Acting FM Israel Katz confers with COP Executive VP/CEO Malcolm Hoenline during the Conference's annual Leadership Mission to Israel. (Avi Hayun).
(photo credit: AVI HAYUN/COP)
Acting Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, gave his first address at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, urging the over 100 leaders present to push for additional countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
"This is a priority of ours," Katz told the conference. Katz specified the country which had already done so, saying, "there is no greater friend to Israel than the United Stats. With President Trump, our relationship has gotten stronger."
Katz proceeded to list Israel's strengths as a "world leader in technology, innovation, security and many other field," but also stated that the State still faces many challenges, including "many countries that still do not recognize the State of Israel" and "countries that wish to destroy us."
He specified Iran, "as a member state of the UN," which "has called for the destruction of the State of Israel" and "instills fear in the entire Middle East." Katz emphasized though that "despite our challenges, we stand strong."
Katz screened a short film detailing a program he had proposed while he was Minister of Transportation, which would use Israel as the starting point of a passenger and freight railway system running from the Mediterranean coast through Israel, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, and the other Gulf nations.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely later discussed the rising tide of antisemitism worldwide. "People who don't believe in the legitimacy of the existence of the Jewish state are proof of a new, ugly antisemitism," she said. She proceeded to praise French President Emanuel Macron's statement that anti-Zionism is antisemitism.
Hotovely also pointed out growing support from many countries, saying that it was a clear diplomatic success that "numerous countries, including a number of central European nations, have said they will establish branches of their embassies in Jerusalem as a first step. Hopefully, Brazil will soon follow."
She addressed the European nations, saying that Europe "is still trapped in the concept that if Jerusalem is divided, it will help lead to peace. This is simply not true."
Hotovely also praised US leadership for renewing sanctions against Iran.
Noam Katz, Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, pointed out the various regional challenges facing Israel, with an emphasis on Iran.
"We have to ensure that the Iranian regime gets an international signal that its activities are unacceptable," he said. "We chose this year, the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, to convince other countries of the dangers, and we need your help – in the US, Iran has unfortunately become a partisan issue."
All three speakers praised the Presidents Conference for its vital efforts to build bridges between Israel, the Jewish people and nations around the world, and urged them to continue their efforts.
Senior Foreign Ministry experts and analysts held off-the-record break-out sessions to discuss issues such as Israel's strategic challenges and opportunities, Israel-Diaspora relations, Israel-US relations, the danger posed by Iran, and the Foreign Ministry's MASHAV program, which has worked for 60 years to enrich developing countries.
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