AND PROFESSIONAL WORK OF THE PAST THREE YEARS, WHEN TOURISM HAS BECOME A MAIN ENGINE FOR GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY WITH A RISE IN REVENUES AND THE CREATION OF NEW JOBS. MAKING TOURISM A PREFERRED NATIONAL INDUSTRY WILL STRENGTHEN ISRAEL IN ECONOMIC, IMAGE AND ADVOCACY TERMS”

3.5 million visitors to Israel will have arrived in Israel by end 2012, 4% more than in 2011. Tourists (not including day visitors) account for 2.9 million entries, 2% more than in 2011. Despite the downturn that occurred in the last month and a half as a result of Operation Pillar of Defense, this year sets a new record for incoming tourism to Israel.

 As in previous years, the USA remains the largest single source country for incoming tourism with about 610,000 visitors, representing 18% of all tourism to the country and a drop of 4% on last year. In second place and with a very small margin is tourism from Russia with 590,000 visitors, 20% more than 2011.

UNITED NATIONS, 20 December 2012, (BWNS) – The UN General Assembly today expressed "deep concern" over Iran's "serious ongoing and recurring" human rights violations, decrying abuses that include torture, an increase in executions, widespread restrictions on freedom of expression, and discrimination against minorities, including members of the Baha'i Faith.

By a vote of 86 to 32 with 65 abstentions, the General Assembly called upon Iran to stop such violations, to release prisoners of conscience, and to open its doors to international human rights monitors.

"This vote signals loud and clear the international community's refusal to accept Iran's ongoing and intensifying repression of its own people – or the government's claims that such violations do not take place," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, (Wednesday, 19 December 2012), at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, in view of the Old City of Jerusalem, met with Asian and Pacific ambassadors to Israel. The Prime Minister said: "I want to thank you all for coming and it's going to be a great opportunity to discuss the world matters, regional matters – our quest for peace and security – and we have an opportunity to speak about this in detail. I do want to use the opportunity that we're here in this fantastic panorama to point out a simple fact: The walls of Jerusalem that you see behind us represent the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.  Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.  All Israeli governments have built in Jerusalem.  We're not going to change that.  That's a natural thing.  I want you to ask any of you to imagine that you would limit construction in your own capital.  It doesn't make sense.  And I think that for us, the important thing is that we are committed to our capitals; we're committed to peace; and we're going to build in Jerusalem for all its residents.  This is something that has been done by all previous governments; this is something that my government will continue to do."

 The ambassadors from China, India, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia (deputy ambassador), Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam and Sri Lanka (ambassador-designate) attended the meeting.

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Batia Murvitz (Israel)  piano
Lea Tuuri (Finland) violin
Lauri Rantamoijanen (Finland) cello
 
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Concert at Felicja Blumental Music Center
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Trios by Chausson,  Murphy, Brahms and more
 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Monday, 17 December 2012), met with US Senator-elect (R-Texas) Ted Cruz. At the start of their meeting, the Prime Minister said: "I'm welcoming you to Israel on your very first visit. You're a friend of Israel; the United States is a close ally of Israel. We have not only common values but face common dangers. One of these dangers is the unfolding events in Syria. We're monitoring very closely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. President Obama has spoken forcefully about this. Israel and the United States have close consultations about this issue and it highlights the dangers of these regimes receiving such weapons and these weapons can even go from there to terrorist organizations. This is a threat to Israel, a threat to America, a threat to others in this region. We treat it accordingly."

Following is the text of the letter that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent to US President Barack Obama:

 "Dear President Obama,

 I was shocked and horrified by today's savage massacre of innocent children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

 We in Israel have experienced such cruel acts of slaughter and we know the shock and agony they bring.

 I want to express my profound grief, and that of all the people in Israel, to the families that lost their loved ones.

 May you and the American people find the strength to overcome this unspeakable tragedy.

 With my deepest condolences,

Benjamin Netanyahu,

Prime Minister of Israel"

PM: Thank you. I explained yesterday to Chancellor Merkel that we have been following the same policy for close to 45 years – that is, all Israeli governments have built in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem and in what are called the settlement blocs, which are really suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where roughly 90% of Israeli citizens live in Judea and Samaria, in these suburbs that are very close to both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. So that's not a new policy, and in this sense from previous governments to me, there's no change and there hasn't been a change.

 Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov: “The high level of interest displayed by Israelis shows that there is a change in the understanding of the importance of the tourism industry as an engine for economic growth and a tool to promote the country’s image. The thousands of tourists who will come to Israel as a result of the campaign will generate income, create jobs and become ambassadors for tourism to Israel.”

The “Invite a Friend” campaign launched by the Tourism Ministry has generated an impressive level of participation. To date, the website has registered over 162, 670 entries, with 10,500 people actively participating in the campaign by sending postcards and inviting friends and family to vacation in Israel.  

 110, 046 postcards have been sent around the world, with another 12,033 sent within Israel. The destination countries include USA (23,580); Russia (14,729); China (8,025); Germany (6,268); Ukraine (4,658), England (4,361) and France (4,121), as well as hundreds sent to Finland, the Philippines, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Australia and more.


"Thank you very much Prime Minister Nečas, Petr, for the warm welcome you have given me and my delegation here in Prague.  It's good to be back here again, to follow up on our bilateral relations, which are improving rapidly, and our friendship that has grown stronger by the day.

 But my real purpose in coming here is to say on behalf of the people of Israel to you and your government and your countrymen and women, to say thank you.  Thank you for your country's opposition to the one-sided resolution at the United Nations; thank you for your friendship; thank you for your courage.  I know that in voting against the one-sided resolution, the Czech Republic stood with the United States and Canada and a handful of other countries against the prevailing international current.  But history has shown us time and again that what is right is not what is popular, and if there is a people in the world who can appreciate that, it's the people of your country.  Seventy-four years ago, in 1938, in Munich, leading powers of the world forced this proud democracy to sacrifice its vital interests.  The international community applauded almost uniformly without exception.  They hailed this as something that would bring peace, peace in our time they said.  But rather than bring peace, those forced concessions from Czechoslovakia paved the way to the worst war in history.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, tomorrow (Wednesday, 5 December 2012), will leave for the Czech Republic and Germany. In the morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet in Prague with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and will personally thank him for the Czech Republic's brave stand alongside Israel against the Palestinians' unilateral move at the UN. In the afternoon, the Prime Minister and his entourage will depart for Berlin.

On Thursday (6 December 2012), Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the context of the fourth meeting between the Israeli and German governments. (This will be his second meeting with Chancellor Merkel; they will also meet for dinner tomorrow evening.) During the meetings a joint declaration will be signed emphasizing the determination to continue enhancing bilateral relations and to further expand cooperation on a range of important strategic issues. The two governments will also sign a series of agreements on a broad range of issues (see list below).

Afterwards, Prime Minister Netanyahu, members of the Berlin Jewish community and German government representatives will hold a memorial ceremony at track 17 at the Berlin-Grunewald railway station from which tens of thousands of Jews were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz and Thereisenstadt.

‘Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself, but will always extend its hand for peace,’ says Israel’s ambassador to the UN

Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world’s one and only Jewish state. A state built in the Jewish people’s ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart.

We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future. We are a nation that values idealism, but acts with pragmatism. Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself, but will always extend its hand for peace.

Peace is a central value of Israeli society. The bible calls on us:

“seek peace and pursue it.”

Peace fills our art and poetry. It is taught in our schools. It has been the goal of the Israeli people and every Israeli leader since Israel was re-established 64 years ago.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence states, “We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help…”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a short time ago this evening (Thursday, 29 November 2012), spoke with Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor and praised the latter's speech to the UN General Assembly. "I am proud of you. You presented the truth regarding the State of Israel. This was a speech of facts, as opposed to Abu Mazen's venomous speech," the Prime Minister said.

In response to the expected UN General Assembly decision this evening (Thursday, 29 November 2012), the Prime Minister's Office, issues the following statement:

"This is a meaningless decision that will not change anything on the ground. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that there will be no establishment of a Palestinian state without a settlement that ensures the security of Israel's citizens . He will not allow a base for Iranian terrorism to be established in Judea and Samaria, in addition to those that have [already] been established in Gaza and Lebanon. The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is in direct negotiations, without preconditions, and not in one-sided UN decisions. By going to the UN, the Palestinians have violated the agreements with Israel and Israel will act accordingly."
In response to Abu Mazen's speech [to the UN General Assembly], the Prime Minister's Office, this evening (Thursday, 29 November 2012), issues the following statement:

"The world watched a defamatory and venomous speech that was full of mendacious propaganda against the IDF and the citizens of Israel. Someone who wants peace does not talk in such a manner."


