- Written by Silvia
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- Written by Prime Minister's Media Adviser
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, yesterday evening (Sunday, 16 December 2018), at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, addressed a conference of Israeli ambassadors to Latin American, Asian and African countries. Following is an excerpt from his remarks:
"A great change has been created here. The Arab world needs technology and innovation. It needs water, electricity, medical care and high-tech. There is a growing connection between Israeli companies and the Arab world.
What is happening at the moment is that we are in a process of normalization with the Arab world without progress in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.
The expectation was that progress or a breakthrough with the Palestinians would open links for us with the Arab world. This would have been true if it had happened. It seemed as if it was about to happen with the Oslo process but what happened was that the Arab refusal, together with the terrorism of the intifada, cost us almost 2,000 lives and wiped out this hope, which was shelved under Oslo governments.
Today we are going there without the Palestinians being involved and it is much stronger because it does not depend on their caprices. The Arab states are looking for links with the strong. Cultivating strengths gives us diplomatic power.
It is more likely that it will work in reverse. Links with the Arab world will bring normalization and create the conditions for developing links with the Palestinians."
Photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)
- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
“It is crucially important to rebuild and improve the relations between Israeli leadership and the global Jewish community, first and foremost all streams of Jewish life in the United States. They are the ‘fifth tribe’ of our people.”
“The discovery of offensive tunnels shows the depth of Iranian involvement in Lebanon. Only a unified international effort can stop the Iranians.”
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Monday 10 December / 2 Tevet, addressed Israeli ambassadors to Europe, North America, the Middle East and international organizations at the MFA annual Heads of Missions Conference fat Beit HaNasi. Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yuval Rotem also spoke to the gathering.
The president opened his remarks by thanking the Israeli foreign service and told the ambassadors “this meeting is an opportunity to thank you all for your efforts and your dedication. No country is an island. The relations you create, your diplomatic efforts, the partnerships, the links with science, arts and culture, the economic bridges you build, make Israel more open and make Israel safer. To a great extent, thanks to you, the State of Israel is known in the world and enjoys recognition and legitimacy. Statesmanship is a profession of crises and opportunities. At its best, I believe, statesmanship plays an even more important role, turning crises into opportunities – and we have a surfeit of both crises and opportunities.”
Speaking about the situation in Europe, the president said “Israel wants and must remain, first and foremost, a national home and a safe haven for the Jewish people. It seems like Europe, too, is increasingly looking for the language of nations, and this has both positive and negative implications. The differences between us and some of our European partners on the question of our relations with the Palestinians need not block all cooperation between us. Despite the difficulties and disappointments we have experienced in our relations with Europe, Israel cannot give up on Europe. Europe is geographically and culturally close; our values are close. Europe is our largest trading partner, and we face the fight against terrorism and extremism together. On the other hand, the return of nationalist discourse to Europe has negative aspects. That discourse is often accompanied by anti-Semitism and xenophobia and that poses problems for Jewish communities and the State of Israel. We must not show any tolerance for expressions of anti-Semitism. We reject anti-Semitism, even if it takes on different guises, hiding behind the fig-leaf of supporting and loving the State of Israel.”
President Rivlin spoke about relations between Israel and the United States, saying “I want to send my thanks from here to the American administration for its uncompromising support for Israeli security and for the new channels that have begun to develop with countries in the Middle East thanks to American support. We will continue to work with the administration. We will also continue to work to maintain and develop relations with all parts of American society and the political system.”
The president added, “Israel must maintain within bipartisan consensus. We must devote more effort and thought to this. And I say this because I think not enough has been done to maintain and develop our relations with the Democratic Party and with liberal voices in America. I also think that it is crucially important to rebuild and improve the relations between Israeli leadership and the global Jewish community, first and foremost all streams of Jewish life in the United States. They are the ‘fifth tribe’ of our people.
Talking about Operation Northern Shield, the president emphasized that the discovery of offensive tunnels shows the depth of Iranian involvement in Lebanon and added, “Iran funds and directs Hizballah. Iran funds and directs the Shi’ite militias in Syria. Iran supports Hamas and Islamic Jihad across the Middle East. Iran destabilizes the region. And time after time, Israel faces the Iranian threat and challenges Iranian hegemony. Your work in this field, across the world, is critical. We need not fear explaining Israel’s position time after time. In particular, we need to work with the Europeans who try to give the Iranians a lifeline to get around the nuclear deal and US sanctions while, all the time, Iran exports terrorism, continues with its missile program and even carries out acts of terrorism in Europe itself. Only a unified international effort can stop the Iranians.”
Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom (GPO)
- Written by Silvia Golan
From December 2-9, the second annual Debate for Peace delegation traveled from Israel to Kosovo to attend the KIMUN conference. This year Debate for Peace joined local hosts iChat as co-organizers of Kosovo’s only Model UN conference. In total 13 students, from the Bashaer, Pelech, Kfar Qasem Comprehensive, Oded, Modi’in democratic, Brenner (in Petah Tiqva), and Ironi Hei (Haifa) schools took part in the delegation. In addition to participating in KIMUN, the students also visited Albania and Kosovo and met with local UN and US embassy representatives and religious leaders.
The delegation began its trip in Tirana, where they received a private tour of the BunkArt facility by architect Kreshnik Merxhani. After taking the cable cars up Dajti mountain to enjoy the views, they traveled to the town of Kruje, where they lit candles for the first night of Hanukkah, shopped for crafts, and saw the home of the legendary Albanian national hero Skanderbeg.
That evening in Tirana the group met with Professor Petrit Zorba, the head of the Albania-Israel friendship association. The meeting was facilitated by the Albanian embassy in Israel. Professor Zorba talked to the students about the connection between Albanians and Jews, including the incredible story of Besa during the Holocaust, and about interfaith relations among Albanians.
On December 3, the group met with the Protik Innovation Center to learn about the startup environment and entrepreneurship in Albania. From there they proceeded to the US Embassy in Tirana, where they learned about some of the bilateral diplomatic and development work in which the embassy is engaged. Later that day the group traveled to Pristina, Kosovo.
The KIMUN conference opened on December 4th, with a panel including the dean of the philosophy department of Pristina university, the minister of sport and culture, and the directors of iChat and Debate for Peace. For the next three days, high school and university students from Albania, Kosovo and Israel grappled with topics including youth unemployment, use of social media to promote tolerance, and expanding trade relations with the European Union. On the final day, the delegates met at the Kosovo Public Administration building to vote on their final draft resolution and receive certificates and awards.
The delegates of Brazil (Layan Rabi), Italy (Ilva Hamzaj), Saudi Arabia (Erna Salihu), and Serbia (Ariella Rose) received Best Position paper awards. In the ECOSOC committee, China (Margalit Bak) and North Korea (Yaari Cohen) were chosen Best Delegates. In the UNGA committee, Iraq (Yonit Vareika) and the United Arab Emirates (Thoma Kristo) were Outstanding Delegates, and Serbia (Ariella Rose) was the Best Delegate. And in the European Council, Italy (Ilva Hamzaj) and the United States (Eliran Ben Yair) were Outstanding Delegates, and the United Kingdom (Ella Justus Segal) was Best Delegate.
On December 6th the delegation also held several meetings. In the morning they visited UNMIK, to learn about how the work of the UN in Kosovo has evolved over time. That afternoon they met with Matt Briggs, Economics officer at the US Embassy in Kosovo. Matt said that he was “impressed by their eagerness and curiosity about a wide range of issues. It was also fascinating to hear their thoughts about Kosovo and to discuss what difficulties face a country that is still working towards increasing its international recognitions.”
The delegation concluded by celebrating shabbat and Hanukkah in Prizren, as well as visiting the Sinan Pasha mosque, the Catholic cathedral, and the Halveti Sufi tekke. Votem Demiri, the head of the Kosovo Jewish community told Diplomacy: “The Jewish Community of Kosovo together with other religious communities and friends had the honor to host the delegation from DebateforPeace in Prizren for the celebration of Shabbat and Hanukkah. As the head of the Jewish Community of Kosovo, I would like to thank Steven [Aiello] for choosing Kosovo/Prizren as a visiting place for the second time. Prizren is the historical capital of Kosovo and it is our little Jerusalem as a city that embraces all the existing religions that lives in harmony during centuries.”
Agnessa Jashari, one of the KIMUN organizers from iChat, also expressed her appreciation for ”the amazing students coming from Debate for Peace, Kosovo students and participants coming from other countries as well. Once again we had an amazing experience during KIMUN 2018. Spending five days of the conference with these young leaders was such a pleasure and an unforgettable experience!”
Alaa Abu Raya was one of the participants from the Bashaer high school in Sakhnin. She said that the delegation was “an amazing experience that I will always remember, the model UN conference allowed us to meet new people from different backgrounds and make some lifetime friendships which I’m grateful for.”
Yaari Cohen, a student from Oded high school in Kadima, added that “The delegation in Kosovo has not only brought us closer together, it did more than that, it feels like with every step that we took together, we brought our countries, closer together."
The next Debate for Peace MUN delegations will be to YMUN in Connecticut, USA, and MEDIMUN in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Photos by Debate for Peace
- Written by Prime Minister's Media Adviser
Please convey to your governments what you see here and I think the obvious need to condemn unequivocally this aggression by Hezbollah and Iran and Lebanon that has to be accountable.
Prime Minister Netanyahu at the at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. Photo: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom