A section of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech to the UJC General Assembly in Los Angeles, concerning aliya and study programs, was cut short in the excerpts we published on Thursday. Here is the full section.
"... Do not take my word alone on the wonders of our state. I urge each and every one of you to visit Israel.
"Join us. Participate in shaping our future, our heritage; strengthen the affinity between yourselves and your people - not next year in Jerusalem, but this year in Jerusalem! The Israeli government together with the Jewish Agency work in unison to strengthen the connection of the Jewish nation to Israel, increase Jewish Zionist education and promote aliya through fantastic programs such as birthright, Na'aleh, MASA and Nefesh B'Nefesh.
"I know how many of you are involved in these programs. I know how many of you invest in these programs. And I want to tell you, from our side, that these programs are essential in order to build up the bond between Jewish youths and the State of Israel; Jewish youths and their perceptions of who they are as Jewish people. And this perception becomes so much more significant when they come to visit the State of Israel. Keep doing this, keep moving on this. It is very important.
"We must build ties between the Diaspora and Israel from a young age. We must promote our youth absorbing the tradition of their forefathers so that when the time comes, they might appropriately pass our age-old traditions on to their children.
" For we are all partners in Israel's fate..."