(Unofficial translation)

Mr. President of the General Assembly,

Mr. Secretary-General,

Mr. President,

Ministers,

Ambassadors, Dear Colleagues,

By voting today to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state within this organization, France has voted for the two-State solution – two States for two peoples, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within secure and internationally recognized borders; a solution it advocated before the rest of the international community came on board; a solution that is now jeopardized by the deadlock in the peace process.

It is a clear, consistent choice.

Back in 1982, President François Mitterrand called for the establishment of a Palestinian State before the Knesset, in Jerusalem. Since then, France has spared no effort to promote this solution. It was in keeping with this legacy that in 2012, President François Hollande pledged to support international recognition for the Palestinian State.

France could not miss this opportunity, which is a new step toward the two-State solution; France could not fail to hear President Abbas’s call for the revival of a credible peace process; it could not fail, just a few days after the latest outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza, to grant its full support for the partners of peace when advocates of the armed struggle were attempting to gain the upper hand.




















On November 29 at the Journalists House in Tel Aviv the Kazakh Embassy held a round table on "Effective cooperation between Kazakhstan and Israel in the framework of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions and the CICA".
It was attended by the Ambassador of Kazakhstan B.Nurgaliev, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel A.Azari and Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Absorption Z.Hanin.
Mr. Nurgaliyev reminded that Israel was one of the first countries which joined the CICA, and its chief rabbis play a very important role in the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
The Ambassador said: "All the countries of the CICA should equally participate in the Conference, and non-landlocked countries should help their colleagues within the organization who are in the depths of the continent".
A.Azari stressed that Kazakhstan is important for Israel since a vast amount of its energy resources are exported from this Central Asian state. She also congratulated all citizens of Kazakhstan of the election of Astana to host the world exhibition EXPO-2017.
"We are pretty positive that EXPO is going to be a success, that is why it was very easy for us to support it".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Thursday, 29 November 2012), at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center<http://begincenter.org.il/en> in Jerusalem, made the following statement:

 "Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel’s security must be protected.  The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish State and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.  None of these vital interests, these vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today and that is why Israel cannot accept it.  The only way to achieve peace is through agreements that are reached by the parties directly; through valid negotiations between themselves, and not through UN resolutions that completely ignore Israel’s vital security and national interests.  And because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards.

 As for the rights of the Jewish people in this land, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today: No decision by the UN can break the 4000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel."

Today the UN General Assembly will vote on a draft resolution according Non-Member
Observer State status in the United Nations to Palestine. This comes at a time when the
latest escalation in the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused the death of a large
number of innocent civilians. This is a bitter reminder of the urgent necessity to move
forward towards the end of the conflict. Only a political solution to the conflict can bring
lasting security, peace and prosperity to Palestinians and Israelis. A comprehensive
negotiated peace, which is a fundamental interest of the EU, as well as the parties in the
region, must and can be achieved on the basis of a two-state solution with the State of
Israel and a sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, both living in
agreed borders and enjoying peace and security.
The EU has repeatedly expressed its support and wish for Palestine to become a full
member of the United Nations as part of a solution to the conflict. The EU has also
consistently worked to advance the Palestinian Authority's state-building efforts under
Prime Minister Fayyad. It will continue to do so. Recalling the Berlin Declaration
of March 1999, the EU reiterates its readiness to recognize a Palestinian State when
appropriate.












Socialize12 offers an enhanced Social Business summit with some of the world’s leading Social Business thought leaders that will investigate the innovations, challenges and opportunities of social business as well as the ‘How tos’ and ROI of this new ways of doing business.
Wohl Center, Ramat Gan, Dec 4th, 2012, 7:30AM-17:30

Living in an ‘accelerated world’ we can’t help but witness the social revolution that is taking place through the abundance of social networks, and we’re interested in exploring how this bi-directional communication generates change within organizations.

http://www.socialbusiness.co.il/summit2012/

http://www.socialbusiness.co.il/summit2012/?page_id=2945

http://www.amiando.com/KIHHABO.html


President Shimon Peres hosted an official welcome ceremony for the President of Togo, Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe and the two conducted a work meeting this morning.

President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe to President Peres:

Israel and Togo share a strong friendship – we express our support for Israel with great pride including at the UN Security Council

Hungary's government and opposition parties have condemned a far-right politician who called for a survey of how many Jews there are in Hungary, especially in the government and the legislature
Márton Gyöngyösi, a deputy of the far-right Jobbik party, said Monday in Parliament that the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a timely opportunity to assess "how many people of Jewish origin there are who represent a certain national security risk for Hungary."
Although the inital response from the governmetn was muted, on Tuesday, a spokesman said that it "most categorically condemns" Gyongyosi's remarks, while the largest opposition group, the Socialist Party, called for stricter laws against hate speech. Deputies from the other opposition groups also said they were  outraged by Gyongyosi's proposal.
Only last week, in an opinion piece published by the leading Hungarian newspaper 'Népszabadság', World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder had called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary to take decisive action against those who attack religious and ethnic minorities in the country. He accused Orbán of not doing enough in the wake of racist and anti-Semitic incidents in recent months.







EcoPeace/ Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is pleased to invite you to attend

Monday 10th December 2012 Battir

The terraced landscape, dating back 4000 years, represents a remarkable environmental heritage of tremendous ecological and cultural significance to all the people of the region. In the 1949 Rhodes Armistice agreement signed between Israel and Jordan an exceptional decision was taken where both Jordan and Israel recognized the ownership of the land by the residents of Battir on both sides of the armistice line. Battir residents were granted free and unimpeded access to their land within Israel, so ensuring the maintenance and integrity of this remarkable landscape. 
Programme
14:00- 16:30Opening remarks from
 ·         FoEME Palestinian Director, Mr. Nader el Khateeb·  
         Mayor of Battir, Akram Bader
Musical Performance – Achinoam Nini & Gil DorRemarks from ·    
UNESCO representative Mr.  Giovanni Fontana·   
FoEME Israeli Director, Mr. Gidon Bromberg
Musical Performance – Rali Margalit & Lev Elman
Musical performance – Battir Village Musicians
Tour of the TerracesLight meal prepared by local villagers at cost of 30NIS

FoEME is very grateful to the celebrated artists who are donating their time for this important cause.
Transportation will leave ·   
From the parking lot of the Liberty Bell Park at 13:00·  
From the East gate of Tzur Hadassah at 13:30 Please
RSVP to Mira Edelstein: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 054-6392937 by December 3rd
 and inform her if you will use the organized transport or make your own way there.
 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the following remarks this morning (Monday, 26 December 2012):

"Good morning everyone,

 The State of Israel has experienced some tough times during the past two weeks, and I am proud to be part of the team that directed Operation Pillar of Defense, both militarily and diplomatically, to its successful conclusion.  Fifty three years ago, in November 1959, I enlisted to the IDF and for forty seven years, I have served the people of Israel to the best of my ability.  Today I stand before you to tell you about my decision to retire from political life, instead of running in the upcoming Knesset election.   I took this decision not without doubts, but ultimately with a whole heart.

 I would be lying if I said that the warmth that I felt from the public, and even the positive coverage that I received from some of you [journalists] – not of course from all of you – did not please me.  For someone who has not always been spoiled with this [positive media coverage], I know how to appreciate support and was glad to receive it.

Special Team on Dealing with the Needs of the Residents and Communities that were Affected by Operation Pillar of Defense Holds its First Meeting
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister's Office Director-General Harel Locker, this evening (Thursday, 22 November 2012), convened the first discussion of the Government team, which he heads, on ensuring quick treatment of the needs of residents and communities after Operation Pillar of Defense
The director-generals of the Finance, Home Front Defense, Tourism, Social Welfare and Social Services, Negev and Galilee, Education, Agriculture, Interior, and Industry, Trade and Labor ministries discussed the situation in the communities in the south and their ministries' activities in the field.

PMO Dir.-Gen. Locker commended the functioning of Government ministries regarding civilian needs and the home front during the Operation, and instructed the director-generals to continue showing the same level of service and generosity toward the residents and communities of the south that they showed during the operation.

The team will meet again this coming Tuesday (27 November).

