President Peres with Slovenian Ambassador Alenka Suhadolnik (Photo: GPO)
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"We must recognize the dangers facing us and work to thwart them. We must seize the opportunity for prosperity and for peace with those of our neighbors who want peace."
New Orleans, 8 November 2010
The story of the Jewish people is that of great destruction followed by miraculous redemption.
That same resilient spirit is exemplified by your collective efforts to help this great city rebuild itself after Hurricane Katrina. Just as you have rallied time after time to help Israel weather the storms it has faced, you rallied to help New Orleans to get back on its feet. You should be proud of what you have been doing for the Jewish people and the Jewish state, and for others. I am doubly proud to be with you here today. Thank you.
On the eve of the 20th century, Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, foresaw the great challenges that stood before the dispersed Jewish people. He charted a clear path to direct the Jewish destiny to the safer shores of a Jewish state. Herzl's vision was guided by three principles: Recognize perils, seize opportunities, forge unity. These same three principles should guide us at the dawn of the 21st century. We must recognize the dangers facing us and work to thwart them. We must seize the opportunity for prosperity and for peace with those of our neighbors who want peace. And we must forge unity among our people to shoulder these monumental tasks.
The greatest danger facing Israel and the world is the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran threatens to annihilate Israel. It denies the Holocaust. It sponsors terror. It confronts America in Afghanistan and Iraq. It dominates Lebanon and Gaza. It establishes beachheads in Arabia and in Africa. It even spreads its influence into this hemisphere, into South America.
Now, this is what Iran is doing without nuclear weapons. Imagine what it would do with them. Imagine the devastation that its terror proxies, Hizbullah and Hamas and others, would wreak under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.
This is why Israel appreciates President Obama's successful efforts to have the UN Security Council adopt new sanctions against Iran. It values American efforts to successfully mobilize other countries to pass tough sanctions of their own. There is no doubt that these sanctions are putting strong economic pressures on the Iranian regime.
But we have yet to see any signs that the tyrants of Tehran are reconsidering their pursuit of nuclear weapons. The only time that Iran suspended its nuclear program was for a brief period in 2003 when the regime believed it faced a credible threat of military action against it. And the simple paradox is this: if the international community, led by the United States, hopes to stop Iran's nuclear program without resorting to military action, it will have to convince Iran that it is prepared to take such action. Containment will not work against Iran. It won't work with a brazen regime that accuses America of bombing its own cities on 9/11, openly calls for Israel's annihilation, and is the world's leading sponsor of terrorism.
When faced with such a regime, the only responsible policy is to prevent it from developing atomic bombs in the first place. The bottom line is this: Iran's nuclear program must be stopped. Iran's nuclear program is the greatest danger we face. The assault on Israel's legitimacy is another.
We know from our history that attacks on the Jews were often preceded by attempts to dehumanize the Jewish people - to paint them as vile criminals, as the scourge of humanity. This is why the attempts by our enemies and their misguided fellow travelers to delegitimize the Jewish state must be countered.
Herzl was right about many things. He was right about the conflagration that would soon engulf Europe. He was right about the need for a Jewish state and for a Jewish army to defend that state.
Yet Herzl was too optimistic in believing that the rebirth of the Jewish state would gradually put an end to anti-Semitism.
The establishment of Israel did not end the hatred towards the Jews. It merely redirected it. The old hatred against the Jewish people is now focused against the Jewish state. If in the past Jews were demonized, singled out or denied the rights that were automatically granted to others, today in many quarters Israel is demonized, singled out and denied the rights automatically granted to other nations, first and foremost the right of self-defense.
For too many, Israel is guilty until proven guilty. The greatest success of our detractors is when Jews start believing that too - we've seen that today.
Last year, at the UN General Assembly, I spoke out against the travesty of the Goldstone Report, which falsely accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza two years ago. The United States, led by President Obama, and Canada, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, stood by Israel's side against this blood libel. Many countries didn't.
Well, last week, Hamas finally admitted that over 700 of its fighters in Gaza were killed by the IDF during that war. This is precisely what the Israeli army said all along - that roughly 50% of the casualties of the war were Hamas terrorists. Such a high percentage of enemy combatants and such a low percentage of unintended civilian casualties is remarkable in modern urban warfare. It is even more remarkable when fighting an enemy that deliberately and shamelessly embeds itself next to schools and inside mosques and hospitals.
The authors of the Goldstone Report owe the Israeli army an apology. And all those who supported and helped spread this libel owe the State of Israel an apology. The best way to counter lies is with the truth. That is why I commend your decision to establish the Israel Action Network and dedicate resources to fight this battle for truth. We must fight these lies and slanders together to ensure that truth prevails.
The threat from Iran and its proxies, and the continued assault on Israel's legitimacy are great perils we must thwart.
Now let me speak about two great opportunities we must seize: peace and prosperity.
The opportunity today to achieve a broader Israeli-Arab peace derives not exclusively but mainly from the perception of a common threat. Today, Arab governments and many throughout the Arab world understand that Iran is a great danger to them as well. This understanding opens up new possibilities for a broader peace that could support our efforts to reach peace with our Palestinian neighbors.
Israelis want to see that the Palestinians are as committed as they are to ending the conflict once and for all. They want to know that just as we are ready to recognize a state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians are ready to recognize Israel as the state for the Jewish people.
Israel also wants a secure peace. We do not want to vacate more territory only to see Iran walk in and fire thousands of rockets at our cities. That is exactly what happened after we left Lebanon and Gaza. We don't want to see rockets and missiles streaming into a Palestinian state and placed on the hills above Tel Aviv and the hills encircling Jerusalem. If Israel does not maintain a credible security presence in the Jordan Valley for the foreseeable future, this is exactly what will happen. I will not let that happen.
We do not want security on paper. We want security on the ground. Real security. I am willing to make mutual compromises for a genuine peace with the Palestinians, but I will not gamble with the security of the Jewish state. Palestinian leaders who say they want to live peacefully alongside Israel should sit down and negotiate peace with Israel. They should stop placing preconditions and start negotiating peace. The Palestinians may think they can avoid negotiations. They may think that the world will dictate Palestinian demands to Israel. I firmly believe that will not happen because I am confident that friends of Israel, led by the United States, will not let that happen. There is only one path to peace - that is through a negotiated settlement.
We should spend the next year trying to reach an historic agreement for peace and not waste time arguing about marginal issues that will not affect the final peace map in any way. I am confident that if there is goodwill on the Palestinian side, a formula can be found that will enable peace talks to continue. I believe that if we succeed, and I always like to confound the skeptics, and I continue to do that systematically, I believe that peace would unleash tremendous economic opportunities for Israelis, Palestinians, and peoples throughout the region.
But as the last years have shown, Israel has not waited for peace to seize the opportunity to develop a strong economy. As Prime Minister, then as finance minister and now again as Prime Minister, I have spent a great deal of time advancing economic reforms and removing obstacles to Israel's economic growth - and I have the political scars to prove it. The reforms that we have been enacting have changed Israel's economy beyond recognition. We are now building fast roads and rail lines that crisscross the country, to connect the Negev and the Galilee to the center of the country. I intend to complete a rail line that will link the Red Sea with the Mediterranean and the Jordan River to the Port of Haifa. This will enable Israel to take advantage of its strategic location as more and more goods are shipped from East to West.
As the world economy becomes more competitive, Israel is well placed to succeed. We are global leaders in high technology. Our scientists win Nobel Prizes. Our innovations in science, medicine, water, energy, communication, agriculture and in many other fields are literally changing the world.
Israel is a wellspring of technological, artistic and cultural creativity. Today, Israel is ranked 15th in the world in terms of quality of life - by the UN - so you knows we are at least 15th. And if that does not impress the young people in the audience, here's something else that might. For those of you planning to travel world, Lonely Planet just ranked Tel Aviv the 3rd most exciting city in the world. I don't agree - that of course is Jerusalem. Still, Israel's best economic days are ahead.
If we hope to thwart and dangers and seize opportunities, we must strengthen our unity. The best way to strengthen Jewish unity is to strengthen Jewish identity. By deepening our connection to our shared past, we fortify our bonds to one another and to our state, and thereby strengthen our common future. That is why this year I decided to initiate a national Heritage Plan that will restore and renovate hundreds of Jewish and Israeli sites throughout the country.
I want young people to visit the place where David Ben Gurion declared our independence just as I want them to visit the place where our patriarchs and matriarchs, the mothers and fathers of the Jewish nation, are buried. Talk about distortions, can you imagine that UNESCO tried to deny the Jewish connection to Rachel's Tomb next to Jerusalem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron? This absurdity to try to erase our past will fail as we reconnect a new generation of Jews with their history. Our young people will know that we are not foreign interlopers in our own homeland. They will know something that our enemies and politicized international bodies cannot bring themselves to admit: The Jewish people are not strangers in the Land of Israel. Israel is our home. It has always been our home and it will always be our home.
I have also decided to enhance Israel's support for programs that strengthen Jewish identity in the Diaspora. In my first term as Prime Minister, I decided to invest Israeli government funds in what many then thought was a preposterous idea - that we would pay for young Jews to come on short visits to Israel. Since then, a quarter of a million Jews have come to Israel on Birthright programs, and we will continue. I am committed to working with Birthright, Masa and Lapid to ensure that every young Jew who wants to can come to Israel.
And I am committed to working with Natan Sharansky and the Jewish Agency to strengthen Jewish identity in the Diaspora.
I know that there are controversial issues that threaten to divide us. We need to resolve these issues in a spirit of compromise and tolerance. As Prime Minister of Israel, I promise you that I will not permit anything to undermine the unity of our people. Israel must always be a place that each and every one of you can call home. Our unity is a critical foundation of our collective strength. The more we speak with one voice, the more that voice will be heard. And in a rapidly changing world, it needs to be heard loud and clear.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the fantastic rise of Asia challenges many nations, but it is not a danger. It is a natural shift in global wealth and power that is lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. The great danger we face is not from the battle between East and West but from the aggressive force wedged between them that is spreading its tentacles far and wide. That force is radical Islam, whose fanaticism and savagery knows no bounds. If I can leave you with one message, it is that we must warn others of this peril.
History shows that the most advance weapons were usually developed by the most advanced societies. Yet today, primitive and barbaric tyrannies that stone women, hang gays, promote terror worldwide, send bombs to synagogues, and advance the most fanatical doctrines can acquire nuclear weapons. If not stopped, this means that the greatest nightmare of all - nuclear terrorism - can become a reality. The civilized world must not let that happen.
As we continue to build a modern and democratic Israel and as we seek peace with all our neighbors, we must also warn the world about this formidable peril. In standing up for modernity against medievalism, the Jewish people and the Jewish state play a vital role in securing our common civilization. And by helping dispel the shadows of a dark despotism, we can truly fulfill our destiny to be a beacon of light and progress unto all the nations.
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Leaders in Industry, Government, Education, Science and Entertainment Will Convene in Jerusalem to Discuss Major Issues Facing Our World, the State of Israel and the Future of the Jewish People.
JERUSALEM, Israel – June 16, 2011 – An All-Star list of speakers, including former British prime minister Tony Blair, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and American comedienne Sarah Silverman, headlines Facing Tomorrow 2011, the third annual Conference under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, which is scheduled to begin next Tuesday, June 21.
Also expected to speak at Facing Tomorrow 2011 will be President Peres himself, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Harvard University president Larry Summers, Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann and Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, in what has become the leading conference focusing on vital issues, initiatives and decisions that must be implemented to guarantee a better tomorrow for the world, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel.
"We are honored that the world's leading authorities in economics, politics and technology will be joining us at this year's conference. Their participation attests to the importance of this event," said Israel Maimon, Chairman of the Israeli Presidential Conference Steering Committee. “Facing Tomorrow 2011 presents a unique opportunity for all of the participants to address the most pressing issues being dealt with by the global community today."
Among the sessions planned for Facing Tomorrow 2011 are “How Can We Feed Seven Billion People,” “Cutting-Edge Medicine” and “Stopping Nuclear Proliferation,” with world experts and public figures alike debating key questions.
Facing Tomorrow 2011 will kick off with a plenary session entitled, “My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow,” in which advertising conglomerate WPP’s CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell, Duke University professor Dan Ariely, Wikipedia founder Wales and actress/comedienne Silverman will present their own unique prescriptions for a "better tomorrow.”
Facing Tomorrow 2011 runs from June 21-23, 2011, and will take place at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center. The conference is organized in partnership with Hebrew University.
About Facing Tomorrow 2011
Facing Tomorrow 2011, the third annual Conference under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, will take place in Jerusalem, June 21-23, 2011. The Israeli Presidential Conference took place for the first time in May 2008, one week following the 60-year anniversary of the State of Israel. Attended by more than 4,000 people from around the world, and dedicated to designing a better tomorrow, the 2011 Conference will focus on the vital issues, initiatives and decisions that must be implemented today in order to guarantee a better tomorrow for the world, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel.
For more information, please visit www.presidentconf.org.il.
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(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman has appointed Israel Prize winner Tal Brody as Israel's international Goodwill Ambassador. Brody will assist with Israel's international public diplomacy efforts.
During the appointment ceremony, FM Liberman stated that "Brody's diverse activities, which, apart from him being an outstanding sportsman, include years of community volunteer service and largesse, have turned him into a Zionist symbol and role model. His unique biography, which includes participation in both the US and Israeli basketball teams as well as service in the US Army and the IDF, make him the ideal Israeli Goodwill Ambassador to the world in general and the United States in particular. I am certain that Brody will make a huge contribution to Israel's positive image around the world."Add a comment
Over 60 leading women from across the world joined together last month for a panel discussion showcasing Israeli females in the lead.
Organized by The Israel Project (TIP) and the Embassy of Cyprus in Israel, the event served as a platform to discuss and understand the challenges and opportunities facing women in Israeli society in the modern age.
Among the panelists were popular journalist Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes. Former IDF commander Miri Eisin and Israeli Olympic athlete Maayan Davidovich.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, today (Thursday, 15 June 2017), in Thessaloniki, at the third trilateral summit, signed joint statements for the continued strengthening of relations.Add a comment
A senior delegation from Tanzania, headed by Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, Permanent Secretary Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, arrived in Israel for a series of meetings and events designed to increase cooperation with the Israeli tourist industry, and encourage Israeli tourism and investments to enchanted, exotic Tanzania.Add a comment
At a festive ceremony attended by Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, the Lauder Dormitory Building was inaugurated today at the Technion
state of the art building was donated to the Technion by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and his wife Jo Carole
President Reuven Rivlin today (Wednesday) met at his residence in Jerusalem with United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley.
President Rivlin welcomed her and said, “You are a dear friend of Israel. We appreciate your strong stand on the world’s most important stage, in support of the security of the people and the State of Israel. With your support we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone at the UN. Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag.”
He continued, “When I spoke at the UN on Holocaust Memorial Day, I said that the UN must learn from the lessons of the past, and stand up against hatred and racism. I said it must end its obsession with targeting Israel. Progress has been made. Israel’s standing at the UN has improved. But sadly, we have a long way to go. Both in holding to account, public statements made by officials, and in supporting regulation to reduce the ridiculous number of discussions and resolutions against Israel. This is also true in the Human Rights Council - which has been hijacked as a weapon against Israel - and in UNESCO, where they seek to rub out the history of the Jewish people.”
The President thanked the Ambassador for her great contribution to the State of Israel, and said, “Ambassador Haley, as the representative the US - Israel’s greatest and strongest ally - we appreciate very much your support of Israel, and all you do to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy which we share. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.”