Before the start of the discussion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with PMO Dir.-Gen. Locker and asked him to work to shorten the bureaucracy in order to make things easier for the residents who were affected.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 21 November 2012), spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and thanked him for his contribution in formulating the ceasefire.

 PM Netanyahu Speaks with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Israel Police Inspector-General Yohanan Danino
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 21 November 2012), spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and with Israel Police Inspector-General Yohanan Danino and asked them to convey his gratitude and that of the Israeli people to the personnel of the Israel Police for working around the clock in order to defend the country. The Prime Minister will meet with the Israel Police senior command tomorrow

"Citizens of Israel,

 Eight days ago, Israel embarked on operation Pillar of Defense. The Government decided to launch the operation after the frequency of the terror attacks originating from Gaza increased over the last few months. I announced that we would respond forcibly to these attacks when we see fit. I said that we would exact a heavy price from the terror organizations.

 The terror organizations assumed that we would avoid offensive action against them; they were wrong. We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities. I must say that we did this with the strong support of the leading authorities of the international community.

 In particular, I wish to thank President Obama for his resolute support for Israel’s actions, for this operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also thank him for supporting the Iron Dome systems. I thank Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and express my gratitude to the Egyptians for their efforts in achieving this cease-fire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 21 November 2012), spoke with US President Barack Obama and acceded to his recommendation to give the Egyptian ceasefire proposal a chance and thereby give an opportunity to stabilize and calm the situation before there is a need to use greater force. The Prime Minister expressed his deep appreciation to the President for his support of Israel during the operation and for his contribution to the Iron Dome system. The Prime Minister reiterated that Israel would take all necessary steps to defend its citizens.

It is a highly unbalanced text, revealing a strong political bias at the expense of concern for the human rights of civilians.

 
 
 
 
 
 

(Communicated by the Spokesperson of the Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva)

The Permanent Representative of Israel was acutely dismayed by the statement of the spokesperson of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on 20 November 2012.

It is a highly unbalanced text, revealing a strong political bias at the expense of concern for the human rights of civilians.

The High Commissioner ignores the fact that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are deliberately failing to distinguish - at all times - between civilians and combatants, and taking no precautions or any possible measures to avoid the loss of civilian life and damage to civilian property in Israel.

Moreover, Hamas and its partners fire their rockets from densely populated areas in Gaza, using their civilian population as human shields. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are using public properties, such as communication centers, schools, mosques and sport stadiums as launching pads or operational centers.

In this context, the Permanent Representative of Israel wishes to draw attention to the extrajudicial and summary execution of six Palestinians in Gaza with total disregard to their human rights (20 November).

And yet, the High Commissioner directs her criticism and harsh language to Israel. There should be no doubt as to Israel’s commitment to its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. The High Commissioner fails to distinguish between politics and human rights.

The High Commissioner should unequivocally condemn the terrorist activities of Hamas and its partners, and their total disregard of all precautions to avoid loss of civilian life and damage to property. In doing so, the High Commissioner would do justice to human rights, instead of whitewashing Hamas and its terrorist partners.

 

At the very outset of Operation “Pillar of Defense,” the Ministry of Public Security switched from routine mode into emergency mode, operating 24/7. As part of its emergency preparedness, the Ministry has been operating its emergency control center, which is operational around the clock, seven days a week, with the goal of assisting field units in real time and ensuring the security of the public.

 Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch, today (Wednesday, 21 November 2012), visited the site of the terrorist attack on a bus in Tel Aviv, together with the Israel Police Inspector-General Yohanan Danino. The Minister, who had been visiting areas in the south, requests the public to continue going about its business and routine, but at the same time, to be vigilant and alert the police to any suspicious object or activity.

Picture of Danny AyalonArticle by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon in today's edition of The Guardian

Hamas's charter includes the aspiration that "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)". While many concentrate on its death-cult worship, its bloodthirsty killing of adversaries, or its contempt for women, Christians and homosexuals, it is this aspiration for genocide that is at the root of Hamas activities. This is the primary reason why Hamas, the governing regime in Gaza, will never recognise or accept a peace accord with Israel in any form.

Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, thousands of rockets have rained down on Israeli cities and towns in deliberate contravention not just of international law, but all humanity and morality. While some might suggest the so-called blockade is the cause of the attacks, it is actually a consequence. The restrictions were only implemented two years after Israel left Gaza, when it was clear that instead of building a "Singapore of the Middle East", Hamas was interested in importing stockpiles of weapons from places like Iran. Instead of building a future for its people, Hamas built an open-air prison for the million and a half inhabitants who fell into its grasp.

 Secretary Clinton will depart today on travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo, leaving from the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  She will meet with regional leaders, starting with our Israeli partners, to consult on the situation in Gaza.

Her visits will build on American engagement with regional leaders over the past days - including intensive engagement by President Obama with PM Netanyahu and President Morsi - to support de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm.  As President Obama noted in his conversations with President Morsi, we commend Egypt's efforts to de-escalate the situation and are hopeful that these efforts will be successful.

She will emphasize the United States' interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel's security and regional stability; that can lead to improved conditions for the civilian residents of Gaza; and that can reopen the path to fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis for two states living in peace and security.  She will continue to express U.S. concern for the loss of civilian life on both sides.

Foreign Minister of Germany to President Peres:

Israel has a right to defend itself and its citizens – Hamas is responsible for stopping the rocket fire against Israel

President to Peres to the Foreign Minister of Germany:

Israel is committed to stopping the rocket fire at the civilians in the south

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, conducted a work meeting this morning with the Foreign Minister of Germany, Dr. Guido Westerwelle, who arrived in Israel for a series of meetings with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in light of the current security situation.
 
President Peres thanked the Germany Foreign Minister for coming to Israel and said, "We appreciate the support of Germany and of Chancellor Merkel who is one of the European Union's most significant leaders. Over the past seven days Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza have fired over 1500 rockets at Israel. These rockets have been fired at schools and at homes. Israel is committed to stopping the ongoing rocket fire at the civilians in the south. We greatly appreciate your efforts to bring an end to the attacks on Israeli civilians and to bring hope to the region."

Remarks
 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Before Their Meeting

Prime Minister’s Office
Jerusalem

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I want to welcome Secretary Clinton once again to Jerusalem. I want to thank President Obama, you, and the American Government and people for their strong support for Israel in this hour of need. I want to also thank you especially for your support of Iron Dome that’s been saving lives, and we are in a battle to save lives.

One of the things that we’re doing is trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage which is aimed directly at our civilians, and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties, whereas the terrorist enemies of Israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. Obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians.

Now, if there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. But if not, I am sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people. This is something that I don’t have to explain to Americans. I know that President Obama, you, and the American people understand that perfectly well.

And I thank you once again for your support. Welcome to Jerusalem.

President Peres to Secretary General Ban:
"There is no room for comparison between Israel and Hamas"
 
Secretary General Ban to President Peres:
Our paramount and immediate concern is for the safety and wellbeing of all civilians in Israel and in Gaza
The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, met with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this evening at his residence in Jerusalem. The Secretary General is conducting a series of meetings with regional leaders in light of the current security situation. President Peres thanked the Secretary General for coming and said, "Mr. Secretary General, thank you for coming. Your contribution as a heavyweight is appreciated and can help to bring calm to the situation."

President Peres stressed that, "The problem is not just the height of the flames but who starts them and who can end them. There is no room for comparison between Israel and Hamas. Unfortunately they target civilians, we protect them. They hide amongst their civilian population, we are extremely careful to avoid hitting all civilians. Our army is working hard to avoid harming civilians. Israel left Gaza willingly and totally. Nobody forced us. Hamas is the only one responsible for the suffering in Gaza. Hamas can put an end to it. They can bring calm to their people when they stop shooting. Israel did not start this situation but Israel, like any other country, cannot allow her citizens to become a target. It is against the charter of the UN and basic human responsibility. They are targeting our children on their way to school. Most of the missiles are fired between 07:00 and 08:00, around 35 every day, when the children are on the way to school. They then start again between 13:00 and 14:00 in the afternoon, when another 35 rockets a day are fired at the children on their way home."

 To All Publishers, Editors, Journalists and Media Personnel,

 Re: The "Color Red" Smart Phone Application: Understanding the Citizens of Israel

 I strongly urge all journalists and other members of the media to download the smart phone application, "Color Red", to your personal smart phones so that you can experience the situation that the citizens of Israel endure daily.

 The app sends instant alerts of alarm/siren soundings, firings and ground impacts of rockets and mortar-bomb attacks directed at the residents of Israel in real time. The app will help illuminate the incomprehensible daily routine in Israel. It will send automatic alerts to your cell phone device just as thousands of Israelis experience it – thereby allowing you to understand what the children, women and elderly staying in shelters go through during rocket attacks.

President Peres to Mr. Tony Blair:
I want to thank you for the widespread international support


Mr. Tony Blair to President Peres
I very much hope that over the coming days we can achieve a cessation on a basis that is sustainable

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, conducted a work meeting with the Special Envoy of the Quartet, Mr. Tony Blair. The two delivered joint statements and held a private meeting. At the start of the meeting President Peres said, "I wish to thank you for the clear support the international community is giving Israel to defend herself against the missiles, against the targeting of our civilians. I want to thank the Quartet and you personally."
 
President Peres stressed that the aim of the operation was the cessation of rocket fire against the south, "We have no interest and no ambition in conquering land but we have to stop the firing at our citizens. You clearly understand what it means when mothers can't sleep at night." On Egypt's involvement President Peres said, "The attempt by President Morsi is appreciated. Egypt is a significant player in the Middle East, strangely it is Hamas that doesn't listen to the Egyptian President."
President Peres addressed the Iranian issue and said, "Iran is putting tremendous pressure on them, supplying them with arms, training them and sending them money. There is a confrontation between the Iranians who want to continue Hamas' belligerence and many of the Arab countries that want to put an end to it."
 
Mr. Tony Blair thanked President Peres and said that he hoped that in the coming days a ceasefire will be achieved which will stop the rocket fire from Gaza to the citizens of Israel and will help the people of Gaza who are also suffering.  Blair added that Egypt, Qatar, America and the UN were all working for a ceasefire and said that he hoped that there could be constructive steps towards peace in the region. Blair added that another crisis, on top of the Iranian issue and the Syrian crisis, should be avoided.
 
This week President Peres will also conduct meetings with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and German Foreign Minister Mr. Guide Westerwelle, who are visiting the region.


In the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense and the global media interest in events in the south, hundreds of journalists and television crews have arrived to cover events in Israel and the Gaza Strip. According to Government Press Office (GPO) data, as of yesterday (Sunday, 18 November 2012), approximately 500 foreign journalists have arrived at the GPO in order to receive the press credentials that allow them free access to the conflict zones. They join the approximately 1,400 journalists and crew members who are already in the region to cover Israel and the Middle East.  Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein has directed GPO Director Nitzan Chen to do what is necessary to receive the journalists quickly and efficiently, to hold press tours to the communities in the south that are under missile threat, and to provide them with information and data.

 To these ends, the GPO has significantly extended its reception hours, received additional personnel and resources and held foreign press tours to the south, including to Barzilai Medical Center, in which journalists have been accompanied and briefed by Minister Edelstein.

The Cabinet today (Sunday, 18 November 2012), unanimously approved an allocation of NIS 7.6 million in order to complete the financing of building protected daycare centers in communities with 0-7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Our advance preparations and the speed with which we are meeting citizens' needs have proven themselves time and again. This decision is the continuation of previous Government decisions in the framework of which billions of shekels have been allocated to protecting residences and educational institutions and to strengthening the resilience of citizens in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip."

In the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense  and the media coverage of events in the south, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry has opened a special operations center to coordinate public diplomacy efforts to the world. The goal of the activity is to communicate – through photographs, video clips and authentic materials from citizens and volunteers in the areas under threat – the difficulties which Israeli society must live with under constant missile threat.