Ambassador Haley thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “Thank you Mr. President for taking the time to meet with us, it is an absolute thrill to be here in Israel, I so much appreciate the support we have received from the people of Israel. But I feel somewhat guilty because all I did at the United Nations was tell the truth. I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time, and we are not going to let that happen anymore. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations. We just got back from Geneva, talking about the Human Rights Council and hopefully it will be a new day at the Human Rights Council when it comes to Israel.”
She concluded by saying she was greatly looking forward to her visit to Israel and said, “I am looking forward to taking in the history, the beauty, the tradition, and all that comes with the magic of Israel. Thank you very much for having me it is a pleasure to be here.”
Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)Add a comment
A fundamentally agricultural holiday, Shavuot commemorates the custom of bringing offerings to the Holy Temple from the first fruits of the harvest and the first animals born to the flocks.
Shavuot, the Holiday of Weeks, is one of the three pilgrimage holidays, along with Pesach and Sukkot. These are the holidays on which the whole Jewish people would come to Jerusalem in ancient times, when the Holy Temple was there, and would offer animal and grain sacrifices.Add a comment
Tel Aviv Eat presents three evenings of tastings and workshops featuring the region’s leading restaurants and most prominent chefs. Entrance is free (including the chefs’ demonstrations), and tasting portions range in price from NIS 20-35. Doors open each evening at 18.00. There are several performance stages, live music, and stands selling beer.Add a comment
"Only when we remember the families who were torn apart from everyone they loved, who suffered that terrible darkness and evil, who had endured the unbearable horror of the Holocaust, only then can we prevent this agony from ever repeating." President Donald J. Trump Add a comment
The Charles Bronfman Auditorium at Habima Square is one of the centerpieces of the Israeli arts and cultural scene, home to the Israel Philharmonic for the last 60 years. On Friday, May 19th, it was home to yet another historic event, with the dedication of the entrance hall to Miri Shitrit of blessed memory.Add a comment
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Monday, 22 May 2017), at Ben-Gurion International Airport, welcomed US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania with an honor guard.Add a comment
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The EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen, on 17 May to discuss Israel's
successful participation in Horizon 2020, European Union's research and innovation funding programme.
On the eve of the Shavuot holiday, the Society for the Promotion of Tourism in Herzliya, in conjunction with the Grape Man, is hosting the White Summer White Wine Festival at the Herzliya Marina. The largest white wine festival in Israel will take place on the plaza of the marina on Wednesday and Thursday, May 24-25, 2017.Add a comment
President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Wednesday), met at his residence in Jerusalem with a delegation visiting Israel, made up of Jordanian sheikhs representing different tribes from across Jordanian society, from Irbid, Zarqa, and Amman. Also participating in the meeting were senior members of the, Middle East Department, of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The delegation of sheikhs were visiting Israel for five days, during which they met with different faces from across Israeli society, deepening the understanding between the peoples.Add a comment
Just across the Ayalon Freeway from the Azrieli Center, in a mixed residential and office neighborhood, is a bistro barely one year old that is already making a name for itself.
In the words of chef-owner Daniella Berneman Fleishman herself, “On the border of Tel Aviv and Givatayim, I have opened a place that is the realization of a dream, combining my passion for hosting and love of food, where delicious food is served in a an atmosphere of home hospitality.”
Daniella has become popular with diverse audiences: workers from the adjacent office buildings during the day, families in the evening, and young people late at night. Parking on weekdays is only in paid parking garages, but there is plenty of free parking on evenings and weekends.Add a comment
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, visited the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and met with Chemi Peres on Thursday (11.5) to promote interfaith relations and hear from Young Ambassadors for Peace
The Most Reverend Welby said: "Shimon Peres always supported and worked for peace initiatives. I am glad that we have people like you – Christian, Muslim, and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli – who continue in this vision. We need you. You are our future. I will support you."
Chemi Peres: "You young people must not wait for an end to the conflict, but must trust yourselves and work together to move us forward."Add a comment