The activity of the public diplomacy operations center – under the unified message that Israel is under fire – is in coordination with the other public diplomacy agencies, including the National Information Directorate, the Foreign Ministry and the IDF Spokesperson's Office and is aimed at coordinating public diplomacy efforts by enlisting a reservoir of 25,000 activists who have been trained by the Ministry. The center has – via social media and the Internet – appealed to citizens under threat to send materials from the field and to assist in circulating messages on the Internet. The center has received hundreds of contacts, including offers from companies and organizations to assist in establishing independent media and information centers in dozens of countries and in various languages. The Ministry thus intends to encourage and initiate public diplomacy campaigns in dozens of countries and over the Internet with messages, photographs, video clips and additional information in various languages.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Saturday, 17 November 2012), spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas. During his conversation with German Chancellor Merkel, the Prime Minister said that no country in the world would agree to a situation in which its population lives under a constant missile threat

Yesterday (Friday, 16 November 2012), Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with US President Barack Obama for the second time since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense and expressed his appreciation for the US position regarding Israel's right to defend itself. The Prime Minister also thanked him for the American assistance in purchasing Iron Dome

Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to speak with other world leaders this evening and in the coming days
Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so.

Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so. Among the members of the foreign press being detained are nine Italian citizens, six citizens of Japan, one Canadian, one South Korean and a French national. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.
 
This violation of the human rights of neutral foreigners is yet another example of Hamas’ attempts to manipulate and pressure the press.
 
For its part, Israel is keeping the Erez crossing into Gaza open, allowing passage to the foreign press, diplomats and humanitarian workers.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, this evening (Thursday, 15 November 2012), issued the following statement :

“Citizens of Israel, we are now 28 hours into Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’

 The IDF has dealt a severe blow to Hamas and its terror infrastructure.  In the last twenty four hours, over 250 rockets have been fired at the State of Israel, landing in the South and in the greater Tel Aviv area; ‘Iron Dome’ successfully intercepted 100 rockets.

The general rocket fire, and in particular, the rockets at the greater Tel Aviv area, reflect an escalation, and the other side will pay a heavy price for this escalation.  I said at the beginning of the operation that there will be trying times, and it will not be an easy endeavor.  Today we saw that price in Kiryat Malachi, and our hearts go out to all the families of the victims.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Thursday, 15 November 2012), issued the following statement to the foreign press:

 "In recent days and weeks, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza have made normal life impossible for over one million Israelis
No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why my government has instructed the Israeli Defense Forces to conduct surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza
And this is why Israel will continue to take whatever action is necessary to defend our people.
I want to remind you that seven years ago, Israel withdrew from every square inch of Gaza. Now Hamas, they took over the areas we vacated. What did it do? Rather than build a better future for the residents of Gaza, the Hamas leadership, backed by Iran, turned Gaza into a terrorist stronghold. They fired thousand of rockets at our cities, at our towns, at our civilians, at our children. They’ve smuggled thousands of rockets and missiles into Gaza, and they deliberately place these rockets and missiles in civilian areas: in homes, in schools, near hospitals. This year alone, the fired over one thousand rockets and missiles at Israel, included close to 200 rockets in the last 24 hours.

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-
President of the Commission issued the following statement today:
"I am deeply concerned at the escalating violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip and deplore the loss
of civilian lives on both sides. The rocket attacks by Hamas and other factions in Gaza which began
this current crisis are totally unacceptable for any government and must stop. Israel has the right to
protect its population from these kinds of attacks. I urge Israel to ensure that its response is
proportionate.
I spoke with leaders in the region including PM Netanyahu and with the Egyptian President's office
and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. I stressed the need to prevent a further escalation and
more loss of life. In my discussions I made the point that we must move forward in finding a
solution to the Middle East conflict so that millions of people in the region can finally live in peace
and security. I hope Egyptian PM Kandil in his visit to Gaza today will be able calm the situation."

FM Liberman thanked Secretary Clinton for American backing

 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman spoke on the phone with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and with the Foreign Minister of Romania Titus Corlăţean.

FM Liberman thanked Secretary Clinton for the American backing, for their support of Israel at the Security Council and for the calls she made to the foreign ministers of Egypt and Turkey. Minister Liberman and Secretary Clinton assessed the situation and exchanged views vis-a-vis the events. FM Liberman stated after the discussion that the United States understands that Hamas must unconditionally stop the bombardment on Israel, and that we are very appreciative of the resolute American position regarding Israel’s right to defend itself.

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photo

Amos Ben Gershom/GP​O




Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Shimon Peres at the President's Residence in Jerusalem and the two discussed the ongoing situation in southern Israel:

President Shimon Peres
"No-one doubts the justification of the operation – We cannot abandon women and children to the madness of Hamas"
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
We will continue to hit hard the missiles which are intended for the center and south of Israel
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